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Movies Anywhere now lets you watch with distant friends
- Movies Anywhere has introduced a remote movie sharing feature, Watch Together, for up to 10 people.
- You don’t need to buy a copy of the movie if the host has Screen Pass.
- The feature works on mobile, smart TVs, and the web.
The pandemic is probably preventing you from joining friends to watch movies in person, but Movies Anywhere might have a reasonable alternative.
The movie locker service has introduced a Watch Together feature that lets you and up to nine other people watch a purchased movie in sync on mobile, smart TVs, and the web. You just have to send room codes to those who want to tune in. While you can’t chat through the app, you can send emoji reactions or ask the host to pause, rewind or fast-forward.
You won’t necessarily need a copy of the movie, either. Any host who’s part of the Screen Pass beta can send up to three passes to guests to save them from buying the title or redeeming a code. You will need a PG-13 or higher profile to start watching, so younger kids can’t start viewing parties on their own.
There aren’t many restrictions at this stage beyond the inherent limitations of the US-only service and the Screen Pass beta. You can’t watch bonus features attached to a given movie, but any title that works with Movies Anywhere is eligible.
See also: The best movie apps for Android
To some extent, Watch Together is the product of necessity. With many movie theaters still closed due to COVID-19, this is one of the only ways you can legally watch purchased movies (including ones that skipped theaters altogether) with people outside your household for a long while. This could also help studios drive movie sales at a time when ticket sales are plunging — you may be more likely to buy a movie if you know friends can share the experience.
It’s still an important addition even with that pragmatism in mind. This is a rare opportunity for shared movie viewing across multiple services and platforms. A friend who bought the movie through iTunes can keep up on an iPad while you host from your Android TV box. It’s just a question of whether or not enough people in your would-be audience are willing to pay.