Your favorite HBO shows and movies are getting social-distancing savvy.
On Thursday, Scener — the “virtual movie theater” that allows faraway friends to interact over video while streaming the same content — announced its official partnership with HBO. Scener has worked to integrate its Google Chrome application with HBO Now and HBO Go (no word yet on HBO Max, due May 27) for an entertaining and safe bonding experience amid the global pandemic.
“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,” Joe Braidwood, co-founder of Scener, said in a statement.
“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.”
By downloading the Scener Chrome extension (compatible with Windows, Mac, and Chromebook devices), HBO viewers can enjoy synchronized playback with up to 20 other users, and connect via text, audio, and video.
It’s an experience that should function better with mutual cooperation between companies. Users have reported Netflix Party technical troubles with some frequency. Scener promises they’ll soon be supporting even bigger live events, but provided limited detail on what those events might look like.
HBO’s Scener partnership comes a little over a month after the announcement of the streaming service’s #StayHomeBoxOffice offering — which has made numerous popular titles available to non-subscribers for free during quarantine.
Per reporting from Tech Crunch, this could mark the beginning of even more Scener integration. While no deals with Disney have been announced, the extension download is reportedly asking for permission to read and change data on Hulu.com and DisneyPlus.com. Representatives for Scener did not immediately respond to Mashable’s request for comment.