Never has internet-based interactions been as important as in the past year. Many of us have transitioned to a situation where socializing and conducting our work via the web being the only means of speaking to our friends and colleagues.
For many people around the globe going to the cinema or having friends over for movie night has been practically impossible for nearly a whole year now. We all miss sharing that time with our friends and watching our favorite programs. As with everything, we must be innovative now more than ever, but luckily, we are here to help you get your Netflix and friends fix all at once using Zoom.
Some articles recommend screen sharing Netflix via Zoom; however, we do not recommend this. Netflix is DRM protected and, on most devices, the participants watching the shared screen will only see black. This is not ideal and will ruin your planned evening. Besides, you would be breaking both Netflix’s and Zoom’s user agreements by doing this and possibly the law in some countries. Better be safe and try some of our methods to take your Zoom movie nights to the next level!
The methods we recommend require everyone watching to have their own copy of the series or movie. This can be achieved by everyone having their own Netflix account – not an unlikely scenario considering the year we’ve had, and that Netflix is the largest and most popular streaming service available.
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Watching Together Using Two Devices Each (Recommended if possible)
The best way to both enjoy Netflix and your friends over Zoom at the same time is to play your tantalizing series or movie on one screen such as your computer, iPad, tablet or smart TV if you are lucky enough to own one of these. Then Zooming your friends on another device, and all clicking play at the same time.
This allows you to see both your friends and Netflix at the same time and you can enjoy your friends’ reactions to your chosen adventure. Maybe you could even sneak in that perfect screenshot of your friend at the pinnacle of the horror movie you’ve chosen for the night for a priceless memory!
This method is also very nice for children who can socialize to a more normal level when watching their shows. It is especially enjoyable for aunts, uncles, and grandparents as maybe the shared screen time is more about enjoying time with the children than the movie for them.
The main difficulty you may experience with this method is managing your audio. This depends on how good the microphone on your Zoom device is at eliminating noise, and some other factors we will discuss later. Read the managing audio section to ensure you have the best experience possible.
Watching Together on One Device
Whether you’ve chosen to simplify your life by only owning one web-compatible device or lost, broken, or just run out of charge on your other device just in time for Netflix night, there is no need to worry, you can still have all the fun!
Watching together when only having one web-enabled device is still perfectly possible but might come with a few extra little hiccups to overcome. Just follow these steps:
- Start your zoom meeting with your friend
- Start your Netflix program
Your options for managing audio here are as follows:
- If you can both use headphones you can both keep your zoom microphones on and talk to each other while watching the movie
- If one of the Zoom participants can’t use headphones it is best that they mute their microphone and unmute when they want to speak
To see your friends if you only have one device, don’t expand Netflix to full-screen mode. Zoom produces a small thumbnail pop-up or whoever is speaking that you can place on a corner in your screen to watch your friends while watching Netflix. Some devices may allow video widgets to overlay, in this case, you can watch Netflix in full-screen mode and overlay a thumbnail of your Zoom meeting on top of it.
If you just want to hear each other, you can simply turn your cameras off for the duration of the movie to then turn them on in time for the after movie catch-up!
As discussed above headphones can be a lifesaver when trying to watch something while speaking to someone. You can choose to connect your headphones to the device Netflix is playing on (recommended) or the one with your friends. For example, keeping one earbud on the Netflix device allows you to speak to your friends freely while watching the show.
Another alternative is to “press to talk” i.e. muting one’s microphone and only activating it when intending to say something. This helps manage the noise levels and save embarrassing moments if you don’t live alone and your roommates aren’t aware, you’re watching Netflix with friends.
We hope this article has given you some ideas for how you can enjoy Netflix with your friends over Zoom in this new world and hope you go on to have a great time.