Watching Video Together Despite Distance

By:  Frank Engelman   |  Posted: November 6, 2020   |  Updated: April 19, 2023

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The Problem to be Solved

Making Zoom Even Easier

Making Zoom Even Easier

Now that “Zooming” is a verb, knowing how to make video calls via Zoom is becoming an important life skill. The truth is Zoom is extremely easy to use, which is why it became so popular during COVID. But some people still have difficulties with some aspects.

Solution Details


I wanted a solution that would let me and my sister (who lives far away) do some joint activities. We decided to try “joint watching” of a video. It worked rather well and we both enjoyed it, so I am sharing it here.

While it’s true there are existing, non-DIY solutions to sharing video, I thought this approach was simpler.


My Simple “Home Brew” Solution

If you are familiar with starting Zoom meetings from your PC/Mac, I’d suggest using that to share YouTube videos with your loved one. They could be using any device capable of using Zoom.


Here is a Video Showing this Video Sharing in Action



Set up Steps

Here are the setup steps that will allow you to continue to video chat while sharing a YouTube video.

On your PC/Mac:

  • Open YouTube and add a few videos to a playlist for easy finding during the session.
  • Start a meeting in Zoom and invite & admit your loved one.


  • Open sharing and click on the YouTube screen.
  • Enable “Share computer sound”.
  • Do NOT enable Optimize Screen Sharing for Video Clip.” (That would suppress your video chat with you loved one).
  • Click the Share button.



You can run a partial screen, where you can still see your other video selections.

Or, you are even able to run the YouTube video full-screen and have your loved one’s video chat on a screen so that you can share reactions.

Of course, the video on your loved one’s screen may be a little delayed as the YouTube video is being routed through Zoom.



Bonus Solution

Here is a bonus solution.

If you now have your loved one interested in watching videos with you, how about being able to look at a “live” video of locations where you have been together?


Here is a Video Showing “Locations We Have Been Together” in Action


Using Google Maps and Google Street View, you can share memories of places you grew up, visited together, or even always wanted to visit together. This is possible by just sharing the Google Maps app in your Zoom Video chat.


You could also share a game like WordScape just by sharing the app from your desktop.


We really enjoyed these interactions. 🙂



Existing YouTube Sharing Solutions

There are many “YouTube” sharing solutions available, but in my opinion, most of them have some setup complexities that won’t work well if your loved one is less tech-savvy.

(Here is a roundup of existing YouTube video sharing solutions that I evaluated and decided were too complex for our needs).

The “Chrome browser-based” solution requires both parties to be running the desktop version of Chrome. There are some mobile-only solutions, but those tend to either share the sender’s screen, suppressing the video chat, or are a bit difficult to configure.


*Disclosure: The research and opinions in this article are those of the author, and may or may not reflect the official views of Tech-enhanced Life.

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