Social distancing has been a challenge, especially for relationships, but at least Disney+’s new GroupWatch feature can make movie night easier.
From classic animated features like Peter Pan and The Jungle Book to computer-generated comedies like the Toy Story franchise to family-friendly live-action fare like the new Mulan, Disney has always believed in the power of its films to bring audiences together. Now, the media giant is doubling down on this concept with the launch of GroupWatch on its Disney+ streaming service.
In our current age of social distancing, self-quarantining and screen-enhanced socialization, Disney is connecting viewers like never before with the new GroupWatch streaming feature, which allows up to seven people to watch a title together with synced playback across multiple devices. Linked users can also share their reactions in real time with emojis that are displayed in the bottom corner of the screen.
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Disney+ isn’t the first streaming service to offer a party watch option — Amazon Prime Video Watch Party and the Netflix Party Google Chrome extension both serve similar functions — but GroupWatch is sure to come as a boon to those looking to stay connected in a time of increased physical separation. While the applications are endless — catching up on the classics with your grandma in another state, binge-watching a new series with a friend overseas or hosting your own socially distanced movie night — there is one demographic who stands to benefit the most from this new feature: those in long-distance relationships.
Whether brought on by work, college, COVID-19 or any other number of circumstances, long-distance relationships are notoriously difficult — especially when it comes to enjoying the small pleasures of dating, like movie nights or sharing a new series together. Inevitably, one person ends up further ahead in a film or series, inadvertently dropping spoilers and generally creating a frustrating viewing experience. Now, however, you can curb your partner’s urge to plow forward without you with playback buttons that control the entire viewing party. Need to stop for a popcorn refill or potty break? Hit that pause button and your partner will automatically be stopped at the same point. Missed an important point of dialogue? Press rewind and you can both hear it again.
If there’s one benefit to watching movies alone, it’s the pleasure of enjoying a film in complete silence — no questions, no off-topic comments and (thank God) no armchair critics telling you what they think will happen next. With Disney+ GroupWatch, however, you get the best of both worlds. A set of six emojis allows you and your partner to react to scenes without distracting one another. Unobtrusively displayed in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen, the emojis are a fun way of interacting with one another and sharing the excitement without taking away from the action. Heck, you may even want to fire off an occasional heart-face emoji just to let your significant other know you’re thinking about them when, say, Leia first professes her love to Han. (He knows.)
With the holiday season fast approaching and Disney+ set to release a stacked lineup of all-new content in late 2020, including a new season of The Mandalorian and the premiere of WandaVision, GroupWatch couldn’t have dropped at a more opportune time. Now that movie night has gone remote and couples can once again enjoy their favorite Disney offerings no matter the physical distance, only one question remains: What are we watching next?
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