Amazon is finally catching up with the online co-watching phenomenon, with a new built-in feature called Watch Party, which allows you to sync playback with your nearest and dearest.
Watch Party requires an Amazon Prime subscription – unsurprisingly – meaning you’ll only be able to use it with other Prime subscribers. For those who have it, though, it opens up a far more social way to watch Amazon Prime movies and Amazon Prime TV shows at home in social isolation.
One viewer has to act as ‘host’, controlling the playback for the others. There is a built-in chat function, too, enabling you to communicate throughout with both text and emojis (the most important part of any film critique).
- Check out the best Amazon Prime TV shows
- Or the best Amazon Prime movies
- Disney Plus vs Netflix: who will win?
Only titles included in a Prime subscription are compatible, though, meaning that any films available to rent or buy aren't eligible for syncing – presumably to prevent one person buying a movie and then multiple people getting to watch it, but it does seem like a disappointing restriction.
Want to get started? Simply head to a title on Amazon Prime you want to start watching, and click on the ‘Watch Party’ button, which should be sat beside ‘Trailer’ and ‘Watchlist’ in the show description. It's currently rolling out to the US, with wider availability likely in the coming weeks.
The co-watching phenomenon has exploded in recent months, during lockdown measures that have kept friends and family from their usual social activities. One of the most popular is Netflix Party, a browser add-on to sync playback with onscreen chat while watching Netflix films.
The mobile app Rave, too, offers ways to synchronize on Amazon Prime Video and YouTube – with support for Hulu and Disney Plus to follow. Rave is limited in its platform support, only being available on iOS and Android, but it is expected to come to desktop in the near future. In the meantime, its potential to offer a universal syncing option for most major streaming services may be undermined by the likes of Amazon offering their own, built-in options.
- How to use Netflix Party to watch shows and films together online