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Lockdown entertainment: How to watch a Netflix movie with all your friends while self-isolating at home

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Photo: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Photo: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Photo: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

In lockdown, we’re all looking for ways to hang out with our mates while self-isolating at home.

Wouldn’t it be fun to share a Netflix movie in real time with them? Like a virtual home cinema session?

Netflix Party lets you do that.

It’s free and you can set it up for people to watch the same movie you’re watching, as you watch it.

If anyone pauses it, it pauses for everyone, just like you were at someone’s house.

A chat box on the right hand side also lets you group message while it’s playing, which is perfect for classic or cult movies. Or, if you really want it to be extra social, you can set up a Zoom, Hangouts or HouseParty online group video chat session to comment with each other as the movie plays.

The only limitation is that it’s on a laptop or desktop computer. Netflix Party is an extension for the Chrome web browser. You download it free from the Chrome store. Once you do, you’ll see it sitting on the top right of your Chrome browser address bar.

It’s not perfect but it might be a nice temporary substitute for joining your friends at the cinema.

There are some limitations. For example,it only works per movie or episode. In other words, as soon the movie ends, the joint sharing session ends. And it doesn’t work in Chrome versions on an iPad or a smartphone.

Also, it should be added that everyone watching with you has to have a Netflix account themselves -- this isn’t a way for lots of people to watch Netflix online for free with just one person paying.

Obviously, someone might say: ‘isn’t that just like television?’ Yes, only insofar as you’re watching something that’s playing at exactly the same time.

But here, you get to choose what you really want to watch from a big catalogue. You’re not flipping around RTE1 or ITV2 looking for something you’d all want to go see.

How to install Netflix Party and share your Netflix movie with others:

1. Visit netflixparty.com in the Chrome browser or search for Netflix Party in the Chrome Store

2. Go to Netflix.com (within the Chrome browser) and start a movie or episode

3. Go to the top right of your Chrome browser address bar and click the ‘NP’ icon.

4. Then click ‘Start Party’. Now share the URL link it gives you with anyone you want to join in. They’ll need to watch it with a Chrome browser on a laptop or Desktop (but not a phone or iPad).

5. If you’re the one getting the Netflix Party invitation, repeat step 1 above. Then, when you get the URL link from the person inviting you to watch a movie, paste that link into your Chrome browser. Now click on the ‘NP’ icon in the top right of the address bar and you should join the movie or episode at the same timestamp being seen by everyone else.

Online Editors