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Disney Plus’ GroupWatch offers a virtual night in with friends and family

The Disney Plus video streaming service has introduced a new feature in GroupWatch, a new co-viewing experience that allows friends and family to watch the Disney+ library even when apart.

Subscribers in the US  already have access to the GroupWatch and its now made its way over to the UK just in time for season 2 of The Mandalorian.

Related: Disney Plus UK review

GroupWatch allows for up to seven people to watch content on Disney+ together in what Disney refers to as a synced playback experience that’s available across web, mobile, streaming devices and Smart TVs, with the ability to share reactions to other people in the group in real time.

It’s not too dissimilar to Prime Video’s Watch Party (US only at the moment), but the number of people in a party is far less than in the Amazon version, which can host up to 100 people (quite frankly we don’t have that many friends).

Those with Disney Plus accounts can start GroupWatch by locating the icon on the Details page of a series or film, and then the user can send a link to invite up to six other people. They will need to have Disney+ subscription to take part, however.

Screenshot of a scene from Star WarsA black smartphone standing on white background, displaying GroupWatch feature under Star Wars The Mandalorian

Invitations can only be sent through the mobile app or web browser, but once down can sit down with friends and family to watch via a streaming player or Smart TV. Unlike Watch Party, GroupWatch allows each viewer the ability to pause the stream, rewind or fast-forward for the whole group. We can imagine a bit of chaos with that feature.

Viewers can also react to what’s happening on their screen in real time with six different emojis such as ‘like’ ‘funny’, ‘angry’, ‘sad’, ‘surprised’ or ‘scared’ in the Disney+ app.

Jerrell Jimerson, SVP, Product, Disney+. said: “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 favourite Disney+ stories with your favourite people from the comfort of your living room.”

Disney Plus is available on a range of TVs and devices and costs £5.99/month.

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