Even a favorite activity at home, like watching TV, can get lonely at times, especially if you are used to hanging out with your friends and looking together. Although you can stream your screen and share text, FaceTime, or on zoom, it is sometimes not cut. If you are looking for a way to make your socially distant series more social, there are browser extensions with which you can organize watch parties digitally.
Here are some apps you can use to host movie nights with friends online, as well as step-by-step instructions on how to start watching TV.
To use these apps, you need a separate subscription for each service. Each viewer must log in to their own account. These extensions work in addition to your existing subscription to sync the videos with your friends. They do not offer a free ad to non-subscribers.
Netflix Party syncs your streams with those of your friends and adds live chat on one side of the screen. The app is only for use with Netflix and is only available for Chrome.
How to host a Netflix party:
- Download the extension
- Open Netflix and play a video.
- The Netflix Party extension icon next to your address bar should change from gray to red. Click on it.
- A window opens asking you to create a Netflix party. You have the option of either taking full control of playback or leaving it open to everyone. Click on "Start Party".
- Another window with a link is displayed. Click "Copy URL" and share it with your friends. If necessary, you can find this link again by clicking on the Netflix Party extension icon.
- Netflix Party automatically gives you an icon. By clicking the icon you can change it (there are a few alternatives) and your nickname.
How to join an existing Netflix party:
- Click on the link.
- Click the Netflix Party icon.
Amazon Watch Party
Amazon Prime Video now offers a Watch Party app for many (but not all) Prime Videos. Up to 100 people can watch at the same time. All participants must be Prime members. It is currently only available on the desktop and is not supported for Safari and Internet Explorer browsers. In this beta version only the host can pause, fast forward or rewind.
How to host an Amazon Watch Party:
- Go to the details page of your selected video and find the "Watch Party" button next to the "Watchlist" button. If it is there, you are golden. Click the button.
- In the right column, decide which name you want to use in the chat and enter it. Click "Create Watch Party".
- The video will be in the middle; Your chat area and the Settings tab are on the right. Under Settings you can copy and share your watch party link or end the party.
To attend an Amazon Watch Party:
- Click the link your friend sent you.
- You will be redirected to Prime Video and asked to enter a username. Then click on "Join Watch Party".
With Metastream, you can chat live while watching videos on a number of platforms, including Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Twitch, and Crunchyroll (Metastream opens Netflix in a separate window). The app is still in beta, so there are some problems. For example, there have been some issues when using Hulu on Chrome. Metastream recommends using Firefox while watching Hulu, which worked better than we tried.
How to host a Metastream watch party:
- Download the extension for Firefox or Chrome. The extension can read and change data on websites you visit.
- Navigate to https://app.getmetastream.com/
- Enter a friendly name and click "Get Started".
- On the next screen, click "Start Session".
- Click the "Invite" button on the left for a link to share. Click "Copy" and send it to your friends. In the same window, you can also make the session public, private or offline and change the number of allowed users (you can have an unlimited number of users). Close from this window.
- Your friends click this link to attend the session. When they join you will see a box on the left with your and your name. You need to click the green check mark next to their name to let them in. To give them permission to add videos and change playback, click the three dots next to their name and then click "Switch DJ".
- The Metastream screen can be a bit busy. You can make things clearer by setting up your chat to play on the right side. Click on the three dots on the far right of the bar at the bottom of the start screen. Click the "Chat" button. When the chat window opens, click the rectangle icon in the upper right corner of this window.
- When you click the gear icon, you can select an avatar and change your username.
There are a few ways to look at something. Click the Add Media button in the center of the main screen. You can then either:
- Paste the URL for the video into the bar either at the top or bottom of the screen, then click "Add to Session".
- Click on one of the video sources in the middle of the screen. This will take you to the home screen for this source. Find the video you want and click the "Add to Session" button in the top right.
If you do any of these things, the video will be queued so that you can make a list of the things you want to watch.
With Scener, you can video chat with your friends while watching Netflix, HBO Now, HBO Go (HBO Max is not currently supported), Disney Plus, or Vimeo. There is also a text chat function. Previously, you could only use Scener with the primary profile for your Netflix account. However, since the app has been updated, you can now use it in any of your Netflix profiles.
How to use Scener:
Download the Chrome extension. The extension asks for permission to read and modify your data on Netflix and Scener, to display notifications and to "communicate with cooperating websites".
- Open the app by clicking the extension icon (to the right of the Chrome address bar). If you can't see it, click the puzzle icon and you can access it from there.
- This opens a window along with a sidebar that guides you through setting up a guard party. Click "Create Theater" in the sidebar.
- You can either create a private theater with up to 10 people but everyone must be invited, or you can host a public theater with up to 10 hosts (with audio and video) and unlimited viewers (only with access to the text). Function). Make your selection (let's say you want to create a private theater) and then click "Create".
- A window will ask you to create an account. Click the "Create Account" button. If you have an account, click the "Already have an account?" Button. Sign up here."
- Enter a username, email address and password to create your Scener account.
- You will receive a notification explaining how Scener works. Click Next. "
- Select the streaming service you want to use. Then sign up for this service.
- Click the button with the camera icon "Activate" to switch on your camera.
- This will open a popup window. Click "Allow camera and microphone". Another window may recommend using headphones. Click "Got it" at the bottom of the newer window, and then click "Done it" in the first popup. (You may get the headphone window again – just click "Got it".)
- When you move the mouse over your video window, small camera and microphone icons are displayed. Click this to turn your video or audio on and off.
- Scener gives you the option to share either a link or a code with your friends. Click the "Copy invitation link" button to get the link and send it to friends.
- If you do not have a scener yet, you will be redirected to a page with a download link. You need to install the extension, create an account, log in to the service, activate audio and video, and then add it to your theater.
- If you already have sceners, just send them the code and they can enter it via the app extension to join your theater.
- Select a show or movie and click the play button to start playback.
Scener has a virtual remote control that you can share with and from your friends. Whoever has it can control what everyone sees; You can also rewind, pause, and play the movie or TV show – in other words, it behaves like a real remote control. To "pass" the remote control, move the mouse pointer over your video window until a remote control button is displayed. Click on it and then choose who you want to share it with in the pop-up window.
TwoSeven also has a video chat function, but supports more services. In addition to Netflix, you can use it to watch Amazon Prime Video, HBO Now, YouTube and Vimeo. If you pay the subscription fee, you can also use the app with Hulu and Disney Plus. Subscription prices range from $ 5 to $ 20 a month. Due to COVID-19, TwoSeven offers all of these paid features for $ 3 a month.
How to host a TwoSeven watch party:
- Download the extension for Firefox or Chrome. The extension requests permission to view notifications and read and change data on websites you visit.
- Create an account by clicking the extension icon and going to the site. You have to confirm your email.
- Click on the TwoSeven icon next to the address bar and then on "Go to twoseven.xyz".
- Click Get Started. Here you can change your avatar and username by clicking the icon in the upper right corner to the right of the gear icon. Select "Account" to access your profile settings.
- Click on "Start Watching".
- You will get a popup window where you can create a private room. Select the check boxes so that the other participants can access the webcam and microphone or only administrators can control the playback. If you have already added friends to TwoSeven, you can add them to your room here. Make your selection and then click "Just me".
- Click the icon in the upper right corner that contains two people and a plus sign. Click "Copy Link" and share this link with friends. Once you do this, they will be added to the monitoring session.
- Click the camera and microphone icons on the right side of the screen to enable video and audio.
- There's also a live chat feature at the bottom of the screen. Click on "Messages" in the lower right corner to open it.
- Click the button for the selected video source at the top of the screen. Netflix takes you to the home screen of your account. There you can click on a movie or view it to watch it. To watch YouTube videos, you need to paste the URLs.
Once you've added someone to the monitoring session via a link, you can add them as a friend to make it easier for you to join future monitoring sessions.
To do that:
- Click the two person icon (not the one with the plus sign).
- Find their name and click on the icon with a person and a plus sign. This will send them a friend request; You have to accept it.
- If you receive a friend request, you can accept it on the TwoSeven home page (if you have an existing monitoring session open, open it on a different tab, otherwise you will leave the session). All friend requests should appear under "Pending Requests" on the right. Click the green check mark to accept.
Hulu watch party
With Hulu's ad-free plans, you can now host a virtual surveillance party for up to eight people via live text chat within the service. While the feature with the (ad-free) live TV schedule is available, you cannot use the watch party feature for live TV content or for content from premium add-ons. You can join from your own profile. This means that multiple people on the same account can share the Watch Party feature. Users under the age of 18 are not allowed to participate.
- Open Hulu.com. Make sure you are using the latest version of Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Edge.
- Find a movie or show to watch. Not every video can be viewed with Watch Party. You can check if a track is compatible with the feature by looking for an icon next to "Start Watching" on the details page that shows three people.
- On the Details page, click the Celebrate Party icon.
- In the pop-up window, click "Start Party".
- Click the link icon to copy and send the link to others so they can attend your watch party (provided they have an ad-free plan and are at least 18 years old).
- When you're done, click "Start Party". To add people later, you can click the link icon in the upper right corner of the chat bar.
- After following the link, your guests log in and receive a message confirming that they have been invited to a guard party. You can click "Join the Party" to watch with you.
- If you or your friends are out of sync, you can sync your video using a blue button at the top of the chat bar labeled "Click to catch up."
Update July 1, 5:04 p.m. ET: This article was originally published on March 25, 2020. It has been updated to include two new apps and to update multiple entries.