- Services like Netflix Party and Kosmi have skyrocketed in popularity during the pandemic, as people look for ways to watch TV and movies together while physically apart.
- A Chrome extension called Scener, which has been around since 2018, has partnered with HBO to allow users to coordinate virtual viewing parties for content on the premium network.
- Here’s how to download and use Scener to binge watch popular HBO series like “Succession,” “Insecure,” and “Westworld.”
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Services offering ways for quarantined internet users to host virtual watch parties have skyrocketed in popularity since social distancing measures were enacted. Thanks to a new feature, fans of popular HBO series like “The Wire” and “Westworld” can now join in on the joy of binge-watching while physically apart.
A Google Chrome plug-in called Scener recently partnered with HBO to allow people to co-watch during quarantine while also being connected over video, audio, and text chat. Although Scener has been around since 2018, it’s been revamped and become the first browser extension to partner with a premium network.
Millions under shelter-in-place orders have spent the past couple months poring over new options for online entertainment in place of in-person socializing and events. A longtime co-watching browser extension called Netflix Party became newly popular in March, showing just how much users are looking for connection, albeit virtual, while social distancing.
The app’s new partnership with HBO lets users watch shows using subscriptions through HBO NOW and HBO Max — the platform’s subscription streaming service — or via HBO Go, which offers online access to the network’s content through your existing cable TV package. Google’s Chrome web store currently shows Scener with over 50,000 downloads.
Here’s how to install and use Scener to watch even more of your favorite shows and movies while stuck inside.
In the Chrome Web Store, click “Add to Chrome.”
Make sure you click “Add extension” in the tab that pops up in your browser in order for Scener to be successfully installed.
You’ll now see the Scener icon in the top-right corner, alongside your other existing extensions. You’ll be automatically directed to a new tab to create your Scene profile — all you need is a first name and an email address.
Once your account is created, click on the Scener icon to launch the co-watching extension.
You’ll then be directed through a series of prompts, giving you more information about how to use Scener and recommendations for the best viewing experience. Make sure you click “allow” on requests for permissions so you’re able to log into HBO.
Scener offers co-watching for both Netflix and HBO, and the set-up processes function in similar ways. Once you click on the service you want to use — in this case, HBO — you’ll be directed back to the Chrome browser to enter your log-in information for HBO Go or HBO NOW. Make sure if you’re using HBO Go, you click through to select your cable TV provider.
After logging into HBO, grant Scener access to your camera if you want to have a video chat with friends while watching. You can also deny access to keep communication via audio and text chat. You’ll see your chat window on the right side, and the HBO website on the left.
However, watching your show this way doesn’t take advantage of all the real estate your computer screen has to offer. Clicking on the “show full screen” icon on the HBO panel will fill up the screen, but then you’ll be unable to see the video and text chat you have going with other participants. Instead, click the full screen icon in the right-side panel for directions on how to best set up your viewing experience.
Now, you can click the “full screen” icon under the content you’re watching.
Entering full-screen will cause the HBO content to only take up the entirety of its window, while leaving your chat window viewing and usable to virtually argue with your friends about what you should watch next.