Meet Cast, the app that lets you watch Netflix with friends even if they're in another country

It sounds too good to be true, but a new app lets you share your movies, TV and sports games with friends anywhere in the world.

Cast by Genii lets you watch the game or a movie with friends without even being in the same room.

Genii


From Eurovision to the The Super Bowl, some things are better watched with friends. A new app called Cast plans to help you share your viewing even with people who aren't in the room with you, beaming your Netflix movie or TV show to others whether they have a subscription or not.

Cast by Genii works by streaming what you're watching to the phones, tablets or TVs of friends or family members. It's a bit like calling each other up on Skype and pressing play on a movie at the same time, but only one of you actually has to have the necessary subscription to watch the movie or TV show. The app has a chat function too, instant messages or video chat windows popping up on the same screen as the movie.

It's not just Netflix: The app supports Amazon Video, HBO Go and more. And it's not just streaming services -- you can also share traditional channels so you can enjoy linear TV shows, sports games and other "appointment viewing" with friends, as they're broadcast. Your friends don't have to have subscriptions to the channel in question and it doesn't matter if they're in a region where that channel is unavailable.

You can also watch YouTube videos and play mobile games against friends. Games include Angry Birds, Clash of Clans and Minecraft.

Beginning life as successful Kickstarter project, the app is set to launch this year. As well as a smartphone and tablet app, Cast is a set-top streaming box. The cute little round box will cost around $99 (AU$140 or £70, converted) and Genii told me that although use of the app will be free there may be premium options too, for a subscription fee.

I know what you're thinking: This sounds sketchy as all get out. That was my first question for Genii's co-founder Frederic Robert, but he claims the app operates within the rules of Netflix and other services. "It's like you're sitting next to someone on a sofa," he said, "but it's a virtual sofa." He emphasises that the app is limited to your "normal circle of a family and acquaintances" and it only allows others to share your stream if you're watching the same thing, so it's not like you're handing out your password for all and sundry to binge "Making a Murderer" without paying a dime.

Netflix declined to comment on whether use of the app would violate its terms of use. Fortunately the streaming service's boss made his feelings clear on the subject just last week. Speaking at technology trade show CES in Las Vegas, Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings told journalists that people sharing accounts was "a positive thing".

"We love people sharing Netflix," Hastings said. However, he was discussing shared accounts within households rather than specifically addressing the question of sharing your password.

Netflix supports different profiles on one account, but does place limits on how many people can watch simultaneously. It costs extra to have up to four screens on the go at any one time. To take another service, Amazon's video usage rules state two people can watch different videos at the same time using the same account, but you can't both watch the same video at the same time. Meanwhile HBO Go lets multiple viewers within the same household watch at the same time.

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