Lockdown may be starting to ease, but we're not quite back to movie marathons with family and friends yet, and the best TV streaming services are taking note. It's a couple months late to the game, with Netflix Party launching in March, but now Hulu is introducing a social feature to enable viewers to watch shows together and chat while doing so.
Although perhaps inspired by the success of Netflix party, Hulu's Watch Party has some differences. Firstly, it's currently only available to over-18s with Hulu's more expensive, ad-free tier subscription. That means in order to have a Watch Party with up to eight friends, you'll all need to have the $11.99 package, with some speculating that the move is designed to drive upgrades for existing members on lower-tier subscriptions.
Unlike Netflix Party, which isn't hosted by Netflix itself and comes in the form of a browser add-on, Hulu's Watch Party is hosted through the site itself. A chat bar on the right-hand side allows viewers to chat while viewing, but you don't have to be synced-up when streaming, meaning you can go to more popcorn without making everyone else pause. If you're struggling with spoilers there's also a 'click to catch up' button to bring you up to speed.
How to start a Hulu Watch Party
According to Hulu, its Watch Party feature is easy to use. Thousands of movies and TV shows are available for Watch Parties, and you can click on the Watch Party icon on a show's 'details' page to find out if it's supported for communal viewing.
- Visit Hulu.com on a supported web browser
- Find a title available with Watch Party — look for this icon Hulu Watch Party icon next to a video
- Select the Watch Party icon Hulu Watch Party icon on the Details page
- Click Start Watching
- Once in playback, select the chain icon Select the chain icon to invite others to Hulu Watch Party to copy the link, then send it to other participants so they can join you
Hulu is owned by Disney, so we'd predict that Disney Plus may be the next streaming service to add a communal viewing feature. The family-friendly streaming site recently hit 50 million subscribers just 5 months after launching.