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Grid featuring logos from Disney+, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Netflix and Hulu Graphic: James Bareham/Polygon

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The 8 best ways to host a remote watch night for the holidays

Watch together while far apart

As the holidays come around, you may be craving the experience of gathering around the TV to watch a cheery movie or TV show. But if you can’t see your friends and family in person this year, don’t worry. We live in an internet age full of options for almost every streaming platform available.

Once upon a time, the go-to movie-night-with-remote-friends option was, a video streaming website which allowed users to either broadcast their own screens for others or use the built-in virtual browser to log into one account. The service has since gone to the great internet beyond (press F to pay respects), but thankfully, successors to’s legacy exist — though with varying strengths and weaknesses, since none of them do the same exact screenshare technique as itself. Here are your options.

Teleparty: The app formerly known as Netflix Party

What does it support? Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, and HBO

Does everyone need to have their own accounts? Yes

How do I use it? Formerly known as Netflix Party, the Chrome extension recently expanded to include Disney Plus, Hulu, and HBO. It’s not just for cheesy Netflix Christmas movies like Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square — now you can also use it to marathon the Home Alone movies! After installing the Chrome extension, simply navigate to the streaming service of your choice and click on the extension in the corner. This will start a room and from there, you send the link out. Teleparty supports a group chat feature, though it doesn’t come with video. You can even pick your own little avatars. The capacity depends on the current status of the servers (so expect some limits during holiday season), but in ideal cases, you can fit up to 50 people in this bad boy — y’know, if you even know that many people.

Image: Netflix Party

Hulu Watch Party: The Official Hulu Choice

What does it support? Hulu — but only the Hulu (No Ads) and Hulu (No Ads) + Live TV tiers

Does everyone need to have their own Hulu accounts? Yes, and not only that, they all need to have the Hulu (No Ads) or Hulu (No Ads) + Live TV tiers

a screen showing hulu watch party Image:

How do I use it? Hulu Watch Party is integrated right into Hulu, and can be activated by a little icon located on the details page of a title. From there, click “Start Watching” and share the link using the chain icon. Not all titles have this option, but according to Hulu “thousands of on-demand movies and shows” are available. Titles not supported by Hulu Watch Party include live television and premium add-ons, like stuff from Starz. Up to eight people can watch Hulu together using Watch Party.

GroupWatch: The Official Disney Plus Choice

What does it support? Disney Plus

Does everyone need to have their own Disney Plus accounts? Yes

the disney plus groupwatch feature Image: Disney Plus

How do I use it? GroupWatch is part of the Disney Plus experience. Navigate to a title on Disney Plus and click the little GroupWatch icon. The next screen will prompt you to send out the invite link to up to six other people. Unlike the other options, GroupWatch does not have a chat feature. Instead you use little emojis to react to key moments, like heart eyes for every time Nurse Ratched appears on Once Upon a Time or a good ol’ Hahaha! face for Gonzo’s antics in A Muppet Christmas Carol.

Squad: the one where you don’t all need an account

What does it support? Almost any platform that you can screen share within your browser

Does everyone need to have their own streaming accounts? Nope!

six people in video chat watch a music video, with text chat underneath Image: Squad via Polygon

How do I use it? Squad is the closest thing out there to our great fallen comrade, the screen-sharing, browser-based application that doesn’t require everyone to have a login. Sharing your screen is relatively easy: After clicking the icon on the far left of the screen, a voice prompt guides you to picking which tab to share. You can also directly share a TikTok or YouTube link. Click the chain icon on the top of the screen to share the link.

Squad is focused more on the hanging out part of the movie party experience, so it can be a little chaotic, but it’s a great combination of video chatting, and movie-viewing. Up to nine people can join a room.

Scener: be the host you wish to see in the world

What does it support? Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, HBO Max, YouTube, Vimeo, Shudder, Alamo, Hulu (ad-free), Funimation (ad-free)

Does everyone need to have their own streaming platform accounts? Yes

a screenshot of scener Image: Scener

How do I use it? The bonus of Scener is that in addition to cozy private parties of up to 10 people, you can also use it for larger public viewings of up to a million — perfect if you want to try hosting Rocky Horror or Cats or any other movie that really benefits from a large participatory audience of loyal followers.

To start a Scener room, you need to make your own account and download the Chrome extension. From there, navigate to the home page where you’ll be prompted to create a public or private room. You can also schedule an event in advance.

Watch2Gether: For the audio inclined

What does it support? YouTube, Vimeo, Twitch, and Mixer

Does everyone need to have their own streaming platform accounts? No, but mostly because it doesn’t really support streaming platforms.

Image: Petrana Radulovic/Watch2Gether

How do I use it? If you want to listen to the next episode of your favorite podcast with friends, jam out to the same music, or just browse the same wikipedia holes together, Watch2Gether is for you. This one doesn’t require any fancy Chrome extensions (probably because it is the most limited in scope), but it works well for simple sharing. Just start up a room, load up a link, and share the room using the people icon on the bottom of the screen. The chat option is on the bottom right. You can also enable your camera for some live reactions.

TwoSeven: Filling out the Teleparty gaps

What does it support? YouTube, Netflix, Amazon, HBO Max, Vimeo, Apple TV, Crunchyroll, uploaded video (Hulu and Disney Plus with Patreon options)

Does everyone need to have their own streaming platform accounts? Yes

Image: TwoSeven

How do I use it? Teleparty doesn’t cover every single streaming service out there, but TwoSeven picks up some of the big gaps like Amazon and Crunchyroll.

To view anything without a direct link (ie; anything that’s not YouTube or Vimeo), you have to install an extension. You’ll also have to manually go into the Chrome extension’s settings to get it to work with Netflix specifically. Once that’s installed, you’ll be able to play your desired content right in the TwoSeven browser. Another perk of TwoSeven is that you can also upload files of movies that you’d like to watch; time to relive your high school iMovie files, like those music videos you made about the principles of microeconomics (not that I have one of those floating around or anything). The best bonus of TwoSeven is that in addition to regular chat, it supports video and audio, so if you want to see a friendly face, it’s perfect.

Metastream: for a shared queue experience

What does it support? Youtube, Netflix, Hulu, Crunchyroll, SoundCloud, Twitch, Reddit, and Google (?)

Does everyone need to have their own streaming platform accounts? Yes

How do I use it? This one’s especially good for the timeless party activity of loading up YouTube and watching old music videos and Vine compilations. Once the Chrome Extension (or Firefox) is installed, movie party people navigate to the Metastream window and add the media you want by clicking on the sidebar. It’s a little wonky for Netflix, which will pop up in a separate window, but everything else can be added by copy and pasting a link. If you’re having issues with Hulu or Crunchyroll, you’ll have to adjust some Chrome extension settings (details in the Metastream FAQ). A cool feature of Metastream is that you can queue up media, which really brings the whole “watching old internet videos together” experience to life.

Once you start up a session, click the invite icon to get a sharing link. From there, add media with the “add media” button at the center (or to the side if something is already playing). There is a chat, but no support for audio or video.