As the world has embraced social distancing and more people are staying in and working from home as a result of COVID-19, social engagements — including movie nights — have been all but canceled. That doesn’t mean you can’t still watch all the movies and TV you want. But until recently, you just had to do it with the people you live with.
That is until a free service called Netflix Party came to the rescue. This browser extension for Google Chrome lets you watch Netflix content with friends and chat while you’re doing it. So whether you are binging The Last Dance or Stranger Things together or you want to have an impromptu movie night, Netflix Party makes you feel like not much has changed.
How Netflix Party works
Everyone that you plan to watch with (yourself included) should log in to your separate Netflix accounts. When you pick a movie or show to watch, Netflix Party will sync the playback to all accounts so everybody is watching the same movie or episode simultaneously on their individual accounts. On the side of the screen, Netflix Party features a chat window, allowing you all to chat and react to what you’re watching in real-time using your browser. It’s not currently known how many people can join a single Netflix Party, but it’s certainly more than the 10 people to which the government has limited social gatherings.
Here’s how to host or join a Netflix Party.
To host a Netflix Party:
- Download the Netflix Party Chrome extension (yes, it is currently only available in Google Chrome).
- Open Netflix and play a video.
- The NP icon by your address bar will change from gray to red. Click on it.
- A pop-up window will instruct you to “Create a Netflix Party.” Choose to either maintain total control over the playback or leave it open to everyone to rewind or fast forward.
- Click “Start the party.”
- Your link will appear in the next window. By clicking the “Copy URL” button, you can then paste the link into an email or messenger app to share it with your friends. (If you need this link again, you can access it by clicking the Netflix Party extension icon.)
To join an existing Netflix Party:
- Download the Netflix Party Chrome extension.
- Click the invitation link.
- Click on the Netflix Party icon.
After that, you’ll be able to hop onto a friend’s Netflix Party or host your own virtual movie watching party whenever you want. If you and your movie crew want to take your watching experience to the next level, consider installing the Scener extension. With Scener, Netflix Party supports video and audio chats among your group during the viewing.
Now— you’ll have the chance to watch and enjoy your favorite shows and movies with your favorite people. Whether you’re enjoying a 20-minute episode together or a full season-long binge-watching session, Netflix Party can support it. The group platform won’t automatically end as each episode ends, so you’re free to continue watching through the night. Watch your favorite things, like Avatar: The Last Airbender, with the people who will appreciate it as much as you do, no matter how far away you may be.
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