If there’s one thing that 2020 has brought us, it’s isolation. Sitting at home, unable to enjoy all the things we’ve been so used to. Meeting with people, talking and shaking hands – it seems like such an alien thing now.
Yes, having all these online services is great. We can have items delivered to us in double-quick time, we can choose all the TV and movie content in the world and have it delivered to our screens. Likewise, we can have fast-food dropped off in double-quick time and we can contact friends all over the world for free using WhatsApp or Facetime.
However, it’s all screen-based, and the lack of real social interaction is something we’re all suffering from. That, sadly, isn’t something we can fix completely. Sure, we can stand a couple of metres away from each other at the supermarket or in a park, but it’s not quite the same.
So, we’re back to interacting via the web, and we have to rely on services like Hulu’s Watch Party. It’ll let you experience movies and TV shows with friends and family that have a Hulu subscription. It’s almost like being in the same in the same room. You can perhaps fire up a WhatsApp video call to keep in touch throughout the movie and then, once everyone joins and the host starts the show, Hulu will sync the media for all viewers. If you don’t fancy a WhatsApp or Facetime call, there’s also a chat panel for communicating within the Hulu window.
Getting it all sorted is easy enough, although Hulu’s Watch Party sadly doesn’t currently support Android, iOS, iPadOS, and other mobile apps. So you’ll need to be looking at a Windows, Chromebook or Macbook, oh, and you need to ensure that your Watch Party doesn’t have more than 8 viewers.
To get started, login to your Hulu account, talk to your friends, agree on a movie or TV show, then click the “Watch Party” icon if it’s listed next to that show. You, as the host, then need to hit the “Start the Party” button in the pop-up window and wait for everyone to come onboard. A special link will be sent out, and you can choose to share this on email, WhatsApp, texts or social networks if you want to open it up to more “virtual” friends.
Everyone joining the party will simply need to click on the URL they’ve received, then fire up the Party.
Although it’s not going to totally bring us back to our “fully connected” world, it goes someway to making us feel like we’re enjoying something together, and it allows us to enjoy a shared experience. This, in the coronavirus world we’re living in now, is hard to emulate. In previous years we would’ve had to agree to sit down and watch a TV show at a preset time on a preset channel – perhaps calling each other as the show is on. Now, however, there’s the choice of far more content and we can enjoy it whenever we want.