Due to the lack of normalcy that COVID-19 brings each day, people are looking for ways to hold on to how life was prior to the pandemic. While I myself am a homebody, the thought of not being able to go out and see friends makes me a little anxious.
Thankfully, some tech geniuses noticed this issue and brought us a way to watch a movie and hang out with friends, all while abiding by Governor Newsom’s stay-at-home order. Yay social distancing!! The Netflix Party and TwoSeven extensions are available for download on Google Chrome and Firefox browsers, respectively. (TwoSeven is also available on Chrome, but I had a harder time using it on that platform.) I’m going to break down how to download each extension, use them, and all of the technicalities that come along with each service. The Signal team also decided to have a staff movie night, so keep an eye out for our review!
Netflix Party: www.netflixparty.com
Netflix Party allows you to stream all of the shows and movies available on the platform while watching and chatting with friends. It is only available as an extension for the google chrome web browser, so to have access to it you would have to add the browser to whichever device you like to stream from.
Here’s how download it. A watch party with friends is only a few steps away!
Make sure you have the Google Chrome browser downloaded on whatever device you use. In order to add this browser to your device, search “Google Chrome” on your search engine of choice. For Windows and Mac devices, you’ll have to actually download the browser as opposed to downloading an app. For iPhones, iPads, and android devices, download the app on the device’s app store. I had a hard time navigating these apps so I would recommend accessing the service via a laptop or computer.
Next, go to the Netflix Party site (linked above) and click on the “install Netflix Party” button, from there it’ll take you to a site. Click on the area that says “add extension” and then you should be good to go! If installed properly, the extension should appear to the right of the search bar.
From there all you have to do is go to netflix.com, not the app, choose the show or movie that you’d like to watch, and click on the extension (which should now be red). From there, click on the “Start the Party” button. It’ll give you a link to share with you friends and a chat column should appear on the right hand side of the screen.
If you aren’t a Netflix subscriber or if you prefer Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, or Disney+, TwoSeven is the perfect site for your watch party. Available on both Google Chrome and Firefox web browsers, this site allows for traditional chatroom style chat or even video chat.
Here’s how to get started.
Once you have the browser of your choice set up and ready to go, go ahead and click the link above. It will take you to the TwoSeven’s site. You’ll have to sign-up, using either Google, Facebook, or whatever username or password you come up with. Follow the link that it takes you to and add the extension to your browser.
Once that is set up, you’ll need to add your friends, either via email, or Google.
To start streaming, visit the site you’d like to stream from. Pick your poison and click on the extension that should now appear to the right of your search bar. It should have a red one in the top corner. From there, click on where it says show media, and then click on the pop-up that says “Watch on TwoSeven”.
4. From there you will need to click on the option for whatever streaming service you’re using. They will appear as boxes on the screen.
5. Once you log in and find the movie that you were watching (it has to be the same as it was when you clicked through to the extension), then you should be set! Invite your friends, set up the video chat, and get ready to have a fun movie night!
There are a few things to note. First, Netflix Party may not have the video chat, but it is completely 100% free! While Two Seven does have the capability to access Hulu and Disney+, those features require a monthly fee via Patreon. Luckily, due to the circumstances right now, TwoSeven has a “Social Distancing” option that is only $3 a month. Yes, it is unfortunate but if you only have access to those streaming services and you miss your movie nights with your friends, this might be a good option for you.
Secondly, one cool thing about TwoSeven is that it is compatible with YouTube. You can stream your favorite make-up tutorials, music performances, or whatever else with friends for free. This would be an awesome way to have a virtual wine and paint night!
Lastly, it is also important to note that the default on TwoSeven makes it to where every time a new person joins the watch party, the video will start over from the beginning. But don’t panic! In order to fix that, there is an option for the host to lock the playback. I cannot do this as of yet, considering my friend list is empty, but I will definitely address this in the review article.
If you miss going to the movies with friends, take advantage of these awesome services. Just because we’re all cooped up at home, doesn’t mean we can’t be social. Technology is adjusting to the virus outbreak just like us.