Movies and TV shows are more fun when you watch them together with friends. And with the growth of online streaming, it's now possible to share the viewing experience with other people, even if they're on the other side of the world.
In this article, we explore some of the best ways to watch Netflix with friends and family far away.
Teleparty (formerly known as Netflix Party) is a Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge extension that lets you and your friends remotely watch Netflix together. Disney Plus, Hulu, and HBO are also supported.
The extension synchronizes playback between everyone who's watching, adds a chat window, and allows anyone who's watching to play and pause the video. When someone hits the pause button, playback on everyone's screen will stop.
Creating a session is easy. Just start playing a video on Netflix, hit pause, then hit the extension's browser button in the upper-right corner of the window.
There are a couple of downsides. Firstly, chat usernames are not customizable. Secondly, the session will end upon the completion of a film or episode; if you want to watch a second video, you will need to make a new session and re-add everyone. Teleparty is free to download and use.
If you watch a lot of YouTube videos with friends, you will probably be familiar with Watch2Gether. The app has its own player that lets you natively access content from YouTube, Vimeo, Twitch, and SoundCloud.
Netflix is incompatible with the Watch2Gether player, but the company has come up with a workaround. The beta W2gSync feature lets you paste a Netflix URL directly into a special window in your private room. When you start the video, everyone else will be able to see it. However, only the person who created the room and added the URL will be able to control it. For W2gSync to work, you will need to download the official Watch2Gether Chrome browser extension.
Kast is another great way to watch videos with friends. It supports all of the major online streaming services, including Netflix.
You can use Kast as a desktop app on Windows and macOS, or via a web browser. There's also a mobile version for Android and iOS. When using Kast, one person controls the stream via a proxy on the online portal. Anyone who is in the same room (called a "Party") as the streamer can watch the show. Parties can be either private or public.
All of the Kast apps are free to download and use. You can upgrade to a premium version ($4.99/month) for improved video quality, a wider selection of reactions and emojis, and an ad-free viewing experience.
Scener lets you watch Netflix remotely with friends (in sync) while simultaneously providing an accompanying chatroom that you can use to talk about the show in real-time.
But before you download Scener, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. Firstly, the app only works with the primary Netflix profile on any given account. If you share your account with someone else, make sure you select the main profile when setting up the viewing party.
Secondly, the maximum number of people who can watch concurrently in a room is 10.
And finally, only the room leader can pause and restart video playback. If you need a bathroom break mid-party, you'll need to ask the room leader to stop playback.
Scener is available on the Apple App Store, Chrome Web Store, and Roku.
Metastream lets you watch Netflix with friends via a web browser. The company has not developed standalone desktop or mobile apps. As well as Netflix, several other mainstream video sites are supported, including YouTube, Hulu, Crunchyroll, and Twitch.
In addition to synced Netflix playback, the Metastream interface provides a chat box and video queuing for continuous watching. Inviting friends to join your Netflix party is as simple as sharing a private code.
Before you can use Metastream, you will need to download and install the accompanying browser extension. Extensions are available for Chrome and Firefox.
TwoSeven has a reputation for being one of the most reliable ways to watch Netflix and Disney+ with friends. There are optional paid plans with perks, but TwoSeven can be used for free.
The optional paid plans are processed through Patreon for payments. The lowest payment tier available is normally the $5/month "Convivialist" package. However, at the time of writing, the company is offering a special $3/month tier called "Social Distancer" for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The company has not said how long the special deal will be available for.
TwoSeven stands out as one of the few apps that allows you to see your groups' webcams while you're watching a video. It makes for a more engaging Netflix party if you can see your buddies' reactions in real-time.
Of course, you don't really need video syncing features to watch Netflix videos together. If there's only a small group of you, and you all have your own Netflix account (or even a shared multi-screen account), it's easy enough to coordinate yourselves to all press play at the same time. Really, all you need is text and/or video chat.
So, we'll finish by comparing two of the most common mobile apps for live chat and calls—Telegram and WhatsApp. WhatsApp has a larger user base than Telegram, but we prefer Telegram's impressive list of features, especially from the standpoint of watching Netflix with friends and family.
It supports larger groups than WhatsApp (100,000 compared to 256), lets you watch YouTube together while chatting, and you can share large video files for local viewing.
However, WhatsApp is the more straightforward option. Almost everyone you know will have the app, meaning it's readily accessible for people who only want to send the odd message while watching.
Does Netflix Officially Support Watch Parties?
Sadly, none of the services we have discussed are officially supported by Netflix. Which means they are liable to stop working without warning.
One wonders why Netflix hasn't already incorporated a native way to watch content in sync with other users. Given the popularity of watching Netflix with friends and family online, and the fact that Netflix is now available worldwide, it would surely be a massive hit.
You don't need to be in the same room to watch Amazon Prime Video with your friends. Here's how to create a watch party.