Amazon Prime Video's Watch Party launches in beta

Mike Wheatley

Amazon Prime Video has announced the U.K launch of its Watch Party feature that was previously limited to viewers in the U.S.


Watch Party is available now in beta, and it’s a timely addition as the U.K. enters its second lockdown, with all parts of the country now under tight restrictions that prevent them from socialising normally. With Watch Party, it’s possible for Amazon Prime account holders in the U.K to enjoy a number of top movies and shows with their friends, even if they can’t be together physically.

The feature makes it possible for up to 100 participants to watch the same programme in real-time. Users simply set up a Watch Party and then invite their friends and family members to watch the show with them, though we should note they can only include people who also reside in the U.K. The host then has the ability to start, stop or pause a show for all of the viewers at once, so they can watch it together in sync, while taking advantage of the built-in chat feature to discuss the show as it progresses.

Amazon said the feature isn’t available with rented or purchased content, but users can set up a Watch Party for new any movies and shows on the service that display the Prime logo, which is about as close to a real-life cinema experience as anyone is going to get anytime soon. There are also plenty of older films and shows to choose from.

For now though the feature is quite limited, as it’s only available on the desktop/browser platform, and neither Internet Explorer or Safari are currently supported. That means Smart TV, set-top box and console users are currently excluded from taking part, but because this is still just a beta launch, we imagine Amazon will fix this in the near future once it updates the Amazon Prime Video app on those devices.

It’s dead easy to set up a Watch Party, so the most difficult thing will probably be deciding who gets to act as the host. Once that’s decided, all the host has to do is click on the Watch Party icon for whatever film or show you decide to watch, then click “Create Watch Party” to generate a link that they can share with their fellow viewers.

Of course, Amazon isn’t alone in offering this kind of feature. The BBC actually came up with the idea first with the launch of its BBC Together feature in May, and Disney+ followed up with its GroupWatch feature that was launched last month.