Hulu tests Watch Party social viewing feature

Hulu Watch Party is currently only available for subscribers to Hulu (No Ads). (Hulu)

Hulu has begun testing Watch Party, its first social feature that will allow viewers to virtually watch Hulu with other subscribers.

The company is currently testing this feature on for its Hulu (No Ads) subscribers. The feature is also compatible with PCs and Macs on Hulu compatible browsers, no plug-in or extension needed.

Users who have access to the test can launch the experience through the “Watch Party” icon found on the Details pages of shows and movies from Hulu’s on-demand streaming library. They will then be given a link to invite their family and friends (up to eight people total) to join.

Hulu said members of the group must also subscribe to the Hulu (No Ads) plan and that users must be 18 years or older to either start or join a Watch Party.

While watching, viewers can use the chat function and control their own playback without impacting others in the group. There’s also a “Click to catch up” button in the chat window for users who fall behind.

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Hulu is not the first streaming service to dabble in social features. Earlier this year, Netflix Party launched as a way for users to watch together using a Google Chrome plug-in. Earlier this month, HBO joined Scener, an online video chat tool that allows users to log into different streaming services and watch together.

Last year, Philo, a live streaming TV service, said that it was internally testing a co-viewing feature for live and on-demand content. In 2018, Plex, a multimedia platform, launched a VR viewing feature that allows users watch in a virtual drive-in movie theater and allows them to co-watch in real-time with up to four Plex users, as well as to talk with them via voice chat.