How to use Netflix Party: Watch with friends and family
With the world going through the coronavirus pandemic, social distancing has become the new normal. Everyone is staying in as much as possible, events are being cancelled and more people than ever are working from home. It also makes keeping in touch with loved ones challenging.
That's where Teleparty (formerly known as Netflix Party) comes in. The Chrome extension has been around for a while, but is currently enjoying a surge in popularity. It's easy to see why, because it lets you host virtual watch parties with friends and family, so it's a useful tool to rely on when everyone is stuck in their homes.
The idea behind Teleparty is pretty straightforward. The extension synchronises video playback and adds group chat to your favourite platform. In other words, you no longer have to worry about mistimed cues. It also works with Disney Plus and, in the US, with Hulu and HBO Max.
As someone who previously tried to watch movies with friends over the phone, I know how difficult it can be to synchronise streams and make sure you pause at the same time when someone needs to use the bathroom. No more. Teleparty does all the heavy lifting for you.
How to install Teleparty
In order to enjoy the perks of Teleparty, you need a Chrome web browser. Additionally, everyone you invite to join your watch party needs to have their own Netflix account – or, at least, access to an account. Here's how to get started with Teleparty (more on Disney Plus below):
Step 1. Go to the extension's page in the Chrome store. You can also access Teleparty.com and click on "Get Teleparty for free".
Step 2. Select Add to Chrome, then Add Extension in the pop-up window. The extension will install and you'll be able to see the Teleparty icon in the toolbar.
Step 3. Go to Netflix, find something to watch and click on the Teleparty icon in the toolbar.
Step 4. You will receive a unique link you have to copy and send to everyone you want to join your virtual watch party. This is also when you decide if you're the only one who wants control over the stream or if you're willing to enable everyone to pause or skip around.
Step 5. Once people join, you can all chat in a window that appears on the right side of the screen. You can click on the icon in the top right to set a nickname for yourself.
Step 6. Sit back and enjoy. Once you pause the video, it will pause for everyone. The same goes if you skip around. They will see what you see.
It's worth noting, you can also use Teleparty with Disney Plus but the platform offers its own GroupWatch feature which makes organising a watch party a breeze.
When should I use Teleparty?
Whenever you want. Or, more exactly, whenever you and the people you want to watch stuff with are free.
While Teleparty is a brilliant tool for anyone currently self-isolating due to the coronavirus pandemic, it's useful to have around in general as well. It should appeal to people in long-distance relationships or with loved ones who aren't close by. It helps you stay social even if you can't or don't feel like leaving the house.
As amazing as streaming services are, their popularity also makes it so that nobody watches shows and movies at the same time. With a few exceptions, appointment television isn't really a thing anymore. When you chat about a new show, you have to check everyone's progress on it to avoid spoilers.
Teleparty lets you make television a social pursuit again. It doesn't beat having loved ones over to watch something together, but it's the next best thing.
What should I watch with Teleparty?
Ideally, you should discuss this with the other watch party guests in advance to avoid wasting time once said party kicks off. That being said, we recommend you start with the best TV shows on Netflix or catch up with Netflix's original movies.
Subscriptions to Netflix in Australia start at $10.99 a month. The service isn't offering free trials at the moment.
Image source: Netflix
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