In this time of social distancing we have had to get creative with ways to spend time with family and friends. I wrote recently about how Zoom was bringing together friends from my past and family far away. I wrote last year about an online game simulator that we used to play games with friends. Today I want to share a new way to watch movies with people!
It's no secret that Joel and I love movies. We used to go see literally every single movie that came to our nearby theaters and review them on this blog. While we traveled, we cut back our movie watching significantly - partly because of budget, partly because we couldn't always get to theater from wherever we were, and sometimes because movies wouldn't be showing in a language we could speak! So we were very much looking forward to watching movies in the theater again as soon as we settled down in London.
Then, five days after we moved into our flat, the world went on lockdown. No movies in the cinema for us. Whomp, whomp.
We, of course, still have Netflix, and BritBox (a UK only subscription to British TV), and Amazon Prime and Disney+ (thanks Brian!) and a few other online movie/TV watching options. So it's not like we have any shortage of entertainment. But sometimes you just want to watch a movie with friends, right?
Enter: Netflix Party!
This is a third party app that you can download and then use with Netflix. You have to access your Netflix account from a browser to use this (so on a laptop, as opposed to a phone/tablet/smart TV.) We used our laptop and then hooked it up to the TV so we could still view the movie on the big screen (such as it is.) We've only done this a few times with Steve, but it's pretty darn nifty!
Once you have the app connected to your Netflix account, you can create a "watch party." You then get a link that you can send to anyone have them join your party - they do have to have their own Netflix account. Once they join your party, you are watching the movie together! Any person watching can pause the movie and it will pause for everyone. There is a chat feature on the side where you can type witty comments to each other as you watch. It's really fun!
So what movie did we watch with this feature? Contagion, of course! (Yes, it was a bit morbid when we watched this way back in April.) The second time we used Netflix Party it was a bit glitchy, so it's not perfect by any means. But it is a good way to connect with friends while watching a movie, show, or whatever, on Netflix. I can especially imagine it being helpful for someone who might be isolating alone and would like that extra bit of connection!
If you give it a try, let me know what you think! Or, if you want to watch something together, let me know!