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06.01.2020 / Technology

How to Host the Best Virtual Watch Party

In 2020, the world quickly took a sharp left as global stay-at-home orders and self-induced quarantine introduced a new term into our collective vocabulary. We’re, of course, talking about social distancing.

Unable to frequent our usual haunts like bars, restaurants, and favorite places for retail therapy, social behaviors have pivoted online, allowing people to discover new habits for interacting with one another. 

Between TikTok, Animal Crossing, and Discord, there is a dizzying array of options for consuming social distancing friendly content online. But not all are created equal. When boozy Zoom happy hours begin to lose their appeal, try these virtual activities to help stay connected to friends and loved ones.

Taking the Party Virtually

Virtual watch parties utilize online platforms to connect users in real-time. Although the technology has been around long before quarantine began, the popularity of virtual watch parties has increased as households navigate how to stay home and still socialize. Most platforms offer watch party capabilities for free or have a feature included with a low-cost monthly subscription or creator partnership, meaning that watch parties are accessible to nearly everyone.

Of course, an essential component of hosting a successful virtual watch party is the quality of each participant’s home internet. Lagging can occur during peak streaming hours, especially for those with cable-based internet, leaving some users a beat behind the action. For the highest quality connection, Rocket Fiber’s gigabit home internet will deliver the clearest streaming quality without the pesky lagging.

Ready to get watching? Here are our top platform picks for hosting the best virtual watch party.

For the Friends That are Gamers

When it comes to gaming, Twitch has cemented itself as the go-to platform. Although Twitch is primarily known for its popularity to stream gameplay live, the breadth of its content expands far beyond just the gaming world. 

In April, Twitch rolled-out a brand partnership with Amazon Prime, which allows Twitch Partners to host Watch Parties. Unique to Twitch, Watch Parties feature a Picture-By-Picture format, allowing viewers to see and hear the host’s real-time reactions to Amazon Prime content. For now, hosting access is restricted to verified Twitch Partners, though the platform expects to give all creators access in the coming months. The video catalog is also limited to Amazon Prime content, which means that viewers tuning in will need an Amazon Prime account.

For the Friends That Love to Binge-watch

Chances are, you already have a Netflix account. If you don’t, you may want to sign up for one so that you can participate in every socially distanced binge-watchers dream: a Netflix Party.

Unlike Twitch, Netflix watch parties are available to all users through the Netflix Party extension available on Chrome. The extension allows a user to select a title and share a link with friends, giving them access to the same synched stream. The real party happens when viewers utilize the sidebar chat to share reactions to movies and shows. The only downside is that it does require that users be on their computers, which may be less comfortable for some viewers.

For the Friends That Know Their Way Around a Dance Floor

For friends that share a bond through music, Facebook watch parties are the perfect way to bring the music right into your living room. Facebook is free and easily connects you with all of your closest friends for barrier-free watch party access.

With countless artists taking to the Facebook stage to share their live performances, users can create private watch parties that allow for real-time chat reactions. Unlike YouTube or Twitch, Facebook watch parties can stay among friends or Facebook groups, so that you can weed out any strangers that might try to crash your good time.

Learn more about how Rocket Fiber’s home internet can help you stay connected with friends with fuss-free streaming.

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