Watching a movie is one of my favorite things to do with friends and family. We pop up some popcorn (I always top mine with Tabasco sauce; trust me, it's amazing), snuggle up on the sofa under a pile of blankets, and chat over a cheesy rom-com. But now, with everyone social distancing on their own respective couches, those typical Friday night plans are no longer an option. Luckily, there's a new solution that just saved movie nights: Netflix Party.
This free Google Chrome extension lets you watch Netflix remotely with long-distance loved ones by syncing your video playback. That means you can watch your favorite shows and movies at the exact same time as your friend across town or family member on the other side of the country. The feature also adds a group chat sidebar, so you can still gossip and share reactions during the show.
To install the extension, visit the Netflix Party website and select the "Install Netflix Party" button. You'll be redirected to the Chrome Web Store where you can select "Add to Chrome." When prompted, select "Add Extension," which will add an "NP" icon next to the address bar on the upper right-hand side of your browser window.
When you're ready to start your virtual movie night, head to Netflix and select your show or movie of choice. To create a "party," click the "NP" icon, then tap "Start Party." Copy the URL, send it to friends or family, and start streaming simultaneously.
The plug-in is free to download and use, but everyone participating must have a Netflix account and add Netflix Party to their own browser. The extension is only available with the Google Chrome browser on desktop or laptop computers, so, unfortunately, you can't use the function on your smart TV. If you want to enjoy your show on a larger screen, however, you can share your laptop screen to the TV by plugging it in with an HDMI cord.
Start that popcorn popping, queue up your favorite show, and stay safe. Happy binge-watching!