Hot off the heels of extensions like Netflix Party and Scener, which quickly became popular due to the pandemic, Disney+ is adding the ability to watch movies and TV shows through their subscription service with friends. With GroupWatch, up to seven people can watch anything from the vast and growing Disney+ library in real time with one another across the web, mobile devices, connected TV devices like Chromecast and smart TVs. There is currently no official news on GroupWatch being used with Google’s new Chromecast with Google TV built-in, but we’re willing to bet this will work out of the box.
“Storytelling comes alive when you’re able to share and enjoy it with others, and in this moment when many are still apart from their friends and family, GroupWatch offers a way to safely connect virtually by co-viewing your favorite Disney+ stories with your favorite people from the comfort of your living room,” said Jerrell B Jimerson, SVP Product Management for Disney+.Disney’s Blog
The GroupWatch button will simply be an icon that looks like three people to the right of the download button on a TV show or movie listing. Once you click it, you’ll be able to invite six other people, but you must do so from mobile or the web. There’s currently no way to initiate invites via TV interfaces.
With what’s called ‘synchronized playback’, anyone in the group can pause, fast forward or even rewind the video and that action will immediately happen for everyone else watching too. There are also reaction emoji that can be fired off at any given time. Instead of talking over the video, you’ll be able to show your friends and family how a scene made you feel as soon as it happens. Being that all I do is talk during movies, I’m sure my friends will appreciate this feature.
GroupWatch is already available to use everywhere except Europe where it will be available within the next two months. My personal recommendation for GroupWatch is an amazing movie called Togo, which is tells the story of a sled dog in 1925 which must deliver a serum to sick children by crossing harsh, frozen conditions. It’s based on a movie I grew up with called Balto, but there’s a twist!