Locked down: How to watch a movie at home with mates

Netflix

With more and more of the world being locked down, the fear of being on one’s own can be very real.

India has locked down its 1.3 billion people for 21 days from midnight (India time), New Zealand will do the same for a month on Wednesday, Spain and France followed Italy after the country told its 60 million people to stay at home earlier this month and South Africa will begin a 21-day lockdown on 26 March. The aim is to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19.

The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been forced to tell the country’s population to stay indoors for 21 days as the coronavirus spreads. Coronavirus COVID-19 is now affecting 197 countries and territories.

Civil liberties have been eroded and police and soldiers are patrolling streets in some countries to ensure their population remains indoors. So how can you watch a movie or show with your friends during such a solitary time?

Netflix Party is a Google Chrome extension, which allows you to watch content with your friends and chat together at the same time even when the coronavirus is forcing you into house arrest.

Here’s how it works

You and your friends log into your own separate Netflix accounts. Someone agrees to watch a movie or show to watch, and Netflix Party will sync the playback across your accounts, so you’re all watching the same thing at the same time from your individual accounts. The extension includes a text chat function on the side of the screen (much like YouTube does during a live stream), so you and your friends can react and chat in real time, The Verge reported.

locked down, coronavirus, Netflix party

To host a Netflix Party

  • Download the extension
  • Open up Netflix, and start playing a video
  • The Netflix Party extension icon next to your address bar should have changed from grey to red. Click on it
  • A window will pop up instructing you to “Create a Netflix Party.” You have the option to either give yourself total control over the playback, or leave it open to everyone. Click “Start the party”
  • Another window will pop up with a link. Click “Copy URL” and share it with your friends. If you need to, you can find this link again by clicking the Netflix Party extension icon
  • Netflix Party will automatically give you an icon. By clicking on the icon, you can change it (there are a few alternatives) as well as your nickname.

To join an existing Netflix Party

  • Click on the link
  • Click on the Netflix Party icon

There are other ways to hold a virtual watch party. If you want to see and hear your friends via your webcams while watching Netflix, you can install Scener. If you’d rather watch a video on YouTube or Hulu, you can use Metastream, which has a text chat feature like Netflix Party, or you can try TwoSeven, which allows you to watch YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, or HBO Now while video chatting with your friends.

Locked down might not be so bad after all.

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