There is no replacement for a movie theater — a fact that is hurting so many people locked up in their houses right now, including the writer of this very post. Millions upon millions of people are isolated right now because of coronavirus, desperately looking for some way to connect, both with their friends and loved ones, and with the sense of community that comes with joining fellow movie lovers in a shared experience.

For now, this might be the best replacement we’ve got. It’s a Google Chrome extension called Netflix Party and it allows people to remotely sync up their Netflix accounts so they can watch a film together and even chat in real time on the computer screen along with the film.

Here’s how it works. First, go to the link above and click the “Get Netflix Party for Free!” button. (Remember, you need to have Google Chrome.) Follow the instructions to download the extension.

Netflix Party

Next, go to Netflix (in Google Chrome) and open a film or show. Then when it begins, click the NP logo in your browser.

Netflix

That will launch the chat window on the right side of the screen and give you a shareable link for others to join your viewing party. (Once they click the link they need to click their own NP logo in their own browser — obviously everyone needs to have the Netflix Party extension for it to work.)

Netflix

And that’s pretty much it. There’s no audio component to a Netflix Party, but you could easily provide your own. Once you’ve got everyone in the same Netflix Party you could call a friend on the phone or even do a group FaceTime or Skype video call, or multiples of both to broaden the party. If you try it out, let me know how it goes — or maybe invite me to your Netflix Party. I could use the distraction as much as anybody.

Gallery — Binge-Watch Recommendations For All Your Favorite Streaming Services:

Enter your number to get our free mobile app