How to Watch Movies with Friends Remotely During a Quarantine

Social distancing helps you stay healthy, but if you’re going a little stir crazy with gatherings on indefinite hold — you’re not alone. With no end in sight, how can you prepare for the long haul and stay connected with friends? Why not host a remote movie night on one of these platforms?

 

Netflix Party
Netflix Party is a free Google Chrome extension that lets you stream content remotely via desktop.


The Good

Netflix’s video quality is impressive — your favorite movies and TV shows are synchronized in HD quality. Users can comments on them as if they were in the same room.
Other pros include light-speed buffering for smooth viewing and a user-friendly menu that gets the party started in minutes. Avatars, screenshots and GIFs make it a truly interactive experience.

The Bad

While the extension is free, everyone invited needs a Netflix account. They’re offering a free trial, and for less than $10 a month, it’s a bargain — but not everyone will agree.

Unlike other remote viewing options, users are limited to chat — there’s no voice protocol — and because it’s new, it can be glitchy at times. Updates are in the works.

 

Discord and Twitch

Discord is gamers’ preferred platform for group streaming, but combine it with Twitch — Amazon’s video game streaming service — and you can share all of your Amazon content with friends.

Discord and Twitch

The Good

Both Discord and Twitch are free. You can communicate via voice, video or text, and user interfaces are a pleasure to use.

The Bad

Both programs are required for a steaming party, and some may find the integration too technical. An Amazon Prime subscription is required.

 

Zoom
Designed for business web conferences, Zoom allows hosts to rent online rooms for movie parties.


Zoom

The Good

If you’re working from home, you may already have Zoom on your computer. It’s free to download and includes 40 minutes of meeting time for up to 100 people. Video and audio are HD quality. Participants call in by phone, and content can be paused to allow speakers to see each other.

The Bad

Zoom’s free version is ideal for working remotely, but 40 minutes of video time isn’t enough to watch a full-length movie. Plans that do cost $15 per month or more, but if you already use ZOOM for business, upgrades are worth a closer look.

 

Skype
Skype is the world’s most popular VoIP option for making online video calls.

Skype

The Good

Movie parties with Skype are free. Create an invitation list, and a single click notifies everyone in the group that it’s movie time. Stream content from a pay-for service or use your computer to play DVDs.

The Bad

Viewers are limited to 25, and you can’t hear both the movie and your friends with adding a program like Discord to handle audio. Video quality is adequate for chatting with family, but it’s sub-par for films.

 

YouTube Live
YouTube Live is the live-streaming extension of the YouTube you know and love.

YouTube Live

The Good

YouTube’s familiar platform is already on millions of devices. Stream in real-time or share pre-recorded videos via your computer. Hardware requirements are minimal.

The Bad

Viewer comments are limited, and voice options are nil. Video quality is excellent, but it’s tough to capture the party atmosphere.

 

Final Thoughts

Hosting a streaming party is the perfect way to get together with friends but not their germs. Just one caution — don’t use content that you don’t have permission to share. Now relax and enjoy the show.