Skype and Watching Movies

If you're like me, you have friends now scattered all across the US (and maybe even the world), where it can be very hard to see one another, (or actually talk to one another).

I have a friend who now is living and teaching in Illinois. Prior to his moving, we would hang out and watch a lot of movies. It was convenient because we lived close as well as liked a lot of the same movies.

Since his moving, if we ever have a movie that we both want to watch, but want to watch together, we go and turn on Skype. Skype is a free communication service that you can download and video chat with anyone who also has Skype installed on their computer.

The key here is that in order to watch the movies at the same time, you have to be very careful to line-up where you are in a frame to be exactly the same. We usually do this by pointing the webcam at the television (or sharing the screen for a moment - an option on Skype) and lining everything up.

Then we simply keep the webcam image of the other person's video up and watch the movie. We're able to both comment and enjoy the movie simultaneously without having to physically be within hundreds of miles away from one another.

Skype is an amazing tool, and I use it the most frequently for this type of thing because the audio quality is phenomenal compared to other types of Internet communication tools.

If, though, you have several friends, Skype doesn't easily allow for several videos playing simultaneously. You can have several people speaking with one another audibly, but if we have several people all wanting to show their reactions physically, we use something called TinyChat to get the same result. It's a free web chatting device that you don't even have to install, but sometimes the quality can be a little iffy. It's really nice when we want to get our friend who's teaching in China involved.

Yes, there are other means in which you can probably more easily go about watching movies with select friends (ie Xbox 360's watch with friends option and/or actually being in the same place at the same time) but this approach has been very useful for me so far.

When there's a big blizzard and it's next to impossible to drive anywhere, it's nice to know that I still have the ability to watch movies with friends if I really want to.

The Internet is pretty awesome.

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