LOS ANGELES - The act of going to see a movie with friends is nearly impossible amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Movie theaters themselves have closed and social distancing guidelines make it difficult for large groups to congregate and watch a film or a new episode of their favorite television series.
Netflix Party, though, may offer a unique way for film and TV fans to stay in touch, even in the midst of the pandemic. The app enables people to chat via text through a separate window on their computer while streaming content on Netflix.
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If you determine that Netflix Party is a service you may want to use, you will need to add the third party app onto your Google Chrome web browser. After installation, there will be an NP icon to the right of your address bar.
From there, you need to open a video within Netflix itself to watch. Once you have started watching a show, click the NP icon, then click start the party and you will be given a custom URL. You can share that URL with friends and others and then can chat about whatever your group is watching in real time.
As of March 18, the app has over 1 million users with the average rating hovering around 3.2 out of 5 stars, according to Google Chrome’s web store. Some reviewers have reported difficulties trying to start or use the app, such as confusion over how to start a chat, syncing issues with friends or frustration that a new chat needs to be started for each episode of a show. Other reviewers have praised the app for its convenience and ease.
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Netflix Party isn’t the only app or digital service that lets digital streamers stay in-touch while watching movies and TV. Watch2Gether (400,000+ users) is a similar service available on the Chrome web store, as well as Share on Rabbit.(300,000+). Netflix Party, though, has far more users than those services.
While Netflix Party isn’t a service that streaming giant offers itself, other entertainment behemoths are adapting to rapidly changing viewer trends amid COVID-19. Universal Pictures is making many of its new movies available for on-demand rentals in response to the pandemic.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.