How to watch films with friends and family while being apart

Missing those in-person movie nights and watch parties with your friends and family? Quarantine may have made that impossible, but fortunately there are a variety of online platforms that allow you to watch a movie or show at the same time as a group of friends and family – remotely.

Netflix Party

Netflix Party is a new way to watch Netflix with your friends online. The platform is a free Chrome extension for watching Netflix remotely with friends that you all need to install. Netflix Party then synchronises video playback and adds group chat to your favourite Netflix shows and films. In effect, this means that if one of you pauses a show it will also do the same for everyone.

In order for this to work, everyone you send an invite to must have access to Netflix. If you don’t currently have a subscription you can also try the free 30-day trial, just remember to cancel it before the 30 days are over to avoid being charged.

Here’s how to download the extension.

  1. Visit netflixparty.com in your Google Chrome browser.
  2. Click Get Netflix Party.
  3. You’ll be redirected to the Google Chrome web store page to download the extension. Click Add to Chrome.
  4. A pop-up box will open. Select Add Extension. You’ll now see a grey NP icon in your browser toolbar.

Once you open Netflix and click on a movie you want to watch, the NP icon will turn red – simply click the icon and select Start the Party. Finally, copy the URL from the pop-up box and send it to everyone you want to invite to the group. That’s it! You’re ready to get watching.

Airtime

Similarly to Netflix Party, an app called Airtime also lets you video chat with friends while watching movies, shows and YouTube videos on the same screen.

To use Airtime, download the app on your iPhone or Android device, set up your profile and add all your friends you want to video chat with. Each person will need to have their own Airtime account. Then all you need to do is create an Airtime room. To do this Tap Create Room on the main screen, then invite your friends to the room and tap Next.

Airtime recommends adding five friends or fewer to each room for a better viewing experience. The app also allows you to choose whether you want the room to be Secret, so only your invited friends can see, or Party, where friends of friends can join in.

After you’ve created a room, send an alert to your friends about starting a video chat. To do so, open the room you created and select Signal Room. Then choose a video or movie to watch by tapping the Popcorn icon at the bottom of the screen.

While you’re watching the video with your friends, you can drop GIFs, emojis and sounds into the room – you’ll see icons at the bottom of the screen that say Reactions, Stickers and Sounds. You can also send messages with video chatting by tapping the Messages icon.

Gaze

Let’s Gaze is another way you can watch YouTube videos or movies with another person. To work this platform, one user creates a room and sends a link for it to another user – both can then immediately start streaming together. The site even includes voice and video chat built in so you video chat throughout the movie.

Unlike the other options above, Gaze doesn’t require the users to have a subscription or an account. This is because it syncs up local files on both of the devices rather than using a movie from the internet. In simple terms this means both users need to have a copy of the video file available on their device, such as an MP4 file. To share a file that only one person has downloaded you could use a file sharing service like Dropbox.

However, with Gaze, only two users can watch together, so movie parties will need another service.

Want more top tips on streaming services? Check out our other posts in the subject here: