Daily

WATCH PARTY

Virtual streaming extensions facilitate socialized watching experiences

As the pandemic continues to reshape consumer attitudes towards in-person socializing (skewing toward the side of caution), entertainment extensions are helping to create a virtual sense of community by facilitating shared and simultaneous watching experiences between friends and loved ones. The following extensions are offering such “screening parties” with chat rooms and synced playing, so no one suffers spoilers due to lagged watching.

NETFLIX PARTY

The future of “Netflix and Chill” is here: participants are no longer required to go to another person’s house to enjoy shared content on the streaming service together. This is made possible by Netflix Party, a free Google Chrome extension designed to facilitate a virtual Netflix viewing party. Participants who use the extension can start and stop a shared TV show or movie remotely while also exchanging silent commentary via a chat room that pops up as a sidebar. The streaming extension has served as a great evolution for at-home entertainment for the over 10 million users who have downloaded it by bringing their friends and family together in this way, even during an intense period of social-distancing.

BBC TOGETHER

BBC recently debuted BBC Together, a streaming tool available via BBC Taster, BBC’s experimental technologies site. BBC Together allows viewers to stream BBC video and audio content in sync with friends and family using separate devices; it’s essentially the BBC’s version of Netflix Party. To get started, the host shares a private link with their party, which is generated by the site. Once everyone is ready, the host holds control of the watching experience, but any commands sync the streaming experience for the entire chat, giving everyone the same viewing experience. Users can choose to stream from a large library of BBC content including: BBC iPlayer, BBC Sounds, Bitesize, BBC News, and BBC Sport.

TWOSEVEN

TwoSeven is a virtual viewing party extension that offers users additional functionality compared to similar offerings. With TwoSeven, users can invite as many people as they want to their watch party, and they can engage in text, audio, and even video chat while watching synced content in the TwoSeven browser. While a basic tier of TwoSeven is free, everyone in the watch party must have their own account to the streaming service being used. The free TwoSeven version is compatible with Netflix, HBO, YouTube, Amazon, and even uploaded video. Those who are willing to pay an extra $3 monthly Patreon fee can also gain access to Disney Plus and Hulu.