Movie nights with friends and family aren’t canceled, they just look a little different this year. Thanks to online streaming services that let users sync movies with others, you can still get your film fix together. We’ve unpacked all the ways to co-view so you can keep your party plans for that must-see TV premiere or big movie release.

Amazon Watch Party

Amazon Watch Party lets users—up to 100 at a time—come together to watch movies and TV shows. It works by syncing video streams, so all can watch the same exact scenes at the same time.

Once you select a movie, access Watch Party by clicking the icon, and then sending the custom link it generates to your friends so they can join. The host is the only user who can play, pause, and otherwise control the streaming. While watching, you can chat with friends on the sidebar chat panel, but there is no video chat function at this time.

Amazon Watch Party is only available to Prime members, so all participants need to be Prime members and have access to Prime Video. Not all movies can be streamed, just those that are available free with your Amazon Prime membership. Currently, you can only watch online—TV and other devices are not supported.

Available movies change frequently. Check out Amazon’s upcoming original entertainment here to see what’s coming soon. Currently, find popular films Knives Out and Rocket Man , as well as popular the crowd-pleaser show Fleabag. You can browse the full list of available titles here.

Hulu Watch Party

If Hulu is more your style, the recently rolled out Hulu Watch Party is for you. Hulu’s co-viewing platform works similarly to Amazon’s. Find a movie or show, select the Watch Party icon, share the custom hyperlink with other attendees, and you’re good to go. While you’re watching, you can talk with friends on the sidebar chat.

Eight people at a time can join Hulu Watch Party, and they all must have Hulu subscriptions. Currently, the feature is available only to those on the ‘No Ads’ or ‘No Ads with Live TV’ plans. And it’s accessible online only through Hulu.com, so you won’t be able to connect via TV apps. Scroll through the movies and shows on Hulu, then check the details page of the specific item you want to watch to see if it’s available on Watch Party.

As network TV premieres release this fall, you’ll find some of them accessible on Hulu. So even if you can’t gather together in person to watch The Masked Singer or Saturday Night Live, you can still catch up together on Hulu.

Disney+ GroupWatch

Disney+ GroupWatch is available for all movies on the platform, even new releases like Mulan (each account will need to pay the $29.99 Premier Access fee). GroupWatch is limited to seven people, and all users will need a Disney+ subscription to tune in. There is no built-in chat, so you’ll have to communicate via text or a video chat platform like Google Meet or Zoom. You can, however, click on “reactions” to send a corresponding emoji onto the screens of all viewers.

It’s worth noting that Disney+ isn’t just for kids. Sure, it has a great roundup of Disney favorites, new and old alike, and it’s also packed with entertainment for adults too. Here’s where to find Marvel and Star Wars films and series, and National Geographic documentaries. 

Teleparty

Though Netflix doesn’t have a built-in solution for watching movies with friends, you can use third-party apps like Teleparty (formally Netflix Party) for seamless integration. The updated app even works with Disney+, Hulu, and HBO subscriptions. Teleparty is a Google Chrome Extension, so you’ll need to install this free Internet browser and add it to your Google Chrome toolbar. After finding the movie you want to watch together and opening it in Chrome, start your Teleparty and share an invite link with friends.

Teleparty works by synchronizing each watcher’s video streams, so each user will need to have access to the video. While watching you can chat with up to 50 friends via the panel on the sidebar. There’s no voice or video chat currently available.

Video Syncing Services

If you don’t have a subscription to any of the above streaming services, or if you have a movie downloaded or on a DVD (remember those?), there are even more apps and programs available for co-watching.

Kast

Kast is an app that lets you stream movies with friends, and instead of syncing up videos, the host plays the movie on their own computer and shares their screen with others. You can allow as many as 100 people to watch. Only 20 can share their screen or video chat at once.

If you want to watch movies ad-free, you’ll have to upgrade your subscription. Kast has a premium version with enhanced HD video, on-demand movies and TV shows and picture-in-picture so users can share their screen and webcam simultaneously. To upgrade, it’s $4.99 per month, or $49.99 for the whole year. Regardless of whether you choose the free or premium version, you’ll need to use either Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge to use Kast.

Metastream

Metastream works by synchronizing every user’s video stream, which means each person will need access to the video. It works with most streaming services, including Hulu, Netflix, and others. Similar to other video-syncing services, you’ll need to download Chrome (or Firefox) and install the Metastream Remote as an extension.

One feature that sets Metastream apart is the ability to create a video queue. So if you want to host a movie marathon or just catch up on every episode of your favorite show together, it’s easy to do without needing to start a new group. There’s no video chat component, but you do have the ability to chat in texts while you watch.

Full disclosure, Metastream is still in beta mode, so you may come across a few bugs here and there. And while technically the number of users that can join at once is unlimited, they warn that too many can lead to glitching. At this time, you should keep your virtual viewing party to 50 users or fewer for the best experience.

Scener

Scener refers to itself as a virtual movie theater. With this platform, you can host viewing parties with your friends or up to a million (!) guests. Scener works with most streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and more) by syncing your video streams. Friends can chat via text while watching. In addition to allowing users to host their own watch parties, Scener’s social component allows users to follow other “hosts” and join ongoing watch parties.

To use Scener, you and your fellow watchers will need to have the Google Chrome extension.

TwoSeven

TwoSeven is a no-frills way to watch movies together and video chat while you’re watching. While it doesn’t have as pleasing a platform design as the other options, it works in a similar way—by syncing up the video streams from each user, both from streaming services or downloads. Like other services, this means that if you want to watch a rented or purchased movie, all users will have to rent/purchase the same movie.

TwoSeven says they have successfully connected 400 people, and that the platform can support more if needed. If you’re getting together with that many users, just be warned it will be prone to error.

No matter your budget or streaming preference, there’s an option for taking your at-home cinema night up a level and staying connected with friends and family. First make sure your Internet can keep up! This is especially important if you want to combine programs, like watching movies together while video chatting on Zoom. And, of course, you can’t have a movie night without snacks, so don’t forget to remind your virtual party guests to BYOS.

 

 

Video Syncing Services

If you don’t have a subscription to any of the above streaming services, or if you have a movie downloaded or on a DVD (remember those?), there are even more apps and programs available for co-watching.

Kast

Kast is an app that lets you stream movies with friends, and instead of syncing up videos, the host plays the movie on their own computer and shares their screen with others. You can allow as many as 100 people to watch. Only 20 can share their screen or video chat at once.

If you want to watch movies ad-free, you’ll have to upgrade your subscription. Kast has a premium version with enhanced HD video, on-demand movies and TV shows, and picture-in-picture so users can share their screen and webcam simultaneously. To upgrade, it’s $4.99 per month, or $49.99 for the whole year (plus applicable taxes/fees). Regardless of whether you choose the free or premium version, you’ll need to use either Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge to use Kast.

Metastream

Metastream works by synchronizing every user’s video stream, which means each person will need access to the video. It works with most streaming services, including Hulu, Netflix, and others. Similar to other video-syncing services, you’ll need to download Chrome (or Firefox) and install the Metastream Remote as an extension.

One feature that sets Metastream apart is the ability to create a video queue. So if you want to host a movie marathon or just catch up on every episode of your favorite show together, it’s easy to do without needing to start a new group. There’s no video chat component, but you do have the ability to chat in texts while you watch.

Full disclosure, Metastream is still in beta mode, so you may come across a few bugs here and there. And while technically the number of users that can join at once is unlimited, they warn that too many can lead to glitching. At this time, you should keep your virtual viewing party to 50 users or fewer for the best experience.

Scener

Scener refers to itself as a virtual movie theater. With this platform, you can host viewing parties with your friends or up to a million (!) guests. Scener works with most streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and more) by syncing your video streams. Friends can chat via text while watching. In addition to allowing users to host their own watch parties, Scener’s social component allows users to follow other “hosts” and join ongoing watch parties.

To use Scener, you and your fellow watchers will need to have the Google Chrome extension.

TwoSeven

TwoSeven is a no-frills way to watch movies together and video chat while you’re watching. While it doesn’t have as pleasing a platform design as the other options, it works in a similar way—by syncing up the video streams from each user, both from streaming services or downloads. Like other services, this means that if you want to watch a rented or purchased movie, all users will have to rent/purchase the same movie.

TwoSeven says they have successfully connected 400 people, and that the platform can support more if needed. If you’re getting together with that many users, just be warned it will be prone to error.

No matter your budget or streaming preference, there’s an option for taking your at-home cinema night up a level and staying connected with friends and family. First, make sure your Internet can keep up! This is especially important if you want to combine programs, like watching movies together while video chatting on Zoom. And, of course, you can’t have a movie night without snacks, so don’t forget to remind your virtual party guests to BYOS.