Up to seven people can join a session at a time, but everyone in the group must be a Disney+ subscriber.
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After a few weeks of testing in Canada and other territories, Disney+ is officially launching its GroupWatch feature in the U.S. today, making the Disney-owned streaming service the latest to join the watch party craze.Up to seven people can join a Disney+ watch party, with the feature supported across all Disney+ platforms, including iOS, Android, and web browsers, as well as streaming players and smart TVs with the Disney+ app.GroupWatch will be available for the entire Disney+ library, but all members of the watch party must be Disney+ subscribers. Disney+ costs $6.99 a month.To launch a GroupWatch, you just tap or click the GroupWatch icon on the Details page for a Disney+ movie or TV show. GroupWatch invitations can only â€śoriginateâ€ť from a web browser or a phone, but once the invitations have been sent, you can watch from any streaming device or a smart TV.Each member of a Disney+ GroupWatch can pause, play, rewind, or fast forward the video, but interacting with co-watching friends is limited to just six emoji: â€śLike,â€ť â€śFunny,â€ť â€śSad,â€ť â€śAngry,â€ť â€śScared,â€ť and â€śSurprised.â€ť Disney+
Members of a Disney+ GroupWatch session can pause, play, rewind, and fast-forward the video, and they can also interact with emojis.
Disney+ started testing GroupWatch in Canada on September 10, then expanded the test to Australia and New Zealand about a week later. For now, the official GroupWatch launch is only happening in the U.S., although Disney+ says it will bring the feature to Europe later this fall.With GroupWatch, Disney+ joins such streaming services as Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Plex, Movies Anywhere, and Sling TV to roll out a watch party mode. Netflix is a notable watch party holdout, although there are plenty of third-party co-watching solutions that fill the void.Sling TV, which launched its watch party mode just last week, stands apart from the pack by allowing co-watching friends to interact via picture-in-picture video chat, although it only allows four people in a watch party at a time. Amazon Prime Video and Hulu offer both text chat and emotes but no video chat, while Plex doesnâ€™t support any interaction at all.
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Ben has been writing about technology and consumer electronics for more than 20 years. A PCWorld contributor since 2014, Ben joined TechHive in 2019, where he covers smart home and home entertainment products.