For many people, going to the movies on Christmas Day is a lifelong tradition. In fact, in a normal year, the week between Christmas and New Year’s is the busiest week for theaters, and with so many people off work, it can account for as much as 5% of the year’s total box office receipts. This year, though, things will be different. In many places in the U.S. and around the world, cinemas are closed, have limited seating, or simply present a risk families want to avoid. Not to mention many people won’t be going home for the holidays or able to visit friends and family during their time off.
Yet movies bring people together. Even with many new releases delayed, this time of year it’s nice to watch seasonal classics with the people you love. And no matter how locked down your city or town may be, some creative thinking can make this a possibility for the 2020 holiday season. Below are a few hacks that can let you watch movies with the people in your life, even if you can’t be next to each other on the couch or sharing popcorn at the theater.
1. See if your streaming services have group watching features.
A few companies like Netflix and Disney Plus have released a feature that will let multiple people watch a video stream simultaneously in different locations. This has a few advantages. Firstly, you can make sure that if you watch together, your viewing is truly synchronized—instead of someone lagging a few seconds behind. Plus, some of these features don’t require everyone to have a subscription to the service. So if you want to invite your niece to watch Frozen with you, it won’t be an issue if her parents don’t pay for Disney Plus.
2. Take advantage of all your screens.
Many people have several devices that they use each day to watch videos, work, Zoom, and more. To watch movies remotely with people, take advantage of these screens for a comfortable setup to both watch and chat. You can watch a movie on your CTV while you FaceTime someone on your phone, or you can watch the movie on your phone with Zoom pulled up on your laptop. Depending on what screens you have available and where you want to watch, you’re likely to have a better experience if you don’t try to do it all on one device.
3. Downloading movies will save you bandwidth so you can video chat without interruption.
If you’ve already tried to watch a movie with a friend and Zoom at the same time, you may have experienced a very common problem: your wifi simply can’t handle that level of demand. Video streaming and video communication take up a lot of bandwidth, and doing both simultaneously can mean your video buffers or is low quality and your video hangout becomes choppy or cuts out completely. That’s where downloading can come to the rescue.
Many people are downloading more videos these days to avoid issues like buffering, especially with so many people at home straining their networks. When you download a movie or show in advance, you can avoid issues caused by streaming and watch without interruption.
For group watching, downloading can also prevent the video stream from competing with your video call—so that you’ll be able to avoid frustrations as you share the viewing experience with the important people in your life.
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