Synchronous playback It is a free and open source tool that can synchronize the media player with remote friends to watch videos together. It can be used for Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux and *BSD. It supports mpv, VLC, MPC-BE and MPC-HC, and every user can use any of these media players.
The application synchronizes the location and playback status of the media player over the Internet, allowing all viewers to watch the same video at the same time. Therefore, when a viewer searches, pauses or unpauses a video, the video will be applied to all viewers/media players in the same Syncplay meeting room on the same server.
You can choose to use one of the free public Syncplay servers, or host your own public or private Syncplay server, whether it is on Windows, macOS, Linux (including Raspberry Pi).
In addition, Syncplay also has:
- Play local (with shared playlists) or online videos supported by youtube-dl (on my computer, this function is available for mpv, but not for VLC)
- Simultaneous viewing is done through a similar chat room, so you can…chat with other participants, check their player status, etc. You can also chat with others via mpv (at the top of the mpv player window)
- Can automatically pause the video when the user is disconnected
- Includes options to deal with lag, such as fast forward/rewind or slow sync
- OSD messages with various events can be displayed on the top of the video player (for example, users who are not ready, etc.)
It’s important to note that all users (viewers) must have the same local video they want to play. Syncplay does not stream video between users, it does not synchronize player configuration, audio/subtitle track selection or volume.
How to use Syncplay to watch videos synchronously with remote friends
All viewers who want to join this simultaneous broadcast must follow the steps below.
What do you need:
- Synchronous playback. On Linux, it can be used as AppImage (to run it, you need to right-click on .AppImage and click
Properties, Go to
PermissionsLabel and enable
Allow executing file as program; It depends on the file manager you use, but in most cases it should be somewhat similar) or from Snapshot storage
- mpv, VLC, MPC-BE Either MPC-HC (The Syncplay website says that mpv has the best compatibility with Syncplay). For VLC, Syncplay should automatically install the LUA script (
syncplay.lua); Just in case, you need to install it yourself (Get from here)
- Optional: youtube-dl You can play online videos supported by mpv (on Windows, you can download the video
mpv.exeAnd mpv will automatically select it)
In my testing, I have used mpv with a public Syncplay server, and the following instructions assume that you are using mpv. If you want to run your own server, See this guide.
It’s worth noting that on Windows, the Syncplay server is provided in the downloaded binary file, but not on Linux, so on the latter, you need Clone the Syncplay GitHub repository It contains syncplayServer.py.
When these requirements are met, this is the way to use Syncplay to watch videos synchronously with remote friends. Configure Syncplay
When starting Syncplay, you will notice that it asks for the server address, username, default room, etc. This is what you must set:
- Server address: All users/viewers must select the same server from the public server list, for example
syncplay.pl:8997. The Syncplay website recommends avoiding running public servers on ports 8995 and 8999 as they lag because most people use them
- Server password (if any): Please do not enter any password here, as this only applies to private servers
- Username: Use any username you want (different for each viewer)
- Default room: Enter the same room name on each computer to be played synchronously. The playback will only be synchronized with other servers on that server in the same room. The room name is case sensitive. Since the public server does not have a password, I want to use a complicated room name (as an alternative to the password) so that uninvited guests cannot guess your room name and hijack it
- The path of the media player: In my case, Syncplay guessed the path of the media player, but it does not apply to you, please enter the path of mpv, VLC or any media player that each viewer wants to use
2. Run/connect Syncplay
In the Syncplay window, you will see a big button that says
Click Store configuration and run Syncplay – click it. This will open the configured media player (e.g. mpv) and join the room you entered in the Syncplay settings:3. Play the same synchronized video for all viewers
|Left: Ubuntu 20.04 running in VirtualBox using Syncplay / Right: I actually use Syncplay’s Linux desktop; both are playing the same synchronized video|
Now playing the video is as easy as dragging and dropping the video to the top of the media player window (you can also open the video or link from Syncplay
File menu). Every viewer must do this. The files need not be the same when dragging and dropping (different when using shared playlists-see below), but their duration should be the same.
Similarly, you can also drag and drop the YouTube link from the web browser to the media player window to synchronize playback with all viewers (all viewers must use the same link to do this).
It’s worth noting that the domain you drag and drop the link from must be whitelisted in Syncplay, and only youtube.com (and youtu.be) are whitelisted by default. Add any domain you want to the “Trusted Domains” list in Syncplay settings (when Syncplay is not connected: enable
Show more settings At the bottom of the Syncplay window, then click
Sync In the sidebar, you will see a list of trusted domains that can be edited; when connecting to Syncplay:
Advanced menu -> Set trusted domains).
When everyone is ready to play the video, press
SPACE Mark yourself as ready and start playing the video. Or click
I'm ready to watch Synchronize the checkbox at the bottom of the playback window. When everyone is ready, focus the media player window and start using it
Whenever the viewer pauses, unpauses or skips, this action will be applied to all viewers/media players connected to the same room on the same server.
Another way to play videos is to drag and drop them into the shared playlist in the Syncplay window. But before performing this operation, you must add a folder containing the media files you want to play: right-click in the shared playlist and select
Set Media Directories, And then select the folder containing the video you want to play (do not add a directory containing a large number of files, because Syncplay may not be able to scan the directory). Every viewer must do this. Next, drag and drop the video file from this folder in the Syncplay shared playlist-all viewers in the added media directory must have the same file and the file name should be exactly the same (same as dragging and dropping the video to the media Player window).
If the file name is displayed in red in the shared playlist, it means that the file cannot be found on all the computers connected to this meeting room. When the file is found on all computers, its color changes to black. Select it in Syncplay, focus on the media player, and press
SPACE Mark yourself as ready and ready to play. Do you want to chat with other viewers at the top of the mpv video player window? Press
Enter, Enter your information, and press
Enter Send the message again. Position, font, color, etc. can be configured through Synplay settings (enable
Show more settings Visit this).
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