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Brilliant free app lets you watch Netflix remotely with your friends

Updated 4 years ago
Published Aug 18th, 2015 9:05AM EDT
Netflix Shared Viewing

With the rise of Netflix and the advent of binge watching, watching TV has arguably become something of a solitary affair. That’s all well and good, but if you’d like to be even just a tad more social while otherwise camping out on your couch and watching Netflix alone, we’ve got you covered.

Showgoers is a nifty little Chrome extension which lets friends watch the same Netflix programming in real time. The extension itself is rather simple insofar as it links up user Netflix accounts and lets viewers send out invitations to friends asking them to join a stream. All in all, Showgoers is a great way to have a virtual viewing party when people can’t otherwise get together.

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“When you’re in a Showgoers watching party, clicking play/pause or seeking to a specific spot in the movie will cause the Netflix player of everyone else in the watching party to do the same thing,” the website reads. “With your Netflix players automatically connected together, you can focus on just sharing the experience together in real-time.”

Setting it up is also as easy as can be.

Once you install the plugin — itself a super fast download from the Chrome web store — your Netflix screen will feature a pair of 3D glasses in the upper right hand corner when you hover over a program and bring up the play controls.

If you click on the glasses, you’ll be given the option to start a sharing session. Simply confirm and you’re then presented with a URL that you can share with friends who also have the plugin installed.

Once your friends accept the invitation, simply by clicking on the link, you can continue to use Netflix as you would normally. Only now, everyone you’ve invited can now watch the same programming alongside you. All in all, it’s a pretty clever feature and one Netflix might want to bake into the app itself in the coming future.

A video demo showing how it all comes together can be seen below.

Incidentally, the impetus behind Showgoers is somewhat interesting as the developer writes the idea was borne out of a long-distance relationship he was in in an effort to “diversify the types of shared experiences” they could have at a distance.

“We figured out how fun it can be start watching a Netflix together and video chat via Skype but grew tired of the whole routine of counting down and pressing play to sync up our players. Showgoers was created to get around this annoyance.”

As a final point, note that syncing via Showgoers cannot be used to skirt around geographical restrictions for video content. In other words, both viewers must be capable of viewing a program in order for syncing to work.

Yoni Heisler Contributor

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 15 years. A life long Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW. When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.