—Instagram: Gather one or more pals by tapping the video-chat icon in the top right corner of a direct thread, next to the information icon. A screen appears letting the other participants know you contacted them; once you’re all on board, you can watch saved, liked, or suggested photos and videos together by tapping the camera icon in the bottom left corner of the video chat.
—Netflix Party: Each viewer needs a Netflix account; once downloaded, the free Chrome extension appears in Netflix’s own browser. Pick what you want to watch, click on the Netflix Party extension to share your choice with your group, et voilà: the movie begins with a group chat bar, allowing viewers to type and chat. Bonus: there’s no video or audio chatting, which means you can watch your movie in co-silence, without the annoyance of pings interrupting a crucial moment.
—Metastream: Another free Chrome extension widens your selection beyond Netflix to YouTube videos, along with Hulu, SoundCloud, Twitch, and even Reddit. As with Netflix Party, the chat function keeps the viewing experience pure. You can also curate a stream of YouTube videos, should you want to create a personal queue.
—Discord: For co-playing video games, Discord has long been the platform of choice, allowing users to step in and out of an activity and do something else on the side. You download it as a separate app.
—Old school: The classic, no-tech-experience-required fix is to position a screen so it faces a video calling app like Zoom or FaceTime, and then just watch whatever it is you want to watch together. If screen an
d sound quality aren’t a big deal, this kinda works.