Watching videos with your friends at the same time, but in different locations might prove to be a bit of a challenge since you need to be starting and pausing the playback concomitantly.
Syncplay is a Python application designed to automatically synchronize the videos over the internet, with the help of public servers. This way, whenever someone in your group is pausing, rewinding or fast forwarding the video, the changes will be reflected across all connected devices.
Use the command line to install the Syncplay and connect the service to your VLC player
Deploying Syncplay to your Mac requires having basic command line knowledge and being able to work with the Terminal application. The developers provide extensive installation instructions, and as long as you follow them accordingly, everything should go quite smooth.
In short, you need to install the Conda package manager and then use it to install QT and the Syncplay script. Moreover, you should have Git installed to use the service to download and compile the Syncplay source archive (there is no Mac binary available at the moment).
Once everything is in place, the Syncplay service, and the associated script have to be launched from the command line. However, the script comes with a user-friendly interface that helps you connect to a Syncplay server and monitor the room activity.
Connect to the Syncplay public servers to keep the video playback in sync on all devices
Via the Syncplay graphical user interface you get to connect to a room on one of the public servers and see all other users that have decided to join in (you can let the app generate an anonymous username, or set it up manually to allow others to recognize you).
Here you can see if everyone is ready to watch the video, and see who has paused the movie, or performed any other playback management tasks. Note that the Syncplay is directly connected to the media player, and automatically syncs the commands to all devices, without any user interference. Syncplay works with the VLC and mpv media players.
All in all, Syncplay is an excellent solution if you want to watch movies with your friends even though you are not in the same location. The installation process can be demanding for inexperienced users, but once everything is set up, Syncplay is quite easy to use.