Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, how we watch movies and television has dramatically changed. Where once people could get together to make watching a social event, stay at home orders and social distancing has shifted that in-person experience to a virtual one. Now Scener, the virtual movie theater that enables friends to watch remotely over video chat while streaming favorite programs has announced their partnership with HBO to bring co-watching to HBO Now and HBO Go via Scener's Virtual Movie Theater application on Google Chrome.
The industry-first partnership gives viewers a whole new way to experience their favorite HBO programing together while apart, in real time allowing people to interact with one another via video chat.
"We're excited to bring Scener's Virtual Movie Theater to HBO Now and HBO Go viewers, giving them an interactive way to stay connected while enjoying the world's best video entertainment," Scener co-founder Joe Braidwood said. "COVID-19 has highlighted the need to connect virtually with loved ones, and Scener's partnership with HBO provides a fantastic way to interact. By combining the worlds of live video chat and streaming entertainment, Scener makes it easy for viewers to enjoy one of our most beloved pastimes -- watching TV together -- from a safe distance."
How it works is very simple, allowing users to create their own private virtual theaters in just seconds by downloading the free Scener extension for Chrome. Once the user connects to their HBO Now or HBO Go subscription, they're ready to go and can host watch parties with up to 20 people with synchronized entertainment over video, audio, and chat. And it doesn't matter if the host has HBO Now and a friend has HBO Go. Scener's synchronization technology lets them watch together.
"One of the things we worked hard on is making sure that if your family member or friend that you want to connect with across the country is a [HBO] Now subscriber and you have a [cable subscription] and [HBO] Go, you can actually still join the same theater together and synchronize your viewing, which is super cool," Braidwood told ComicBook.com.
And the virtual private theater, which is good for one-on-one viewing or groups of up to 20, isn't the only opportunity that viewers have to watch together. Scener will be rolling out the ability to host or join larger watch events soon, making it possible to enjoy movie nights in sync with large groups and bring people together in a much larger way while still offering people the enjoyment of being able to relax with their favorite programming.
"It’s actually really fun. One of the things that a lot of us have probably noticed being on video chat constantly in this day and age is it actually can kind of be exhausting to constantly talk," Braidwood said. "It's such an amazing feeling when you're synchronized watching an amazing old classic or a show that you love, and you can just sort of sit back and relax and enjoy the quality time you'd get if someone came over for a movie, but doing it virtually and it really is awesome."
Scener's Google Chrome Extension supports HBO Now and HBO Go for Mac, Windows PC, and Chromebook. You can check out Scener for yourself here.
Are you excited that Scener is now partnered with HBO? Let us know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @lifeinpolaroid to talk movies, television, what you're watching, and more!