Who doesn’t miss going to the movie theatre with your gang, and sitting down with a nice big bag of popcorn? But currently, that seems to be a pipe dream. It doesn’t look like we’ll be entering a theatre any time soon. So why not bring the movie theatre to you! Virtual watch parties are gaining in popularity as people are looking for ways to socialize in a virtual environment.
One of the easier ways to host a watch party is by using a video conferencing app like Zoom and sharing the screen so that everyone can join in. However, the streaming quality tends not to be the best with this method.
Watch Netflix together
Netflix has been our go-to video streaming app for ages. It has over 182 million paying subscribers with more than 70 million being from the U.S. itself; and these numbers don’t even count password sharers! So it is understandable to say, that Netflix is currently the most popular streaming service in the world.
Here are some ways you can watch Netflix together with your friends and family.
Netflix Party Chrome extension
Netflix has created its own Google Chrome extension called ‘Netflix Party‘ that allows its subscribers to enjoy watching Netflix together. The extension can only be used on a desktop Google Chrome browser. Although originally, Netflix Party required each user to have a separate Netflix account, you can now stream with Netflix Party through the same account using different profiles.
Netflix Party allows the host of the screening to stop, pause, and choose what everyone should watch. Using the extension also brings up a chat room to the right of the player, where users can communicate with each other!
Note: All users must have the Netflix Party Chrome extension installed.
Scener Chrome extension
Scener is a brilliant addition to the virtual movie theatre game. It allows you to create a virtual room, where your friends can join in. Similar to Netflix Party, Scener requires you to install its Google Chrome extension, which means you can only use it on a Chrome browser. Once you install the extension you can create your own room and send the invite link to your guests. Currently, Scener is only optimized to work with Netflix and HBO (which you can launch within the web app). However, we hope to see more streaming services added soon.
Scener also has the added function of permitting audio and video feeds of the movie watchers! So you can both, talk to and see your friends while you watch your favorite show!
To learn more about how to use Scener, check out our article below.
Note: All users must have the Scener Chrome extension installed.
twoseven Chrome extension
Twoseven is another Google Chrome extension that allows users to sync their movie binging with others. Twoseven has users create a room within their site, and then share that room link for others to join in. Once you have installed the Chrome extension, you will be able to access your Netflix account on the twoseven website.
Like Scener, Twoseven has both audio and video sharing options, so that you can both, hear and see your friends while you watch your movie!
Note: All users must have the twoseven Chrome extension installed. They must also create a twoseven account.
Watch HBO together
Of course, nothing beats sitting together and watching some old school HBO with your family. HBO has been known for its original and innovative programming and was even at one point the leading premium cable station in the U.S. Unlike other channels, HBO does not stick to one genre. Instead, they like to dip their fingers into every pot; from Sci-fi to romance, to comedy.
HBO has recently launched its latest premium subscription-based streaming service, HBO Max, which is rumored to have stars like Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman and, even Meryl Streep under one roof.
But with social distancing norms in place, sitting together for some classic HBO time may be difficult. Luckily, we have just the thing to help you get your HBO on with a group.
twoseven Chrome extension
For a more detailed guide on how to watch HBO with your friends virtually, check out our guide below.
Watch Hulu together
Known for its gigantic selection of TV shows, this Disney owned premium streaming service has over 30 million subscribers. Hulu offers a lot of flexibility in terms of add-ons. While you do need a basic plan (priced at $5.99/month), you can then choose to build up a subscription that is tailored to your favorite channels!
Unlike HBO, Hulu actually has an inbuilt feature called ‘Hulu Watch Party‘ that allows users to binge-watch content together virtually!
It should be noted that everyone attending the Watch Party must have a paid Hulu subscription. To learn more about how to use this amazing feature, check out our guide here to easily set up and co-watch TV shows and movies on Hulu.
Watch Prime Video together
Amazon’s adventure into the video streaming business was definitely a big hit with Prime Video. When it comes to variety, nothing beats Amazon Prime Video. The streaming service from Amazon boasts of having over 22,000 movies and close to 2000 TV shows! With these numbers, even Netflix falls way behind.
Prime Video is more regionally accessible, with local sites being tailored to match the language and content choices of its audience. It also houses many critically acclaimed Amazon Originals like ‘Homecoming’, ‘Fleabag’, and ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’. Now, you can watch these amazing shows with your loved ones virtually, using the below-mentioned options.
Twitch Watch Party
Twitch, which is a subsidiary of Amazon, has recently introduced a feature to create a Watch Party. Using this feature, users can add Amazon Prime content to the watchlist, and invite friends and family to watch together using the invite link.
Twitch Watch Party is currently only available to users in the U.S. Also, all viewers joining a Watch Party must have an Amazon Prime subscription.
Metastream Chrome extension
Metastream is a brilliant web app that supports probably the largest number of streaming services! You do not need the Chrome extension to use Metastream, but it does come in handy when navigating from other websites.
To watch Prime Video content with your friends virtually, head over the Metastream website and ‘Start a session’. Here you can add media, by simply typing ‘www.primevideo.com’ (do not directly paste the Prime Video URL) into the Metastream address bar.
This will bring up your Amazon Prime homepage. All that is left is to select what you want to watch and share the stream link with your friends!
And the best part is you do not need to create an account to use Metastream! Simply visit the site and start a session!
Watch together on Plex
One of our favorite on the list, and getting better day-by-day, is Plex. Plex is a media server used for sharing content from one computer to any other compatible device. Plex has recently announced it’s new ‘Watch Together‘ feature, which will allow users to create their own viewing parties!
In addition to using the media already present on your computer, Plex also offers its own array of on-demand content for free! Of course, to compensate for this, you will have ads interrupting you from time-to-time.
To watch content together virtually with your friends, you can use any of the Plex apps for PC, Android, iOS, and more. However, if you plan to share personal media file, you will need to use Plex Media Server to your computer and provide your friends access to the media file(s).
Note: All users must have a Plex account (which is free!).
Best Chrome extensions
These Google Chrome extensions can be used to watch content together virtually with your friends and family! Naturally, they can only be used on your Google Chrome browser.
- Netflix Party: This Chrome extension can only be used for Netflix It offers a chat bar beside the video that users can use to communicate while watching.
- twoSeven: This extension allows you to create a separate room and stream content. It works with YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Vimeo.
- YouTube Party: As the name suggests, this Chrome extension is best suited to watch YouTube videos together.
- Scener: This Chrome extension currently only supports HBO and Netflix. The web app launches a new window in which you can stream your content.
- Watch Party: This simplistic extension does what it is supposed to. It works only with Netflix and Disney +. All you have to do is install the extension and tap on the button that appears when you start watching a show on either of the channels. Send the invite link to your friends, to have them join in!
Best PC software for a watch party
If you don’t want to load up your browser every time you want to create a watch party, here are some PC apps that you can use instead!
Plex for Windows
Yes, we know it’s already on our list. But since Plex allows you to both, stream its online content, as well as use the Plex Media Server, to upload your own content, it deserves an honorary place in our PC Software list. Once you download the server to your device, you can choose what media to upload. Have your friends sign up for a Plex account, and then add them using their usernames. Once in your Friends list, you can choose who to share your media with, and host your very own viewing party!
You will need to set up a server, the first time you launch the Plex Media Server on your device. Once you create your server, simply send your friends an invite!
Syncplay is a brilliant app that works with many of the top media players, including VLC. All you need is to have the video that you want to stream, on your PC. It should be noted that Syncplay is not a streaming service; which means that each user will need to have a copy of the content being viewed. What Syncplay does, is synchronize the position, stop, pause, play settings so that you can watch your video together!
For a more comprehensive guide, check out the Syncplay official website.
Kast is an easy-to-use software, that allows you to create watch parties right from your desktop! You will need to create an account, but once you do, it is as easy as clicking ‘join party’. When you first log in, you will already have a default party created for you. Simply click on the party, and send out the invite link.
Kast works on the premise of sharing your screen with others. So you must load up the media on your screen, and then ‘Kast’ it for others to see it.
Watch together on your phone
If you’re looking to watch content simultaneously on your phone, here are some apps that could come in handy! While these apps may not provide the best streaming experience when compared to PC or browser apps, they do manage to get the work done!
Yes, Kast also has a mobile app, that works along the same lines. It is simplistic and easy to use. In addition to hosting your own party, you can even join some of the other open party servers!
Rave is an easy to use app that helps you connect with people around the world. It supports a number of streaming platforms like Netflix, YouTube, Vimeo, and more. You can also select where to keep your room private (only friends) or allow anyone to drop by and watch your content. Rave also has integration with Google Drive, which means you can upload your own content and stream it through the app!
Airtime: Watch Together
This Android app allows you to watch content with your friends in real-time. It also allows you to signal to your friends when you want to start a viewing party so that everyone can join in. Use the animated stickers in the app to send your reactions while in a party!
Though still in its early access stage, this app does show promise. It allows you to start a video call with up to 9 people, and then share your screen along with your audio. It also allows multiple users to share their screen at once, which means you can even browse your social media, like Instagram, together!
Now all you need is your popcorn and you’re set! What is your favorite way to host a virtual watching party? Let us know in the comments below!