After launching the Watch Party feature for US subscribers in the summer, Amazon Prime Video viewers in the UK now have the option available to them.
Launched in beta format as England enters its second lockdown and with all the other UK nations under some form of social restrictions, Watch Party allows UK Amazon Prime account holders to synchronise the viewing of a show or movie with up to 100 other participants.
Watch Party can be set up by any Prime subscriber who then invites friends and family to watch together. All the viewers in a session have to be UK based as there’s no option to sync up with viewers in another country.
Once set up, the host will be able to start, stop and pause a show for all viewers at once, allowing them to watch in sync. The social element of the experience is enhanced through the use of a built-in chat feature where viewers can post text and emojis.
The feature isn’t available with rented or purchased content but like-minded viewers can watch a brand new movie or TV show with the Prime logo (or that says ‘Watch Now with Amazon Prime’) as a first time shared experience, which is as close to a cinema experience as any of us are likely to get in the foreseeable future. Or viewers can go back over old favourites where the chat and emojis might be a welcome element.
Watch Party is currently limited to the desktop/browser platform, though Safari and Internet Explorer are not supported. While the experience is not currently available on smart TVs, streaming devices and consoles, Amazon would be missing a trick if it didn't include these devices in future updates.
The process is straight forward and probably the trickiest part is deciding who will actually act as host. Once you’ve drawn straws and decided on the content, click on the ‘Watch Party’ icon associated with the film or show and enter your name. Click ‘Create Watch Party’ to generate a link and then invite your partners-in-crime who will receive the link. The hosts can then initiate the viewing session and participants can watch and join in the chat.
Amazon’s rollout of the feature in the UK follows Disney Plus GroupWatch function and the BBC Together option launched in May, which is available on the BBC Taster website and allows up to 50 viewers to watch a show on BBC iPlayer, BBC Sounds, or any Bitesize, News or Sport content.
What do readers think of these shared viewing features? Is a great way to connect with people over a mutual experience or just a distraction that draws you out of the immersion? If anyone has used any of these available functions on Amazon, Disney or BBC, why not leave a comment in the discussion thread and let others know what it was like.
Source: Amazon, TechAdvisor
Image Source: Amazon Prime