BBC launches tool for joint lockdown viewing

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The cast of Killing Eve
Image caption,
BBC Together allows you to watch shows like Killing Eve with anyone

If you've been wishing you could enjoy a TV or radio show with friends during lockdown, the BBC is trialling a tool to allow just that.

BBC Together lets you watch or listen to content from BBC iPlayer, Sounds, Bitesize, News and Sport in sync with other people using different devices.

It is available through the BBC's experimental website Taster.

BBC R&D's Dr Libby Miller said being separate "doesn't mean we can't enjoy great programmes with our friends".

She added: "We wanted to see if technology could bring people together to watch and listen to BBC shows remotely as a shared experience."

The "host" of the group can send a link from the BBC Together site, then control when to play and pause so everyone sees the same thing at the same time. A maximum number of 50 people can join.

Image source, Netflix
Image caption,
Netflix shows such as The Big Flower Fight can be watched jointly on the unofficial Netflix Party

The BBC said the coronavirus lockdown had led to a surge in use of the iPlayer.

Netflix Party, a Google Chrome extension that offers a similar but unofficial service for Netflix, also allows people to synchronise their viewing.

For YouTube, Vimeo and other content, there's Watch2Gether, while Kast supports all the major streaming services.

Dr Miller stressed that BBC Together was "just a test at this stage".

"We'll be monitoring how well it works and thinking about how we could change it in the future, but we're looking forward to seeing and hearing about the creative ways that people use it and getting their feedback on Taster," she said.

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