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Cast by Genii lets you watch Netflix with friends, no matter where they are

Cast by Genii
Want to watch a movie with a friend from across the country, or even across the world? A new mobile app and streaming box, Cast by Genii, aims to help you do exactly that.

Cast, now in development, works by streaming whatever you’re watching to your friends and family, no matter where they are. The app supports Netflix, Amazon Video, HBO Go and more, CNet reports. You can even stream traditional broadcast TV as well, though we’re assuming in this case you’ll need to use the stand-alone streaming box.

If this whole idea sounds familiar, it’s because this sort of thing has been done before. In August of last year, we took a look at a Chrome extension called Showgoers that did a similar thing. Using the extension, you essentially send a link to a friend that, when clicked, opens the movie or show you’re watching and syncs it up automatically.

The difference here is that while Showgoers requires every viewer to have their own Netflix account, Cast by Genii doesn’t have any similar requirements. Genii co-founder Frederic Robert told CNET that Cast doesn’t violate the rules of Netflix or other services, saying “It’s like you’re sitting next to someone on a sofa,” adding, “but it’s a virtual sofa.”

As of December, the company didn’t seem quite so sure. Cast began as a Kickstarter project, but was cancelled despite reaching more than twice its funding goal. The reason given in the final Kickstarter update seems to be primarily that the company wanted to make sure that content providers weren’t going to have a problem with Cast. It’s good that Genii wants to make good by its customers, but this does cast some doubt on whether Cast operates within the terms of service of various companies.

Possible rights issues aside, Cast is an interesting idea, and could be a lifesaver if you happen to have moved to a city where you don’t really know anyone yet. The app is set to launch this year, though no firm date has been set. The streaming box will sell for $100, but it isn’t clear if it will also launch this year. For more information, see the Cast by Genii website.

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