Pre-pandemic setting up an online movie viewing party was a bit tedious. It was easy to fall out of sync and any conversation could create unwanted audio feedback. Since the pandemic began, we’ve seen attempts by Twitch and Hulu to fix that with more official watch party options. But there’s still room for improvement, so today, Movies Anywhere is unveiling its new “Watch Together” feature.
Watch Together offers synced co-viewing across the Movies Anywhere mobile, web and smart TV apps. Up to nine viewers (with profile ratings set to PG-13 or higher) can join a shared room and chat via text in real-time while they watch a film.
The Movies Anywhere app is free, but all Watch Together viewers must either purchase the movie or receive a Screen Pass for that title. Screen Pass, which is still in open beta, lets users share select movies they’ve purchased with friends and family for limited-time viewing.
Watch Together offers a few advantages over other watch party options. Hulu, for instance, only lets viewers join its watch parties from the web app, and everyone has to be a No Ads subscriber. Watch Together is available on mobile, web and many smart TVs. While it’s not exactly free, if you combine it with Screen Pass, only one person has to pay for the movie, so it’s one of the more affordable options. Twitch also requires its watch party viewers subscribe to Amazon Prime. Overall, official support for shared viewing is still extremely rare. Netflix hasn’t had official support since its features disappeared from Xbox 360.
To start a Watch Together viewing, search for the title you’d like to watch in Movies Anywhere. From the details page, select the Watch Together button and the “I want to host” button. You’ll then get a 6-character room code and URL to share with your guests.