Media & Entertainment

Plex introduces a social experience to its streaming app with launch of ‘Discover Together’

Comment

Plex logo
Image Credits: Plex

Streaming media platform Plex, already an expansive service for personal media, free streaming TV and new content discovery, is venturing into a new area with today’s launch of a new feature, Discover Together. The friends-focused feature is laying the groundwork to develop Plex as not just a streaming hub, but a streaming community. Initially, this includes the ability to add friends and see what they’re watching, bookmarking and how they’re rating shows and movies.

Over time, Plex plans to leverage community engagement to help power its recommendations and, potentially, allow for streamers to engage in discussions around favorite content. This could help the service better compete with online TV communities like TV Time, which combines a TV show tracker with active discussions around shows, movies and individual episodes.

Image Credits: Plex

At launch, however, the Discover Together feature will remain fairly private. Plex users can fill out their profile on the app with information about their Plex Pass status, location and more, then add friends individually using their Plex email or username. There is no address book upload or contact matching feature built-in at this time. Users can also choose which parts of their in-app activity they want to make visible to friends. Items including their Watchlist, Watch History and Ratings can each be set to either Private or Friends Only depending on what parts of your Plex usage you want to share.

Even if you set all items to be visible to friends, you can still hide select activities on an individual basis from the Discover section’s Activity feed. Here, you’ll tap on the three-dot menu next to items you’ve watched, watchlisted or rated to hide them, if you choose. (So, for instance, if you don’t want your friends to know you’ve been binging your way through cheesy reality TV shows, you can remove those from being seen in their feeds, while keeping track of your episode viewing privately.)

Image Credits: Plex

After adding friends on the service, you’ll be able to scroll through the Activity feed to see what shows and movies they’ve been watching, saving and rating. Plex is considering a feature that would display your friends’ ratings on a show or movie’s title page, as well, alongside the Rotten Tomatoes ratings. But for the time being, the app will simply highlight if a friend has engaged with a title in an area below the “Add to Watchlist” button. You can click on that banner to see a curated stream of your friends’ activities with the show or movie in question.

Image Credits: Plex

From the Activity feed, you can communicate privately with friends through an in-app messaging feature available from a chat icon below their posts. This isn’t meant to be a fully featured messaging client but rather a way to send a quick text about the movie or show, which they can reply to. You can also share a title and a message directly with a friend or even a group of friends by clicking the Share icon on the title’s page in the app.

Image Credits: Plex

While in the past, Plex has launched its new features to all users in a more public format, it’s rolling out the beta test of Discover Together by announcing it in its forums and allowing users to opt-in. This way, Plex can ramp up the number of users for the feature more slowly, as each new user will need to invite their friends to the service to get started.

The feature is being beta tested on the web, iOS and Android. It follows a major update to the streaming media platform this April that delivered a number of new additions including a universal watchlist, cross-service search and new discovery features — including the new Discover section where the Discover Together feature is now housed.

Huge Plex update adds a universal watchlist, cross-service search and new discovery features

Plex believes the long-term potential for its community features will allow it to turn its app into a more social experience and a second-screen companion for TV viewing.

“One of the early goals … is to start sharing and getting recommendations from friends,” explains Plex co-founder and Chief Product Officer Scott Olechowski. “That’s how so many recommendations are made and shared in the real world and there’s just no concrete platform for doing that today. Our belief is that it should be integrated into the experience,” he continued.”It should just feel part of the fabric of the ecosystem.”

More TechCrunch

It’s a wrap: European Union lawmakers have given the final approval to set up the bloc’s flagship, risk-based regulations for artificial intelligence.

EU Council gives final nod to set up risk-based regulations for AI

London-based fintech Vitesse has closed a $93 million Series C round of funding led by investment giant KKR.

Vitesse, a payments and treasury management platform for insurers, raises $93M to fuel US expansion

Zen Educate, an online marketplace that connects schools with teachers, has raised $37 million in a Series B round of funding. The raise comes amid a growing teacher shortage crisis…

Zen Educate raises $37M and acquires Aquinas Education as it tries to address the teacher shortage

“When I heard the released demo, I was shocked, angered and in disbelief that Mr. Altman would pursue a voice that sounded so eerily similar to mine.”

Scarlett Johansson says that OpenAI approached her to use her voice

A new self-driving truck — manufactured by Volvo and loaded with autonomous vehicle tech developed by Aurora Innovation — could be on public highways as early as this summer.  The…

Aurora and Volvo unveil self-driving truck designed for a driverless future

The European venture capital firm raised its fourth fund as fund as climate tech “comes of age.”

ETF Partners raises €284M for climate startups that will be effective quickly — not 20 years down the road

Copilot, Microsoft’s brand of generative AI, will soon be far more deeply integrated into the Windows 11 experience.

Microsoft wants to make Windows an AI operating system, launches Copilot+ PCs

Hello and welcome back to TechCrunch Space. For those who haven’t heard, the first crewed launch of Boeing’s Starliner capsule has been pushed back yet again to no earlier than…

TechCrunch Space: Star(side)liner

When I attended Automate in Chicago a few weeks back, multiple people thanked me for TechCrunch’s semi-regular robotics job report. It’s always edifying to get that feedback in person. While…

These 81 robotics companies are hiring

The top vehicle safety regulator in the U.S. has launched a formal probe into an April crash involving the all-electric VinFast VF8 SUV that claimed the lives of a family…

VinFast crash that killed family of four now under federal investigation

When putting a video portal in a public park in the middle of New York City, some inappropriate behavior will likely occur. The Portal, the vision of Lithuanian artist and…

NYC-Dublin real-time video portal reopens with some fixes to prevent inappropriate behavior

Longtime New York-based seed investor, Contour Venture Partners, is making progress on its latest flagship fund after lowering its target. The firm closed on $42 million, raised from 64 backers,…

Contour Venture Partners, an early investor in Datadog and Movable Ink, lowers the target for its fifth fund

Meta’s Oversight Board has now extended its scope to include the company’s newest platform, Instagram Threads, and has begun hearing cases from Threads.

Meta’s Oversight Board takes its first Threads case

The company says it’s refocusing and prioritizing fewer initiatives that will have the biggest impact on customers and add value to the business.

SeekOut, a recruiting startup last valued at $1.2 billion, lays off 30% of its workforce

The U.K.’s self-proclaimed “world-leading” regulations for self-driving cars are now official, after the Automated Vehicles (AV) Act received royal assent — the final rubber stamp any legislation must go through…

UK’s autonomous vehicle legislation becomes law, paving the way for first driverless cars by 2026

ChatGPT, OpenAI’s text-generating AI chatbot, has taken the world by storm. What started as a tool to hyper-charge productivity through writing essays and code with short text prompts has evolved…

ChatGPT: Everything you need to know about the AI-powered chatbot

SoLo Funds CEO Travis Holoway: “Regulators seem driven by press releases when they should be motivated by true consumer protection and empowering equitable solutions.”

Fintech lender SoLo Funds is being sued again by the government over its lending practices

Hard tech startups generate a lot of buzz, but there’s a growing cohort of companies building digital tools squarely focused on making hard tech development faster, more efficient and —…

Rollup wants to be the hardware engineer’s workhorse

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is not just about groundbreaking innovations, insightful panels, and visionary speakers — it’s also about listening to YOU, the audience, and what you feel is top of…

Disrupt Audience Choice vote closes Friday

Google says the new SDK would help Google expand on its core mission of connecting the right audience to the right content at the right time.

Google is launching a new Android feature to drive users back into their installed apps

Jolla has taken the official wraps off the first version of its personal server-based AI assistant in the making. The reborn startup is building a privacy-focused AI device — aka…

Jolla debuts privacy-focused AI hardware

The ChatGPT mobile app’s net revenue first jumped 22% on the day of the GPT-4o launch and continued to grow in the following days.

ChatGPT’s mobile app revenue saw its biggest spike yet following GPT-4o launch

Dating app maker Bumble has acquired Geneva, an online platform built around forming real-world groups and clubs. The company said that the deal is designed to help it expand its…

Bumble buys community building app Geneva to expand further into friendships

CyberArk — one of the army of larger security companies founded out of Israel — is acquiring Venafi, a specialist in machine identity, for $1.54 billion. 

CyberArk snaps up Venafi for $1.54B to ramp up in machine-to-machine security

Founder-market fit is one of the most crucial factors in a startup’s success, and operators (someone involved in the day-to-day operations of a startup) turned founders have an almost unfair advantage…

OpenseedVC, which backs operators in Africa and Europe starting their companies, reaches first close of $10M fund

A Singapore High Court has effectively approved Pine Labs’ request to shift its operations to India.

Pine Labs gets Singapore court approval to shift base to India

The AI Safety Institute, a U.K. body that aims to assess and address risks in AI platforms, has said it will open a second location in San Francisco. 

UK opens office in San Francisco to tackle AI risk

Companies are always looking for an edge, and searching for ways to encourage their employees to innovate. One way to do that is by running an internal hackathon around a…

Why companies are turning to internal hackathons

Featured Article

I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Women in tech still face a shocking level of mistreatment at work. Melinda French Gates is one of the few working to change that.

2 days ago
I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s  broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Blue Origin has successfully completed its NS-25 mission, resuming crewed flights for the first time in nearly two years. The mission brought six tourist crew members to the edge of…

Blue Origin successfully launches its first crewed mission since 2022