On Tuesday, Disney Plus rolled out GroupWatch, a feature allowing subscribers to watch all shows and movies on the streaming service simultaneously with friends and family from afar, within the US. Up to seven people can sync their screens to watch together across web, mobile, connected TVs and smart TVs, and share emoji reactions in real time — just in time for the next month.
GroupWatch is Disney Plus’s version of Netflix Party and Amazon Prime Video Watch Party, which gained popularity during coronavirus quarantines. Unlike those offerings, GroupWatch works natively across any device, with no extension or app necessary. However, it currently lacks a chat feature — instead, viewers can send emoji reactions to the group screen from the Disney Plus app. But you can still text or video chat with your friends as you watch along together. And a chat option may arrive in the future, said Jerrell B. Jimerson, senior vice president of product management for Disney Plus.
“In this time when it’s hard to hang out with friends irrespective of what your age is, it’s a great way to connect and reconnect with friends and family,” Jimerson told CNET.
GroupWatch will roll out first on the web and on the other platforms later today.
How to set up Disney Plus GroupWatch
Here’s how to use Disney Plus GroupWatch to watch all the Disney, Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar and National Geographic you want at the same time as your friends and family, wherever you live. (One note: If the user has a Kids Profile, they will not be able to start or join a GroupWatch from that profile.)
- Open the Disney Plus app or website and tap or click on the title you want to watch.
- To the far right of the Play icon, you’ll see an icon with three people figures. Tap or click it.
- A link will pop up, allowing you to invite up to six other people to watch with you. You can send the link through text, email or any other option your device allows. (However, everyone you send the link to must have a ($6.99 a month), to watch along, and the free trial is not included).
- Once everyone is added, any participant can tap Start Stream.
- Once the stream has started, any participant can hit pause, fast forward or rewind. Everyone can also react in real time through the Disney Plus app with six different emojis: like, funny, sad, angry, scared and surprised. The emojis and the name of the person who sent them will pop up on the bottom of everyone’s screens.
GroupWatch launched earlier in September in Canada and New Zealand. It’s expected to arrive in Europe later this fall.