After an early launch for testing in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, the GroupWatch feature on Disney+ is now available in the US. Thanks to the feature’s previous appearance, we had an idea of what to expect, but now the company is officially offering the details on the streaming tool. And yes, some of this was revealed during the early test phase. First, you can use GroupWatch to stream a movie or show with up to six of your friends or family. Of course, all of them need to have a Disney+ account in order for this to work. Apps across mobile, streaming devices and smart TVs — as well as accessing the service on the web — will all allow you to use the co-viewing feature.
To get started, you simply tap a GroupWatch icon next to the play button on the details page for any movie or show. From there, you select up to six people to join you and how you want to send the invite link. Options like messaging apps and email are probably what you’ll use the most, but you’ll see your phone’s familiar interface as if you had just tapped the share button it on a website or inside another app. While your sending the invite, Disney+ will ask if you want to move from your phone to a bigger screen. That’s because for now, all invite links have to originate and be accepted from the mobile app or the service’s website. As an invitee, you can move on to your television before the content starts, but the process has to begin for everyone at one of those two spots. Once everyone has joined, the host starts the stream.
Disney says playback will sync across all platforms for all users. The company explains that streams will automatically adjust if one person encounters a bandwidth issue so that everyone stays at the same spot. That’s particularly important if you want to use GroupWatch’s reactions feature. This tool allows you to send six different emojis — like, funny, sad, angry, scared and surprised — at any point during the stream. All reactions for the group will appear at the bottom left of the screen so they’re minimally distracting. And if you run out of popcorn along the way, anyone can pause the movie or show for a refill.
GroupWatch is available for all content on Disney+. The only time you might have an issue is with friends in other countries as international versions in different languages probably won’t sync. In fact, it’s not even an option to select the same movie or show in multiple languages for individual invitees. There’s also the fact that not everything is available in every region.
Disney says GroupWatch is live now inside Disney+ across all platforms. Sadly, subscribers in Europe will have to wait until sometime later this fall to try it.