Watch Party is the new feature for Amazon Prime Video subscribers to watch movies and TV series with friends or family. How it works
Stream TV series and movies together with over 100 friends. That's Watch Party, the new Amazon Prime Video feature announced Monday, June 29 in the United States. Prime subscribers will be able to get together in a chat room and watch their favorite show together.
While coronavirus and social distancing physically separate people, Amazon "brings them together" in a co-viewing experience. A virtual "party" with lots of chat to be able to comment live on the movie being watched and that can accommodate up to 100 participants, provided that both the host and his guests to the Watch Party have Prime Video subscription. The feature offers a large catalog between content included in the subscription and Amazon Originals productions and is currently being tested in the United States, but it could also arrive in Italy.
Watch Party, how it works and what you can watch
The new feature of Prime Video resets the distances by offering synchronized playback of its content. To get started, the guest who wants to share a movie or TV series will have to click on the appropriate icon that appears next to the chosen title and then share the generated link with their friends and family. The control of the viewing experience during the session is totally up to the guest, who will be able to start playing, pause or fast forward. Automatically, the actions will synchronize with the viewing of other users participating in the Watch Party.
In addition, Amazon has also thought of a chat to be able to interact with other participants in the session, which supports both text and emoji and stickers. A sort of cineforum in which users can comment on what they are watching, for maximum socialization even from a distance.
At the moment, Watch Party offers thousands of titles among the most popular Prime Video titles that are included with the subscription. These include Amazon Originals content, such as "Fleabag," "The Marvellous Mrs Maisel," "Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan," "The Boys," "Troop Zero" and "HANNA."
Watch Party, how much does it cost and where is it available
Let's talk about costs. Watch Party is free and included in the cost of the subscription, whether monthly or annual, of Amazon Prime Video. The feature is not supported on smart TVs, tablets and smartphones, but only on desktop computers and PCs. The link generated for shared viewing can be opened on major browsers, with the exception of Safari.
Watch Party is being launched gradually in the United States, and in order to access the "virtual cinema" it will be necessary that both the guest and the invitee are Prime Video users, and are residents of the US. A timetable for its release in other countries has not yet been defined, so to be able to take advantage of it in Italy will have to wait a little longer.
Streaming live with friends: how the idea was born
The idea of Watch Party was born well before the coronavirus, but the emergency dictated by the pandemic has accelerated its release. In fact, for a few years now, streaming platforms, including Netflix and Hulu, have been studying a feature for a shared viewing experience.
Just a few months ago, startup Scener launched a platform that allows users to watch Netflix content by syncing with friends and chatting to comment on videos, but it's not an official app released by the company. Another similar feature instead is offered by Hulu, but it limits co-viewing to only 8 participants.