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Holiday movie nights just got a lot more fun with the official launch of Hulu Watch Party. Following a successful trial in May, the video-on-demand platform this week announced access for all Hulu and Hulu (No Ads) subscribers.
“With many families practicing social distancing this year, it’s more important than ever to find new ways to connect with friends and family this holiday season,” the company wrote in a blog post. “Hulu is here to help by offering our viewers the opportunity to enjoy a shared entertainment experience with their loved ones from afar.”
Netflix started the virtual screening trend with Netflix Party (now known as Teleparty), a Chrome extension that eases the pain of watching content while chatting with friends. Hulu jumped on the bandwagon in May when it began testing a feature for subscribers to connect via film and TV shows.
The function synchronizes video playback for all participants, and adds a group chat sidebar for quiet conversation. But there’s a catch (or three): Watch Party is limited to eight people (aged 18 or older) in one single web-based session; viewers who share the same account can join through individual profiles. And while thousands of on-demand movies and shows from Hulu’s streaming library are available, live TV and premium add-on content is not.
To get started, select the Watch Party icon next to a video, click “Start Watching,” then tap the chain icon to copy the link and invite others. Unlike Netflix, Hulu does not require any additional downloads. All you need is one of the supported web browsers (including the latest versions of Chrome, Edge, Firefox, or Safari) and a special link.
Otherwise, the two tools are almost identical, with simultaneous play, pause, and jump-ahead actions, the option to enter full screen, and a right-side chat bar that lets you talk without disrupting the viewing experience.
This article originally published at PCMag