The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on nearly every facet of entertainment as coronavirus concerns continue. Television and film productions have shut down, movies have delayed their release dates, theaters nationwide have begun to close as have some retailers all as cities across the United States begin to impose restrictions on the numbers of people who can gather together in public. Add to that and the "social distancing" concept in which people are being asked to quite literally keep their distance from one another in an effort to slow the spread of the disease that has sickened at least 168,019 people globally and it all makes for a difficult time to spend time being entertained with those we love.
However, while we can't necessarily go to the movies with friends or even invite people over for tv night, that doesn't mean hanging out has to end. Thanks to technology, there are still ways that you can enjoy your favorite entertainment with friends and family even though you may not be in the same space. What are those ways, you might ask? It's an excellent question, but we've rounded up a few different ways -- and a couple of them are somewhat outside of the box -- to help keep everyone connected with their favorite entertainment while we all take some space and hope to keep COVID-19 at bay.
From specialty services that literally allow you to watch with friends to creative uses of social media, there are plenty of ways to hang out with the people and entertainment you love while still staying safe during ever changing pandemic. Read on for our suggestions on how to social distance but stay connected and keep the entertainment rolling and be sure to chime in with your suggestions below.
One of the more "interactive" ways to enjoy entertainment as a group from different places is Scener. Scener is a service that allows users to stream entertainment on Netflix at the same time with features such as video, audio, and text conferencing. It's a free service, though it does require everyone watching together to have a Netflix account. It also is a service that is limited to Netflix offerings, but if your binge happens to be on that streaming platform, you're in luck.
"The vision for Scener came from the desire to rewind social media commentary for the big moments in Game of Thrones episodes," Daniel Strickland, co-founder and CTO of Scener said when the service launched in 2018. "Since then, we've been hard at work to create a whole new way for people to watch their favorite shows and movies together... and we're just getting started. It will be amazing to see how creative communities will use Scener to engage audiences in delightful and unexpected ways."
Want to watch something with friends that isn't on Netflix? Kast might be an option for you. Per its website, Kast is "a real-time video sharing app with screen capture, voice, text, and video chat technology that makes it easy to connect with friends wherever they are."
In the most basic terms, Kast broadasts your screen as well as your webcam to a channel that you control and can allow others to join, thus letting you stream various content with friends. The service has a lot of settings to allow for a very customized experience. A Kast account is required and while basic accounts are free, there is also a paid premium option available.
If Scener and Kast don't work for you, there's always FaceTime -- or really any video chatting option. While you'll want to make sure you're being ethical about how you use it (meaning it's not cool to use video chat to "stream" content to people who aren't themselves subscribers), FaceTime is a great for people to hang out together while also enjoying entertainment. Want to watch the latest episode of The Flash with your best friend but can't do it in person because social distancing? You can both sit down to watch the show, get on FaceTime and hang out virtually. It's not exactly the same as hanging out together, but it's a nice substitute that lets you experience entertainment together and help preserve some of those social connections we all need.
Discord can also be a great way to hang out with a group of friends and "watch" tv and movies together. As Discord is a chat service that offers both text and voice channels, it makes it a great place for a group of friends to come together and share their reactions to the latest episode of Westworld with the safety that the virtual space provides. Just have everyone sit down to watch the show together and log into Discord -- users can create their own channels! -- and chat while watching. It also makes for a great instant message system as well as works well for those who like gaming together, too.
Yes, Twitter is a fun way to "watch" together. How do we know? Well, ComicBook.com's own Brandon Davis held his own "Quarantine Watch Party", inviting people to watch The Avengers along with him and live tweet their commentary. It's a novel idea that lets anyone join in on the fun as well as offers a sense of community. What's great about this is that it allows people to watch the chosen entertainment item via what ever form of media works for them, be it DVD, Blu-Ray, streaming, etc.
This is my copy of The Avengers. I went to WalMart in South Carolina at midnight to buy it when it came out.
Everyone, press play at 10pm ET on the dot! #QuarantineWatchParty
Send pics of your set up, when you do! We’re all in this together! pic.twitter.com/Z5uoo57ocD— BD (@BrandonDavisBD) March 17, 2020
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