By Benjy Boxer
It was Valentine’s Day this week, and I thought I’d share how my girlfriend and I have been using Parsec.
Although I use Parsec every day for gaming, I recently discovered another great use-case for the software to solve a challenge my girlfriend and I were having while she was working 1,000 miles away for a month. I’m not the only who has discovered this use for Parsec. EchoTheThird recently tweeted that he was looking for people to watch Pixar Movies with.
When my girlfriend, Allison, told me that she’d be spending the month in Minnesota (we live in NYC), I was so excited for her. She was going to have an opportunity to learn about the management of a university first-hand and applying her years of experience building strategy for mission-driven organizations to the challenges facing today’s universities. But, while I was excited for her, reality set in — she was going to be gone for a whole month, making it very difficult to spend time together. Although she doesn’t play video games, she came up with a great idea — we could watch movies and TV together with Parsec.
It may not seem like Parsec is well suited for movies and TV, but the real-time, low latency streaming is actually perfect for a long-distance relationship. It works great for gaming, of course, but for co-streaming a movie, it’s also fantastic. When we both got home from work, we would hangout on FaceTime, and we watched the same show together in real-time. There was no need to do a countdown on starting the movie or coordinating our pauses to get the audio perfectly synced. Allison logged into Parsec, connected to my gaming rig, and I started the movie on Netflix. While the experience feels the same as always (my rig is connected to my TV via Parsec’s Raspberry Pi 3 app), she could now connect and watch on her laptop.
While the show is on, we talked and truly shared the experience with each other. We talked about what we were seeing and watched each other’s reactions to moments in the show without the inevitable delay that happens when two people try to start a show at the same time. There was no need to worry about the show buffering on one person’s connection and not the other because we watch on the same computer streamed via Parsec.
It isn’t as good as being in the same room, but it was very close. We watched the full season of Black Mirror and have fit in a couple other movies — PSA don’t watch Bright, it’s not worth it under any circumstance (in-person or over Parsec). Fortunately, she got home recently, and we can now go back to watching movies together on the couch, but for this brief (thankfully) long-distance relationship, Parsec let us share an experience, hang out together, and generally feel like we were in the same room.