Plex adds Watch Together feature so distant friends can share movies

Home entertainment software Plex has revealed a new feature called Watch Together that will enable friends and family to remotely watch the same content at the same time. Remote watch parties have skyrocketed in popularity in light of the lockdowns, which have resulted in movie theater closures and social distancing. The feature comes amid third-party solutions that, in some cases, offer a less than stellar experience.

Watch Together is, as its name suggests, a new feature that enables multiple Plex users to watch the same content at the same time. Similar functionality is offered by third-party browser plugins and other software, but by integrating the feature, it is easier to use, better supported, and accessible on TVs in addition to mobile.

The Plex team explains that they have been working on the Watch Together feature for a while; it is available initially as a beta feature on Roku, Fire TV, NVIDIA Shield, iOS, tvOS, and Android. The team plans to add Watch Together support on other platforms, including the web, at some point in the near future.

The Watch Together feature is available directly on the show page in Plex; it works with both your own content and the free streaming content that Plex offers on behalf of third-party services like Crackle. The host invites other users to participate; Plex handles the content syncing aspect of the watch party.

The movie will pause for everyone when one person pauses it — you will, however, have to use a third-party chatting app if you want to message or talk with your friends or family during the movie. As well, Plex notes that this is an experimental feature at this time, which means that it may be buggy and that there are still improvements to be made in the future.