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Virtual theatre to beat isolation blues

14 Apr 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed people and entire cities into seclusion and already changed the course of humanity as a whole. 

This time however, forces like social media and technology are making it a little easier for people to bear with the social isolation. 

Netflix Party is a newly released Google extension for Netflix that allows friends and family to watch Netflix movies and shows together without being in the same room. The extension comes at a perfect time as governments around the world  strictly enforce quarantine procedures in an effort to stem the spread of the virus, causing people to look for more ways to stay connected. 

The user-friendly extension requires all joining parties to have an active Netflix account, and a Google Chrome browser where they can install the Netflix Party extension.  

Once installed, the user can then open Netflix and choose something to watch. After that, users must click on the red ‘NP’ icon that is located next to the address bar, select ‘Start the Party’, then share the party URL with everyone that they want to invite to the group. Group members can now watch together, and chat throughout the movie via a chatroom that appears on the right side of the screen. 

Omani citizen Majda al Lamki shared her excitement over the feature and said that it is important for people to stay in contact with each other and find ways to interact with one another during this quarantine period. 

“With Netflix Party, we really feel like we are watching movies and TV shows together, and it is really smart of them to come up with something like this at a time when we need it the most,” she said. 

Others like PDO’s contracts and procurement analyst Zayzafooun al Maawali believe that the outbreak is eliciting the need for new communication methods that are being met by advancements like this. 

“The coronavirus outbreak is forcing a new type of communication in the sense that no physical interaction occurs, yet our activities are synced together and the Chrome Netflix extension enables that,” she told Muscat Daily. 

(Contributed by Liyana al Abdulsalam) 

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