Since a lot of us are still physically distancing right now, viewing parties between family members and friends who are apart have become popular. Netflix introduced a watch together feature previously and of course you can organize Watch Parties on Facebook. There are also some third-party solutions out there but most have been disappointingly lacking. Home entertainment software Plex is now introducing an experimental feature simply called Watch Together which will allow you to, well, watch together even when you’re not in the same place.
Plex tells the story of a dude who suggested that they develop a feature like this but in fact, they have been working on it for some time now. But it’s only now that they’re ready to set it free into the wild, with a warning that it’s still experimental and in beta. For now, it’s only available for Roku, Fire TV, NVIDIA Shield, iOS, tvOS, and Android but they’re working on making it available on the web and other platforms.
The Watch Together host can add other Plex users to the viewing party but if someone isn’t on it yet, you can invite them to sign up. The content syncing part will be care of Plex but anyone in your party can pause, play or seek around the movie or TV show episode that you’re watching. You will have to use a third-party app though to chat through text or video with your friends while watching since they haven’t figured out a built-in platform yet.
You can watch both the free streaming content that Plex offers through third-party services like Crackle, as well as your own content that you’ve uploaded on their servers. This means you can also watch together your own personal videos from vacations, parties, etc. To turn on the feature, just tap on the Watch Together button on the show page of whatever it is you want to watch together.
Since it’s still in the experimental stage, the Watch Together feature may be buggy and problematic. But they’re asking for user feedback so they can fix whatever needs fixing before releasing a stable version. As to when that will be is still unclear at this point.