How to host a socially distanced movie night: Teleparty

In March, as the world watched itself close down, I began sitting in my basement, freaking out about remote school and the fact that I likely would not see my friends for months. No social contact, too much work, and stuffy rooms were getting to be too much for me. 

To combat this loneliness, I spent a lot of time on Tik Tok, an app that has things from dancing teenagers in crop tops to moody teenagers on a rant session–both are equally entertaining. As I was scrolling on Tik Tok one drab April day, I came across a video where a girl was talking about a new way to watch Netflix with your friends via a Chrome extension. My first thought was “shut up, that’s genius.” I sprinted right over to the group chat with my best friends and alerted them to this magical world known as Netflix Party (now known as TeleParty). As they say, the rest was history.

Netflix Party is a streaming service through Chrome extensions that allows multiple people with Netflix accounts to watch shows and movies together, while on their own devices, in their own spaces. A unique feature of this service is that there is a chat feature on the right side of the screen that allows for texting between users during the movie or show.

Tori Eysie ’22, a fellow movie-watching fanatic, says, “when I do Netflix Party with my friends every Friday night, it’s really something I look forward to. … It’s just really fun to relax and go into the weekend in a positive way.” Friday nights pre-COVID used to be a night out to dinner, or maybe a fun shopping spree in Target, but movies were more difficult to plan, as you had to buy tickets beforehand. Now with TeleParty, it is as simple as following the steps I detail later (Netflix please endorse me). 

For Sydney Weller ’22, TeleParty is a nice way to connect with friends again: “I also appreciate now that this is a new experience that we’re having together because we didn’t use to watch movies together before COVID.” Movies can be such a great way to bond with others, and especially in this new era of social distancing and extra precautions, there isn’t a lot of room for new experiences. Using movie night as a way to see and learn new things with my friends is something that I, personally, am truly grateful for. 

While I clearly am obsessed with this extension, there are other ways to stream shows with friends. Emma Beardsley ’22 likes to watch movies with friends via Zoom. For Emma, the ability to text only was a drawback to Netflix Party. “The reason Zoom movie sharing appealed to me more was that I could talk to and see my friends on the screen while watching something- it felt like we were actually together in person,” Emma notes.

While Netflix Party allows you to access a lot more movies than Zoom does because of copyright, it’s not as much real interaction with your friends as Zoom movie sharing is. The choice between the two really depends on the person, and how much work they’re willing to go through to find a movie without a lot of rights, but both are equally fun and offer similar experiences. 

Netflix Party just merged with a larger stream-sharing service called TeleParty. This service covers Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and HBO. It has the same features and functions as Netflix Party, just covering more streaming services. As with Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and HBO also require that participants have accounts for the respective services in order to use TeleParty. 

Here’s how Teleparty works: First, open a new tab in your search engine (Google Chrome works best), then search Netflix Party in your browser. It will take you to, where you will be able to download the extension to your Chrome extensions. I do want to reiterate that this experience is only possible if you and your friends have Netflix accounts. After installing the extension, it will activate whenever you open Netflix and start playing a show or movie. If you want to invite people, start the film, and click on the TP icon at the end of your search bar, and it will give you a link. Copy and paste the link to your friends, and then you are ready to begin! There is a live chat feature on the right side of your screen, and you are able to modify your profile icon and your username. 

It seems crazy that I would be ranting on and on about a simple Chrome extension, but when I say this turned out to be the saving grace of my quarantine, I mean it. A new movie every Friday night is an exciting thing, especially when you have nothing else to do and you’re missing experiencing things for the first time with your friends. This ability to watch movies together and actively talk about them from the safety of our own “bubbles” has been truly groundbreaking, and if you didn’t get the memo already, I would 100% recommend trying TeleParty out. Happy watching!

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