One thing the past year has taught us is that there are multiple ways to spend time virtually with friends and family with the help of technology and a reliable high-speed internet connection. For instance, you can even enjoy your favorite television shows or a watch a movie together by hosting your very own watch party.
What Is A Watch Party?
Before we get technical, you might be wondering, what exactly is a watch party? Simply put, a virtual watch party is an online platform that allows you and a group of others to view media together.
It’s streamlined, straightforward, and an easy way for you and your friends to remotely and simultaneously consume web content. Instead of loading the same web page, counting down from ten, and pressing the start button, you can just start a party, share a link, and watch together.
Some Popular Watch Party Platforms
If you haven’t been using Zoom for the past year, what have you been doing? This free conferencing platform is the easiest choice for hosting watch parties.
- Pros: It’s free, and only one member of the watch party needs to have a subscription to the streaming service of choice. Simply gather your party members, start the call, and share your screen.
- Cons: The video and sound quality isn’t always the greatest, and it can lag pretty severely. Also, if you don’t have a Zoom Premium account, your call is capped at a 45-minute maximum. You can get around this by closing the call and starting a new one, but it kind of interrupts the movie’s flow, and it’s a bit of a hassle.
Netflix has been everyone’s best friend since March of 2020, which means that most people already have an account. And that’s a good thing because they’ll need it to have a watch party. To use this feature, you’ll first have to download the Netflix Party extension.
- Pros: With a Netflix watch party, you get good quality graphics and sound, and there’s tons of content to choose from. You can also communicate with your party members via text chat and add as many as 50 people to your party!
- Cons: To join a Netflix watch, every member has to have a subscription. Also, there’s no voice or video chatting—although this may actually be a pro, depending on who you ask.
Your kids will love a streaming party hosted by the House of Mouse!
- Pros: It’s perfect for friends and family members of all ages! Disney+ has a veritable goldmine of live-action, animated, and documentary content. GroupWatch can be used on smart TVs with no installation required. Up to seven people can join the party.
- Cons: As with Netflix Party, all members must have a platform subscription. There’s no video, voice, or even text chat—emojis only—and every user can control the playback. Technically this is a good thing, but it can be chaos depending on the group you’ve assembled. Kids, right?
Prime Video (Amazon Prime)
A big up-and-coming contender in the watch party field, Amazon’s Prime Video is a “prime” choice to look into.
- Pros: Allows you to chat and watch eligible titles/content with friends and family. Backed by Amazon’s extensive library of content, you should be able to find something that will fill everyone’s taste.
- Cons: Must be an Amazon Prime member to participate in the watch party. Non-members will be prompted to subscribe to Prime. Every participant will need to buy or rent the video, similar to watching it on your own.
As watch parties become increasingly popular, you can bet that many other platforms will soon allow you to create and participate. They are just one more way for us to stay connected. But don’t forget, quality streaming works best with a local, fast and reliable internet connection from S&T.