Thursday, February 22, 2024
From the WireTechnology

Plex’s latest feature shows what your friends are streaming

Discover Together, Plex’s latest feature, brings a new level of social interaction to the streaming experience. Instead of relying on algorithms, this feature allows you to see what movies and TV shows your friends are streaming, liking, and adding to their Plex queues. After a year in beta, Discover Together is now available to all users, giving everyone the chance to browse their friends’ profiles and get recommendations based on their watch histories and ratings. By tapping into the power of personal connections, Plex is offering an alternative to the typical algorithm-powered suggestions found on other streaming platforms. With privacy settings that give you control over who can see your activity, Discover Together is creating a more social and customizable streaming experience for all.

Plex’s latest feature shows what your friends are streaming


Summary of Plex’s latest feature

Plex has introduced a new social-oriented feature called Discover Together, which allows users to see what movies and TV shows their friends are streaming, liking, and adding to their Plex queues. This feature was previously available to paid Plex Pass subscribers but is now open to all users. With Discover Together, users can browse their friends’ profiles, view their watch histories, check their watch lists, and see their ratings of recently watched content. This feature coexists with Plex’s Discover tab, which serves as a universal directory and search tool for various streaming services, including Plex’s own catalog of ad-supported videos.


The idea behind Plex’s social-oriented feature

The concept behind Plex’s Discover Together feature is to provide users with recommendations and insights from their friends instead of relying solely on algorithms. By allowing users to see what their friends are watching and enjoying, Plex aims to create a more personalized and social streaming experience. Users can gain inspiration and discover new content by exploring their friends’ profiles and engaging with their recommendations.

Availability of Discover Together feature

After a year in beta testing, Plex’s Discover Together feature is now available to all users. Previously, only paid Plex Pass subscribers had access to this feature. Now, anyone can enjoy the benefits of Discover Together and connect with their friends to enhance their streaming experience.

Browsing Friend Profiles

Ability to browse friend profiles

Discover Together enables users to browse the profiles of their Plex friends. This feature allows users to get an overview of their friends’ streaming activity, including their watch histories, watch lists, and ratings.

Viewing watch histories and watch lists

When exploring a friend’s profile, users can see the titles their friend has recently watched. This feature provides insight into the content their friends are currently enjoying and might inspire users to watch those titles as well. Additionally, users can view their friends’ watch lists, which can serve as a curated collection of recommendations.

Checking ratings of TV shows and movies

Discover Together also allows users to check the ratings that their friends have given to TV shows and movies. This feature can help users gauge the quality and popularity of a title based on their friends’ opinions. Users can rely on the ratings from their trusted friends to make informed decisions about what to watch next.

Discover Together Feature

Coexistence with Plex’s Discover tab

Discover Together seamlessly coexists with Plex’s Discover tab, which serves as a universal directory and search tool for streaming services. Users can access Discover Together alongside the Discover tab, providing them with a comprehensive streaming experience that includes recommendations from both their friends and a wide range of streaming platforms.

Directory and search tool for streaming services

Plex’s Discover tab enables users to search for and discover content across multiple streaming services, including popular platforms like Netflix, Disney+, and Apple TV+. Additionally, users can leverage the Discover tab to explore Plex’s own catalog of ad-supported videos. This feature aggregates content from various sources, allowing users to find and access their favorite shows and movies conveniently.

Inclusion of Plex’s own ad-supported videos

As part of the Discover tab, Plex includes its own library of ad-supported videos. Users can explore this catalog and enjoy a range of content without the need for a subscription. This inclusion expands the streaming options available to users and enhances the value of the Plex platform.

Key Aspects of Discover Together

Representation of activity on Plex’s Discover service

Plex’s Discover Together feature primarily focuses on the activity within Plex’s own Discover service. The profiles of users reflect their engagement and interaction with content available through Plex’s Discover tab. This ensures that the Discover Together feature provides a curated experience tailored to Plex users’ preferences.

Exclusion of other streaming services’ activity by default

By default, Discover Together does not display the watch histories, watch lists, or ratings from other streaming services, such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video. To populate their Plex profiles with activity from other streaming platforms, users must manually mark titles as “watched” or rate them on Plex’s Discover tab. This approach ensures that the Discover Together feature remains centered on the Plex ecosystem and the interactions among Plex users.

Automated inclusion of Plex’s on-demand library

Discover Together automatically includes users’ watch history, queue activity, and ratings for titles available in Plex’s on-demand library. This integration enables users to showcase their preferences and activity to their friends, providing them with valuable insights and potential recommendations.

Visibility of personal Plex server videos

If users have enabled the “Sync My Watch State and Ratings” setting in their Plex accounts, the videos available on their personal Plex servers will be visible on their Plex profiles. However, access to these videos is still restricted and requires the server owner’s permission. This feature allows users to share content from their personal collections with their friends while maintaining control over access.

Privacy Settings

Control over who can see watch history and ratings

Plex provides users with granular control over the visibility of their watch history, ratings, and watch lists through the privacy settings of the Discover Together feature. Users can choose to share this information with “friends of friends,” limit it to “friends only,” or keep it completely “private.” This flexibility ensures that users can customize their privacy preferences according to their comfort level.

Options for privacy settings

In addition to controlling the visibility of their watch history and ratings, users can also determine who can find their Plex profile name through search. This functionality allows users to manage the discoverability of their profiles based on their preferences. By adjusting the privacy settings, users can strike a balance between sharing their streaming activity with their friends and maintaining their desired level of privacy.

Ability to control Plex profile name visibility

Plex offers users the ability to control the visibility of their Plex profile name. This feature ensures that users can maintain the level of anonymity or personalization they desire when interacting with their friends and the broader Plex community.

Comparison to Algorithm Suggestions

Advantages of getting recommendations from friends

Discover Together presents a compelling alternative to algorithm-based recommendations commonly found on streaming services like Netflix. By leveraging the Discover Together feature, users can receive streaming recommendations from their friends whom they trust and share similar interests with. This personal touch adds a human element to the recommendation process and enhances the likelihood of discovering content that aligns with individual preferences.

Manual activity feeds on Plex Discover Together

Unlike the automatic sharing of streaming activity seen on some platforms, the activity feeds on Plex’s Discover Together are primarily manual. This means that users have control over which titles and interactions are visible to their friends. The manual nature of the activity feeds ensures that users are intentional and deliberate about sharing their streaming activity, striking a balance between openness and privacy.

Plex’s Expansion

Transition from home media servers to streaming service

Plex initially gained popularity as a platform for users who wanted to run and manage their own home media servers. However, in recent years, Plex has evolved into an all-purpose streaming service, expanding its offerings beyond personal media collections. This transition has enabled Plex to cater to a broader audience and provide a more comprehensive streaming experience.

Addition of ad-supported videos and linear streaming titles

As part of its expansion, Plex has introduced its own library of free, ad-supported videos. By offering this content, Plex enriches its catalog and provides users with additional entertainment options without the need for a subscription. Furthermore, Plex has incorporated linear streaming titles, allowing users to enjoy a more traditional TV-like experience with scheduled programming.

Introduction of ‘watch together’ feature

Recognizing the importance of shared viewing experiences, Plex has introduced a “watch together” feature. This feature enables users to synchronize their streaming sessions with their friends remotely, creating a virtual movie night or TV show marathon. The “watch together” feature brings users closer together, even when physically apart, by fostering shared experiences and discussions around the content being watched.

Universal Search and Discover Tab

Plex’s implementation of universal search

Plex’s universal search feature allows users to search for content across a wide range of streaming services. With just a few clicks, users can find their favorite shows and movies on platforms such as Netflix, Disney+, and Apple TV+. This comprehensive search functionality saves users time and effort by eliminating the need to navigate through multiple apps or websites to find their desired content.

Purpose and functionality of the Discover tab

The Discover tab in Plex serves as a central hub for users to explore new and trending titles. It provides users with a directory and search tool for various streaming services, including Plex’s own catalog of ad-supported videos. The Discover tab aggregates content from different sources, allowing users to easily discover and access a vast array of shows and movies from within the Plex platform.


Summary of Plex’s evolution and features

Plex’s latest feature, Discover Together, revolutionizes the streaming experience by incorporating a social-oriented approach. Users can now explore their friends’ profiles, view their watch histories, and check their ratings to discover new and interesting content. Discover Together complements Plex’s existing Discover tab, providing users with a comprehensive streaming ecosystem that includes recommendations from friends and a wide range of streaming services. Furthermore, Plex’s expansion from home media servers to a full-fledged streaming service, the addition of ad-supported videos and linear streaming titles, as well as the introduction of the “watch together” feature, showcases the platform’s commitment to providing a versatile and engaging streaming experience. With features like universal search and the Discover tab, Plex ensures that users can effortlessly search for and discover their favorite shows and movies across various platforms. Overall, Plex continues to innovate and evolve, offering users a personalized, social, and convenient streaming solution.