Watch Together Online with Netflix Party and TwoSeven

It has been months since we could go out to the movies with friends and family, but there still are ways to view movies with friends during this time of safe social distancing. At a basic level, you could coordinate a movie start time while having a FaceTime conversation on your phones. You could also start a movie and share your screen in Zoom, Discord, or Microsoft Teams. But a better option is to install a web browser extension that synchronizes the viewing experience alongside video-chat or text messaging.

Movie-sharing browser extensions are available for Chrome and Firefox web browsers. An extension is a helper app. You may be more familiar with ones that do things like block popup ads and find coupons. Some extensions—Watch2gether, Hulu With Me, Kast (aka Rabbit), Netflix Party, and TwoSeven—make it possible to stream videos while watching and chatting with friends. These third-party apps aren’t perfect. Still, they function more often than not, and the bugs are easy to work around. While Netflix Party and Hulu with Me are dedicated to their respective streaming services, others can share videos from a variety of sources.

Netflix Party pairs playback with text chat for a simple “let’s watch together” experience. To use it, each party participant needs to install the extension and click on “Add to Chrome.” Everyone at the party must then log in at

The host chooses a video to watch at the Netflix website and presses play. Next, the host clicks on the “NP” icon in the browser’s toolbar, which will change from gray to red. A window appears with the URL of the movie or TV show that is waiting to be shared. To invite others, you click “copy URL” and send the link to friends via email, chat, or text. If the friends have downloaded the extension and have logged in to Netflix, they can click on the link and “NP” in their browser’s toolbar to join. The chat and movie will appear in their browser and the host is notified that an invitee has joined the room. A host can also choose to share playback control, allowing others to pause if they need to leave for a break.

PC users should have no issue with the Netflix Party Chrome extension, but it can have issues on a Mac. While it worked on my MacBook, the video wouldn’t play and the shared screen didn’t appear when I tried it on my desktop Mac. The issue wasn’t resolved despite contacting both Netflix Party and Netflix support.

A better option than Netflix Party is the TwoSeven extension for Chrome and Firefox, which lets you share videos from YouTube, Netflix, Amazon, HBO, and Vimeo, along with personal clips, Plex, and videos from any website. Patrons of TwoSeven (subscribers) receive added features and services. TwoSeven is unlocking all features for $3/month (including those that are normally only available for $20/ month) during the Covid-19 shutdown. This adds sharing Hulu (usually in the $5/ month tier) and Disney+ (from the $10 per month tier).

While you can have an almost unlimited number of friends join and communicate via webcam, microphone, or text chat when using TwoSeven, it’s best to keep it under 10 friends for video-chat. Depending on the upload and download internet speeds of each participant, video quality and playback can be diminished if more than 4 people are participating.

Setup is similar to Netflix Party in that you install the TwoSeven extension on a Chrome or Firefox browser and create an account. The host will need to set up a Patron account if you are sharing the video from Hulu or Disney+, while invitees can view with a free account. All participants should be logged in to the service—Netflix, Hulu, Amazon—from which the video will be shared, though that step isn’t required for YouTube, personal, or website videos.

With each app, both hosts and invitees must be logged in to an active account of the shared streaming service. However, it can be the same account. My son and I had no issue watching Disney+, Hulu, and Netflix, where we share the same login for each of these services.

Also, you cannot cast or mirror the movie from Chrome to a TV—either the video goes black, or casting ends the session. If you want to watch on your TV, you must connect your computer using an HDMI cable, though you will need to use the computer’s webcam and keyboard to chat.

Surely, we will soon be back in movie theaters. In the meantime, I’ll be hosting TV parties on my computer while chatting with friends and family.