With social distancing rules in place all over the US, getting together physically with your friends for Hulu watch parties is out of the question. However, you can still watch Hulu with friends online and without any added cost using one of the 5 options detailed below.
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Gamers are likely familiar with Discord, but its quickly becoming a popular communication app for non-gamers as well. Available on the web or as an app for Windows, macOS, iOS and Android, the key to using Discord to watch Hulu with friends is the Go Live feature that Discord added not too long ago.
Discord uses a screen sharing to that’s integrated into its app, allowing you to broadcast your Hulu stream to up your friends. That means only one Hulu account is needed to get started sharing.
The Go Live feature allows you to share your screen with dozens of people in your voice channel. This feature originally had a 10-person limit, but Discord, in their wisdom and grace, upped the limit to 50 people in light of the coronavirus pandemic. That upped limit is probably temporary but should allow you to get the most out of Discord streaming.
To get started watching Hulu with friends online through Discord, do the following:
- Create a Discord account
- In the Discord interface, click on the plus button on the left to create a server
- Under your server listing, click the smaller plus button to create a voice channel (one might already exist or have been autogenerated when you created the server)
- Open Hulu in a separate window
- Click on the Go Live icon in the bottom left (it looks like a screen with an arrow)
- Select the window or screen you want to share
- Finally, next to your voice channel, click on the “Create Invite” button, and share the invite with your friends
From there, just make sure you have the Hulu window open and that you’re broadcasting the show you want to watch with your friends. You can chat alongside your friends using the Discord app while everyone watches together from your computer’s screen share.
If you’re looking for a completely uncluttered experience and don’t want to create an account, Metastream is your best option. While Discord’s Go Live feature uses screen share, Metastream is a syncing app. This means it syncs up each participant’s Hulu account to watch the same thing at the same time.
As such, the most important thing to know before you use this service is that everyone you watch with needs their own Hulu account, or access to one that allows for simultaneous streaming. Thankfully, you and your friends can easily snag an account through the Disney+/Hulu/ESPN+ bundle, through Hulu + Live TV, or cheaply as a standalone service. Free trials abound, too, so it’s easy to sign up get the watch party started for free.
The biggest drawback to using Metastream, especially compared to Discord, is that your viewers will need to use a desktop or laptop computer with Firefox or Google Chrome. We tried connecting via a mobile phone, and it’s just not a viable option.
That said, since you don’t need to create an account and everyone can easily connect to the session, Discord is a strong #2 contender on our list for watching Hulu with friends. Even better, because you’re syncing accounts and not screen sharing, there’s no specific limit to how many people can join your session.
To get started using Metastream to watch Hulu with friends, do the following:
- Log in to Hulu in a separate window
- Go to getmetastream.com
- In the welcome screen, create a display name
- Click on “Get Started”
- Select “Start Session”
- Click on “Add Media”
- Select Hulu from the list of options
- Find the show you want to watch, then click play
- Select “Add to Session”
- Finally, click on “Invite” to send your friends the link to your session
You can chat with your friends right from the window. You can also set your session to public or private and set a limit to the number of attendees.
Zoom has seen its fortunes change dramatically in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Prior to this, it struggled to get off the ground, but its stock price more than doubled as millions of people were forced to start working from home. Beneficially, Zoom is not only free to use but also has a screen share feature that you can use to watch Hulu with up to 100 people at no cost.
Zoom takes a bit more time to set up than Metastream, but it’s not too unlike the experience you’ll have with Discord. Just note that because Zoom is a business software at its core, it’s (unsurprisingly) designed to look and feel just like business software. But since it’s a screen sharing tool, like Discord, only the host needs to have a Hulu account.
To get started using Zoom to watch Hulu with friends, do the following:
- Go to the Zoom website and create your account
- Download the zoom application
- Sign in to the app, then click on “New Meeting”
- Click on “Share Screen”
- Select the screen you want to share (likely your web browser)
- Finally, go to “Invite” and invite all of your friends using the method you choose
While your friends won’t need Hulu, they will need to download Zoom. There are text chat features built into Zoom, but you can also audio chat with your friends and treat it like a Mystery Science Theater 3000 party. The video quality might also be less than ideal, and you may experience some notable buffering issues.
Kast (formerly rabb.it) was one of the first apps offering a remote watching function. You’ll find this service is somewhat similar in nature to Discord but built around screen sharing. You’ll need to download the Kast app to get it to work, and you may find it’s somewhat wonky on Mac computers.
We also found Kast seemed to be a bit of a resource hog, so it may slow down your computer a bit, which shouldn’t be too much of a problem if you have a fast computer or close other apps and windows while you host.
As with Discord, the benefit of Kast is that it doesn’t require your friends to have a Hulu account (just you, or whoever is hosting). Unlike Discord, you can easily watch and chat in the same window. Kast also has a 100 spectator limit, making it a great option for those with a large number of friends.
To get started watching Hulu with friends on Kast, do the following:
- Download the Kast app
- Create an account and log in
- Click “Create Party” on the right
- Under “My Parties” click “Join Party” on the party you just created
- Click on the camera symbol on the bottom
- Choose a screen to share
- Load your Hulu account and play the video you want
Don’t forget to allow the mic, as well, as this is required for audio pickup in the screen share (much like with Zoom). Make sure to click on the orange “Invite Friends” button on the right to grab the invite link to send to your friends.
Your friends may need to download the software, but there’s also a web app version that may allow them to watch from a web browser without downloading the app.
Watch2gether bottoms out our list simply because it’s not the best option for those who want to watch Hulu with friends. There’s no integrated functionality with it to watch Hulu. That said, it’s possible to do so, you’ll just need to go around the built-in system using a few tricks you can find on the Watch2gether community forum.
As we’re not recommending this option highly, check out the community forum post on Watch2gether’s site to learn more about using it to watch Hulu or other streaming services. To note, this method is a sync option in a similar vein to Metastream, so everyone will need a Hulu account to get it working.
Other Great Services
Don’t have a Hulu account yet? Consider signing up for Hulu + Live TV. Not only does Hulu + Live TV give you over 60 live TV channels without a cable subscription, but you also get the entire Hulu on-demand library with your package.
For low-cost sports, take a glance at ESPN+. The service is just $4.99 per month and offers live and on-demand sports streaming from several major US and international sports leagues. It also has exclusive access to many UFC events and can be screencast using Zoom or Discord.
There’s also a chance you may want to host a viewing party with Disney+, especially if you’re into nostalgic Disney content or Disney’s must-see originals. The service costs just $6.99 per month and offers up to 4 simultaneous streams per account.