The 5 Best Ways to Watch Movies With Friends Online

How to host the coolest watch parties

It isn't always possible to get a group of friends together in the same place, and if you like sharing your movie time with friends, that makes it lonely to watch alone. But you can host a watch party and watch movies with friends online. These services make it easy.

Watch Parties and group watching features don't give non-service subscribers access to subscription content. Everyone who joins one of these watch parties will need to have their own subscription to whatever service you are using in order to participate.

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Netflix Party: One of the Most Accessible Ways to Share Movies

The Netflix Party Logo
What We Like
  • More than 183 million people subscribe to Netflix, so it's likely your friends will have it.

  • Selections include newer and older release movies.

  • It's easy and intuitive to use.

What We Don't Like
  • Only works on Chrome browsers.

  • Only available on desktop or laptop computers. not other mobile devices.

Netflix Party is the feature that started it all. Using Netflix in a browser, or on Chrome, Roku, or Apple TV, you can connect with up to 50 of your friends from anywhere Netflix is available. But, you and everyone who joins your party will have to install a Chrome extension to use Netflix Party.

Once it's installed, though, you can choose a movie, click Netflix Party, tweak some features, and start sharing an invitation. Then you're can start watching your faves with your friends, and you can chat about it right from the screen you're using.

Caavo has a Watch With Friends mobile app that will let you have a Netflix Watch Party with unlimited participants and even with people using mobile devices

To use Netflix Watch Party, find the content you want to share, click Watch Party, invite your friends and then you're good for chatting and watching together.

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Amazon Prime Video Watch Party: Prime Members Have More Fun

The Amazon Watch Party Logo superimposed over a video on Amazon Prime.

Amazon 

What We Like
  • Anything in Amazon Prime is available for a watch party.

  • Users can chat and watch a movie together.

  • Amazon Prime subscribers and Prime Video subscribers can use this feature.

What We Don't Like
  • Only available on browsers on laptop and desktop computers.

  • Cannot share watching premium titles, even with friends who have similar subscriptions or are willing to rent a film or show.

Taking a clue from Netflix, Amazon Prime released its own version of watch party features. but Amazon Prime Video Watch Party allows you to connect with up to 100 of your friends, and you have access to all the movies and TV shows available through Amazon Prime.

Unfortunately, you cannot stream rental or new release titles or premium channels, but there's plenty to choose from in Prime. To start an Amazon Prime Video Watch Party, find the video you want to watch with the Watch Party icon. Click that, invite friends, and start watching and chatting with your friends.

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Hulu Watch Party: A Movie and a Chat Brings Friends Closer Together

A Hulu watch party on a laptop.

Hulu 

What We Like
  • Participants can be people who share the same account using different devices.

  • Thousands of on-demand movies and shows available.

What We Don't Like
  • Only 8 people can join a watch party.

  • Only available to subscribers of the Hulu (No Ads) and Hulu (No Ads) + Live TV programming packages.

  • Can only be used in a web browser.

Hulu is one of the top streaming services available, and Hulu subscribers who pay for the Hulu (No Ads) plan or the Hulu (No Ads) + Live TV plan have access to this (apparently beta) feature of the streaming service. Users can host a Hulu Watch Party that allows them to choose from movies with the Watch Party icon.

Up to 8 people can join a Hulu Watch Party, including multiple users on the same account, and playback is synced for all 8 people. There's also an option to chat as a group while the watch party is in progress.

To host a Watch Party on Hulu, find a title with the Watch Party icon and click it, Click Start Watching, invite your friends and you're all set.

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Facebook Watch: Gather Everyone Together Through a Favorite Social Media Site

A screenshot of setting up a Facebook Watch Party.
What We Like
  • Combines premium content and video sharing.

  • Post videos as well as hosting Watch Parties for short- and long-form videos.

  • Offers Facebook Originals—titles created by Facebook.

  • Works on mobile devices.

What We Don't Like
  • Limited to Facebook curated content.

  • Facebook privacy is a concern for some users.

Facebook Watch isn't your typical Watch Party software or application. Instead, it's a feature on Facebook that lets you watch movies from Facebook, that users have uploaded, and from other sources. You can watch with friends, too, using the Watch Party feature of Facebook Watch.

The service has a lot going for it: user-generated videos, it can be used on mobile devices, and it's Facebook-simple to use. However, it also has some limitations. Users are limited in the content they can share with others, and they cannot watch content from outside services. Still, if there are Facebook videos you and your friends enjoy, this is a decent enough solution.

To start a Facebook watch part, click in the What's on your mind text box as if you were writing a post. Then select the three dot menu and select Watch Party. Now you can choose what you want to watch and share it with your friends.

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Scener: Watch Movies From Several Services With Your Friends

A Scener virtual movie theater ticket.

 Scener

What We Like
  • Access to popular and trending movies from Netflix and HBO.

  • Video & text chat alongside the movie as you watch.

  • Private rooms have 50-person capacity.

What We Don't Like
  • You have to sign into your streaming service account through Scener for it to work.

  • Chat disappears when viewing in fullscreen mode.

  • Some of the available streaming services are only available in the US.

Scener is a Chrome browser extension that you can add which lets you create and share watch parties with up to 50 of your friends. The service works with Netflix, HBO, Vimeo, Prime Video, Hulu, Funimation, and Disney+ (and is adding others).

The crown jewel of the Scener product, however, is the ability to have voice, video, and text chatting alongside whatever movie or show you choose to watch. When it comes to having a watch party that feels like the days before quarantine and social distancing, nothing can replace a real theater, but Scener comes in a close second, which is probably why the company bills itself as the Virtual Movie Theater.

To start using Scener, you have to install the extension and then click Create Private Theater. Select your options for services and what to watch, then add friends and start chatting.