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“Two Sentence Horror Stories” is one of many programs on Netflix that multiple viewers can watch remotely together, using the app Netflix Party. 

‘Netflix Party’ Allows Remote Viewers To Watch Together

Television

If you’ve missed watching movies and television at home with friends during the quarantine, try the new group viewing app Netflix Party. 

Netflix Party is free and available as a Google Chrome extension (search for it at www.netflixparty.com). A seemingly perfect concept for this social-distancing age, it allows viewers to stay in sync with friends remotely while watching Netflix programs. 

It can be tricky to sign in, but here are some things I learned. First I went to www.netflixparty.com and installed the Netflix Party extension. (It helps to restart your browser after your installation is done.) 

I selected a  show on www.netflix.com, where I was prompted to click on the “NP” button. It can be confusing, as no “NP” button exists in Netflix itself — the button is found on your Google Chrome browser (look on the right top, beside the bar where you type in web addresses).

I selected the show “Two Sentence Horror Stories” to send to a friend. 

Once you select your movie and have invited your friend(s), you click on the movie and a sidebar will appear on the right of your screen with the heading “Netflix Party” with a default icon of a hot dog. This is the chat room, where you and your friends communicate. You can customize it with your own icon and nickname. You can also upload screenshots, emojis and GIFs. 

Once you’re all signed in, you can all type notes to each other in the chat room. 

One annoying part of the chat function is that it sends an alert every time you start and pause the video (which I suppose is considerate to one’s fellow viewers). You can also all take breaks by mutual agreement; the host just pauses the video.

The Netflix Party app is available only on Chrome browsers on desktop or laptop computers; it won’t work on a regular television yet (I imagine it would be awkward to do a group chat on one’s TV while selecting letters from a large letter box that obscures the show your guests are trying to watch). 

Don’t be frustrated if this app doesn’t work perfectly. The latest version, 1.7.8, was updated March 23 and claims to increase servers and fix various bugs. The app’s reviews on the Chrome app page, however, are largely not kind, ranging from one-star ratings to users complaining about connectivity and syncing issues. 

There are other apps that offer similar group options. One is Scener (which allows simultaneous video chat, but not without glitches); Rave (which works for Netflix and YouTube); and AndChill.tv (a group chat for YouTube videos). 

Other Chrome apps that help fix some of the bothersome features of Netflix include Netflix Classic and Video Adjust for Netflix.

None of these offers a perfect solution. But for now, they can offer us some comfort and company.

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