Did you know that through the magic of technology, you can now Netflix and chill from couches located in different time zones? It’s true!
You can now stream movies with a special friend or a group using Zoom.
Two years ago, when the lockdowns threatened to isolate everyone and leave us without the social interactions most of us craved, Zoom was hailed as a godsend.
It has been proven to be one of the most reliable live networking platforms available, even though apps that featured group calls were already in place.
Zoom was different because a single paid account could host a video call for hours on end, uniting several free accounts. That made the entry cost of the application almost nothing.
It was easy to use, could be launched from a laptop or phone, and even bypassed certain restrictions in areas where similar apps were strictly monitored.
Soon enough, Zoom was the app of choice for meetings, classes, and friendly get-togethers.
In essence, it became the primary means of connecting with loved ones. There were Zoom birthday parties, drinking sessions, and yes, even movie nights.
How to Host a Movie Night on Zoom
Let’s take you through the process of hosting a movie night for your friend group or family.
Secure a Streaming Subscription
As mentioned before, only the host needs a streaming subscription to broadcast the movie of your choice. Otherwise, the meeting will automatically cut out after 40 minutes.
You can opt to have another person on the call with a subscription set up as an alternate host, just in case the main host’s connection cuts out. This move makes sure that the room stays intact, and you don’t have to go through the trouble of collecting everyone again in case of a room blowout.
Set a Date
Depending on your group, this could be more stressful and time-consuming than any other step on here.
Remember that you need to have everyone present before you start streaming to have the same experience, similar to everyone in the room together. Send out the invitation for the date well in advance, so people can adjust their schedules if needed.
As the host, you will have the usual hosting duties.
These duties include getting a confirmation from everyone who wants to attend, setting a firm start time, and making sure that everyone understands that they need to be there at least 10 minutes early so that any tech troubleshooting can be done before you begin.
Some people choose to get creative with this, and there is no reason to hold back.
You and your group can have fun choosing a theme, which could require a costume, food, drink, or maybe even those funny digital backgrounds that everyone can install, so at least you look like you’re all in the same place.
This goes with the whole concept of movie night and you have the freedom to make it as fun and theatrical as you want it to be.
After all, you’ll be in the privacy of your own home and you can do whatever your heart desires.
Set Up Your Tech
Open up Zoom and set up the room. To do this, click the “Start a Meeting” icon on the starting screen for Zoom. Once the meeting launches, you can get the invitation link and send it to all participants.
Alternatively, you can set the meeting ahead of time.
Setting up early is pretty convenient since a prescheduled meeting room can remain open while your participants file in. No need to wait for people to show up or for the host to open the room. Participants can also chat or talk to each other on video while waiting.
You can then queue in the movie (or movies) you’re planning to watch. If you choose to stream it, simply open your browser and set it up. You can also choose to load a movie you have on your local storage into your preferred media player.
Once everyone is set, share your screen with the group and play the movie.
Setbacks and Glitches
While Zoom has reunited a lot of people over the pandemic, the system is not without its drawbacks.
Depending on the Wi-Fi signal strength, the movie can appear stilted and delayed for some participants, and the image and sound quality aren’t always the best.
The good news is that as long as the host has the most stable internet connection, participants who drop out can always log back in by rejoining the room. Some settings may require the host to let them back in, though, instead of having them rejoin on their own accord.
However, if the host’s connection cuts out for some unfortunate reason, everyone will be dropped from the room. To resume movie night, everyone will have to wait for the host to re-establish the connection and set up the meeting room all over again.
If worse comes to worst and the host needs to leave or something is wrong with their machine or player, they can always transfer the host position to another person with a streaming account.
Expect that there will be some lag time and some minutes spent troubleshooting, but hey, welcome to the realities of a Zoom movie night.
Is Zoom Really Ideal?
Given that there are still hiccups involved with Zoom, is it really the ideal platform for movie nights?
We say yes, it is.
Aside from the fact that almost everyone with a smartphone has used Zoom at one time or another, Zoom’s affordability and ease of use tip the scales generously in its favor.
Other apps are more complicated and might form a barrier for some participants who might not have the technological capacity to use them.
There’s also the fact that some people are less willing to learn the more complex workings of other apps.
There may not be a lot of variance in the use of Zoom, but it is compatible with almost everything on the market.
This means all machines, from Android phones to Apple devices, and all operating systems can use the app. More possible users mean that it can easily be a “come as you are” for movie night!
Vance is a dad, former software engineer, and tech lover. Knowing how a computer works becomes handy when he builds Pointer Clicker. His quest is to make tech more accessible for non-techie users. When not working with his team, you can find him caring for his son and gaming.