Thursday, June 17
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Why Your Hulu Watch Party Might Still Have Ad Breaks – Lifehacker

Hulu’s Watch Party feature is now available to all subscribers. The feature originally debuted back in May for subscribers on Hulu’s premium ad-free plan, but is now a standard inclusion for all Hulu plans—including standalone, ad-supported subscriptions and for ad-free users and those with the Disney+/ESPN Now/Hulu bundle. Fill your party with people using different subscription types, though, and you’ll all suffer the same annoyances.

Hulu watch parties: The basics

While all Hulu on-demand users can now use Watch Party, the same basic restrictions still apply as when the co-watching feature launched earlier this year:

  • Watch party supports up to eight total users per session, and every participant needs their own active Hulu subscription to join.
  • Watch Party only works through Hulu’s website on desktop, laptop, or tablet. Smartphones, smart TVs, gaming consoles, and dedicated streaming devices are not yet supported.
  • Only select TV shows and movies can use Watch Party, though Hulu says there are “thousands” of supported titles.
  • Watch Party is disabled on on child accounts/profiles (must be 18 years old or older to use).

What happens when you invite different types of subscribers to your Hulu watch party

The service-wide roll out means the Watch Party viewing experience will differ based on a user’s Hulu subscription level. For example, if anyone in a watch party is on the ad-supported plan, the content will pause periodically for everyone while those users are shown ads. (Ad-free subscribers won’t see ads, just a paused video.) The only way to watch without ads or pausing is for everyone in your group to be ad-free members.

These restrictions roughly match similar co-watching features on Disney+, Movies Anywhere, or Messenger—though Hulu is one of the few to include an integrated group chat feature, allowing members of your group to message one another and post emoji reactions while you.

How to start a Watch Party on Hulu

Illustration for article titled Why Your Hulu Watch Party Might Still Have Ad Breaks

Screenshot: Brendan Hesse

  1. Open Hulu.com in your computer or tablet’s browser.
  2. Scroll through the library until you find something you want to watch. Watch Party-enabled content will have a new multi-user icon next to the “Start Watching” button on a program’s “Details” page (you can see it in the screenshot above).
  3. Click the Watch Party button.
  4. Select “Start the party” when prompted to open a virtual Watch Party room.
  5. Copy and paste the URL to your friends and have them open the link to join (they will need to sign into their Hulu account first if they’re not logged in on their browser).
  1. Once everyone’s in, press “Start Party” to watch.

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