What is Hyperbeam?
Why watch parties just got a whole lot better
Hyperbeam helps you nurture your relationships with close friends, family, and long-distance partners while physically apart by allowing you to surf the web and watch TV shows and movies together online. It uses an innovative technology called shared browsing that results in a significantly better watch party experience compared to screen share or video sync apps.
You can sign up and start watching together for free here.
Two years ago, Philip went on a co-op placement as part of UWaterloo’s co-op program to San Francisco. While there, he wanted to stay in touch with his close friends from back home. He stumbled across an app called Rabb.it that allowed him to surf the web and watch movies and TV shows together with his friends online.
The app was amazing, and allowed him to keep close with the friends he was apart from. However, despite having millions of monthly active users and over $20 million in funding, Rabb.it shut down during his co-op placement.
Philip, along with millions of other users were devastated. Not only because it was an amazing product, but also because it made no sense. Why would such an amazing product result in the company shutting down? It turns out that Rabb.it fell victim to the same thing that so many silicon valley startups fall victim to—they prioritized user acquisition over building a sustainable business model, and ignored valuable feedback from their users in the process. At the end of the day, they were spending significantly too much money without making any in the process. Philip was dumbfounded considering that the product was amazing, and yet the massive amount of funding that Rabb.it raised ended up being their downfall. With an insatiable desire to bring back Rabb.it, and an understanding of where it went wrong, Philip began working on a replacement for his final year engineering capstone project at the University of Waterloo in Canada.
Amby, the soon-to-be Chief Technology Officer joined Philip to develop an MVP, and soon after, Declan, the soon-to-be Chief Product Officer joined the team. Together, they built a passionate customer base that provided valuable insight into the problem and helped them build the shared browsing platform that is now Hyperbeam.
What is Shared Browsing?
The secret to Rabb.it’s amazing product was its innovative approach to watch parties—shared browsing.
Most watch party aficionados prefer to use shared browsers to watch movies and TV shows with friends online because they require the least hassle to set up and use, they let anyone take control if the host wants, and they let you visit any website you want.
For comparison, here’s a quick roundup of the most popular watch party technologies today:
Video sync apps
- Teleparty (previously Netflix Party)
- Prime Video Watch Party
Video sync apps can be great for quickly sharing a short video with a friend, or when all you plan to do is watch a public video on a popular site like YouTube. They’re also relatively simple to build, so you can typically expect to use them for free. However, video sync applications typically only sync content on a few specific websites, they can be a hassle to debug if something goes wrong since everyone’s experience may be different, and one individual's poor connection can cause havoc for the whole party.
All in all, if you’re looking for a quick way to share short videos on popular sites, then video sync applications may be the way to go. However, If you’re looking to do more, then read on to learn about the other exciting options that are available.
Screen sharing can be a great option for watch parties when you want to stream videos that are stored locally on your computer, or when the host has a very good internet connection and a fast computer. However, as many people have probably experienced at some point—screen sharing does have its fair share of issues:
- Host-dependent - Screen sharing is never fun when the host has a poor internet connection—nobody likes a blurry and laggy stream. Since the entire watch party relies on them to stream the video, this can lead to a variety of issues as well as stress for the host!
- No multi-control - Sometimes your friend wants to take control of the screen to show you something, or maybe you need to run to the restroom. Most screen share applications lack multi-control support which means no restroom breaks!
- Little privacy - Ever leave an embarrassing tab open by mistake? Or maybe you forgot to turn off desktop notifications? Screen share streams everything from your monitor to everyone else in the party, so say bye bye to privacy during your watch party.
Overall, screen sharing apps can certainly get the job done—but a lot of the experience depends on the host and the quality of their internet connection and computer. For those that want the best experience possible, however, read on to learn about the next big thing when it comes to watch parties—shared browsers.
Shared browsers are essentially web browsers that run on powerful remote servers that all members of the party can connect to. The server then uses its resources to stream the video in unison to every member of the party. The party host accidentally disconnects? No problem. Shared browsers keep working, making them the most dependable watch party solution available today.
Shared browsers are capable of syncing any website. Want to watch TV shows? Check. Movies? Check. The big game? Check. Anything you can think of, shared browsers have you covered.
Finally, you might be thinking that given all of the benefits of shared browsers that they’re probably difficult to set up and use—but that isn’t the case! On the contrary, shared browsers provide one of the easiest ways to host watch parties today.
But don’t just take our word for it—see what our users say:
Best way to experience movies with online friends/family/significant others
Hyperbeam is honestly the best and easiest way to connect and have a virtual hangout with friends to watch movies together - without having to be in the same room or country. The site is easy to use and their support during issues has always been the most forthcoming and helpful customer service experience. The Developers are really great and very engaging with their users and taking suggestions and doing their best to continue to enlighten the experience. It's the best way to ditch the old ways of syncing movies with friends over Skype and having to countdown to 3 and having to pause if one is lagging or out of sync :)
Best service ever!
I have been using Hyperbeam for a few months now and it's amazing to see the changes over time and how much the community is growing and how amazing the staff is. It just blows my mind, I couldn't ask for a better service.
The new, better Rabb.it
The best online group viewing service available since Rabb.it closed down. The design is already super good and the VM infrastructure allows all the great features we were used to, like handing the remote to friends, and so on. It's allowed me to do movie nights with friends again.
Not convinced? See what users are saying on our Trustpilot.
It’s only up from here
Since its launch, Hyperbeam has amassed over 1.5 million user sign-ups and 150K monthly active users.
What’s more, is that Hyperbeam is completely bootstrapped. This means we have not taken any investment—instead, we have needed to ensure that we had a sustainable business model before scaling. This will hopefully allow us to avoid the same demise as Rabb.it.
We’re so grateful to our amazing customer base for providing us with the feedback that has allowed us to build such an amazing product, and we can’t wait for you to join us on this journey as we work to help our users Vaporize the Distance.
If you haven’t tried Hyperbeam out yet, you can sign up and start watching together for free at https://hyperbeam.com