• People across the country and around the world are quarantining themselves right now in an effort to prevent COVID-19 infections and stop the novel coronavirus from spreading.
  • More and more people in the United States are finally beginning to take the threat seriously, which means self-quarantining and potentially not seeing any friends or family for a month or even longer.
  • Staying connected is of the utmost importance, and there’s a nifty free Netflix app that offers a smart way to virtually hang out with friends and family while enjoying a shared experience.
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Does anyone remember calling your friends on the phone and chatting about shows while TV together? I used to do it all the time, and hopefully I’m not dating myself too much with that admission. It was a great way to connect and have a shared experience despite being apart. It was also a great way to piss off your parents since you would be hogging the phone for hours at a time.

In an age where everything and everyone is always connected, people don’t often share experiences like that. After all, younger generations rarely watch live TV these days. Instead, people have their streaming services of choice and they watch content on demand whenever they want to. Then, after they’re done watching, they might chat about the show with friends and family at some later point in time. There’s obviously nothing wrong with that, but the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak changes things a bit. Businesses are closed, schools are closed, and everyone is being asked to self-quarantine in an effort to slow the spread of the deadly virus. Of course, people can still communicate with the outside world in any number of ways while cooped up in their homes, but communicating and having shared experiences aren’t the same thing.

An awesome Chrome browser plugin called Netflix Party is definitely a must-have while we’re all hunkered down in our homes trying to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. The browser extension is available for both Windows and macOS devices, and it’s completely free to download and use. In a nutshell, Netflix Party transforms any movie or show you might be streaming into a shared experience with any of your friends and family who join the party. Playback is synchronized so that you’re all watching the same thing at the same time, and there’s even a group chat box you can open on the side of the screen so everyone can discuss whatever movie or series you’re all streaming. Here’s a video that shows Netflix Party in action:

Netflix Party is a great way to remotely connect with friends and family anytime, but it’s especially relevant now in light of everything that’s going on in the world. It will be quite some time before we can safely go out of our homes again, let alone travel around the world to see friends and family who don’t live nearby. Watching Netflix together is a great way to feel closer, if even for a short while. And if you’re looking for something new to stream, we’ve got plenty of recommendations for you.

Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than a decade, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.