Whether you’re traveling half way across the world or simply can’t make it out of the house, you can set up a virtual watch party with your friends to watch your favorite shows together. As more of our lives (and work) have moved online, streaming movies and shows so your group of pals can watch together remotely doesn’t have a one-click solution.

Fortunately, setting up Zoom with a few tweaks makes it relatively simple to set up your own, virtual watch party. You can see how in this video or read on for the exact steps.

Streamer And Watchers

Pretty much most of the setup required here is for the streamer, the person who’s actually setting up the watch party. We’ll get to everyone else (the watchers) in a bit. First, you the streamer, will need to download Zoom and create an account. The web-only interface won’t cut it. Once you’ve installed Zoom, open up your web browser to the streaming service of your choice (e.g. Netflix, Paramount+, etc.), and queue up your movie or TV show.

In Zoom click:

  • Under New Meeting click the down-facing arrow > find your personal ID number (it will look like 123 456 7890) > click Copy Invitation
  • Next click New Meeting > then click Join with computer audio
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zoom copy invitation

You should see a screen that looks like this:

zoom share screen

Text your friends directly or using some VoIP service like Facetime, Signal, or Whatsapp the meeting invitation your copied moments ago. They’ll then need to click the link in the invite, you’ll get a notification in Zoom to admit them, and now they’ll just hold on. At this point, I would suggest setting up a group call with your friends that are watching.

Now you’re ready to share your screen but there are two additional settings which are important not to neglect.

  • At the bottom of the Zoom window, click > Share Screen
  • In the window that opens, make sure Share sound [with Stereo (High-fidelity)] is checked. You can switch from “Mono” to “Stereo” by clicking the down-facing arrow next to Share sound. Then, be sure Optimize for video clip is checked.
  • At this point you can choose to share your entire screen or just the window with the web browser that has your TV show on it.
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zoom share screen optimize for video clip

And that’s pretty much it. On the separate phone group call you have with your friends, make sure they can see and hear your stream and if so, you’re good to go. Everyone should mute their phones (otherwise you’ll hear their TVs and visa-versa, which might not be exactly in sync) and you can un-mute when you have something to say, then mute again.

It’s not the most straightforward setup but it’s simple enough once you’ve got through it the first time. You, as the streamer, will need decent bandwidth to ensure a smooth viewing experience but you should be able to get away with 10-15Gbps download and 3-5Gbps upload speeds at the very minimum. Keep in mind if you’re traveling internationally, you may need to use this trick to get around regional restrictions.