Social distancing and self-isolation shouldn't get in the way of that Office marathon you've been planning with all of your friends — and now, it might not have to. Netflix Party, an app that allows multiple subscribers to stream content in unison, might just be the savior of movie nights everywhere. And here's exactly how to use Netflix Party in order to watch TV with your friends while quarantined in your individual homes.
The Chrome extension has actually been around for a while, but in the wake of the CDC guidance for people to stay at home in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (the illness caused by the novel coronavirus), Netflix Party has gained an even bigger audience. According to the website, the app "synchronizes video playback" for multiple users, so that everyone can watch at the same time (and start from the same point), and has a group chat function that allows the users to talk while watching, even if they're not in the same room.
In order to set up a movie night with all of your loved ones, Google Chrome users can download the extension from the official website or the Chrome store. (Apologies to anyone who uses a different browser; thus far, Netflix party is only available for Google Chrome.) Once it's been officially added to the Chrome browser, users can simply open Netflix and begin watching whatever TV show or movie they want. Though, to be clear, every user must have their own Netflix account as well.
After everyone who wants to join the "party" has downloaded the extension and opened Netflix, it's very easy to get everyone connected: one person clicks on the "NP" in the address bar, and clicks "Start Party." They'll get the URL for the party, which they can send to everyone else, and those users can click on the URL, and then the "NP" button on their own browsers. "You should automatically join the party," the website explains, adding that users can also customize their nickname and photo, in order to make it feel like large group text.
Netflix Party is one of the latest ways that people can enjoy some of their favorite movies and TV shows from home in the wake of movie theaters closing due to coronavirus. On March 16, Universal announced plans to make several of its films — including Emma, Trolls: World Tour and Invisible Man — available to rent on home entertainment, despite their recent or upcoming release dates. The following day, Entertainment Weekly reported that Birds of Prey and The Gentlemen would also be available on VOD starting March 24, so people can watch (or rewatch) them at home.
Of course, none of those options allow users to chat with their friends while all watching the same show, but thankfully, Netflix has thousands of TV shows and movies for you and your friends to plan a socially distant get together around. After all, The Office will only be available on Netflix for a little while longer — why let fears of COVID-19 prevent you and your friends from having one final marathon?
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and coughing, call NHS 111 in the UK or visit the CDC website in the U.S. for up-to-date information and resources. You can find all Bustle’s coverage of coronavirus here, and UK-specific updates on coronavirus here.