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Host movie night remotely with Disney Plus' GroupWatch. Here's how

Can't have movie night with your friends or family in person? This feature makes it easy to watch together remotely.

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Disney Plus has a GroupWatch feature, so you can watch shows at the same time as your friends, wherever you are.
Angela Lang/CNET

Disney Plus' GroupWatch feature allows subscribers to watch shows and movies on the streaming service simultaneously with friends and family within the US. Up to seven people can sync their screens to watch together across web, mobile, connected TVs and smart TVs, and you can share emoji reactions in real time as you watch everything from classic Disney movies to the Book of Boba Fett.

GroupWatch is Disney Plus' version of Teleparty (formerly Netflix Party) and Amazon Prime Video Watch Party, which gained popularity during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike those offerings, GroupWatch works natively across any device -- no extension or app necessary. However, it lacks a chat feature. Instead, viewers can send emoji reactions to the group screen from the Disney Plus app. To voice specific feelings, you'll need to text or video chat with your friends as you watch along. However, Jerrell B. Jimerson, senior vice president of product management for Disney Plus, said at GroupWatch's launch that a chat option may arrive in the future.

Read more: Everything to know about Disney Plus, Disney's streaming app

GroupWatch is now available on the web and all other platforms.

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Anyone in your group can play, pause, fast forward or rewind as you watch together.

Disney Plus

How to set up Disney Plus GroupWatch

Here's how to use Disney Plus GroupWatch to watch all the Disney, Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar and National Geographic content you want at the same time as your friends and family, wherever you live. (One note: If the user has a Kids Profile, they won't be able to start or join a GroupWatch from that profile.)

1. Open the Disney Plus app or website and tap or click on the title you want to watch.

2. To the far right of the Play icon, you'll see an icon with three people figures. Tap or click it.

3. A link will pop up, allowing you to invite up to six other people to watch with you. You can send the link through text, email or any other option your device allows. (However, everyone you send the link to must have a Disney Plus subscription which costs $8 a month.)

4. Once everyone is added, any participant can tap Start Stream

5. Once the stream has started, any participant can hit pause, fast forward or rewind. 

Disney Plus doesn't have a chat function yet, but people can react in real time while watching with six different emoji: like, funny, sad, angry, scared and surprised. The emoji and the name of the person who sent it will pop up on the bottom of everyone's screens. 

GroupWatch launched in the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand in 2020, but Disney said the feature is only designed for groups in the same country to watch together. 

If you're looking for some GroupWatch inspiration, check out every show, movie and original now on Disney Plus, and our list of the 11 best TV shows and 30 best movies on the streaming service. 

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