Who needs an algorithm when you can just lean on your friends? That’s the idea behind a new social-oriented Plex feature that lets you see what movies and TV shows your friends are streaming, liking, and adding to their Plex queues.
After a year in beta, Plex’s Discover Together feature is finally available to all users (previously, you had to be a paid Plex Pass subscriber to try Discover Together).
Once you’ve added some Plex friends, you can browse their profiles to see their watch histories, the titles on their watch lists, and their ratings of recently watched TV shows and movies.
Plex’s Discover Together feature lives alongside Plex’s Discover tab, a universal directory and search tool for a wide range of streaming services, including Netflix, Max, Disney+, Apple TV+, and the other big streamers, as well as Plex’s own catalog of ad-supported videos.
A few key aspects of Plex’s Discover Together feature are worth noting. First of all, your Plex profile doesn’t automatically pull in your queues, watch histories, and ratings from other streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
Instead, your profile reflects your activity on Plex’s Discover service, where you can add TV shows and movies (including those from third-party streamers, or even movies that are still in theaters) to your Plex watch list, manually mark a title as “watched,” or rate a title. In other words, your Plex profile won’t instantly be populated with every Netflix video you’ve ever watched, unless you previously marked them as “watched” on Plex’s Discover tab.
On the other hand, your watch history, queue activity, and ratings for titles in Plex’s on-demand library will appear automatically in your Plex profile, while videos on personal Plex servers will show up on your Plex profile if you’ve enabled the Sync My Watch State and Ratings setting in your Plex account. (You still won’t be able to stream a title on someone else’s personal Plex server unless that user grants you access to their library.)
In terms of privacry, you’ll be able to designate exactly who can see your watch history, your ratings, and your watch list. Privacy settings include “friends of friends,” “friends only,” and “private.” You can also control who can find your Plex profile name via search.
Plex’s Discover Together service strikes me as a clever alternative to the algorithm-powered suggestions you typically see on Netflix and other streaming services. After all, isn’t it better to get a streaming recommendation from a pal than from an algorithm?
Then again, I’m not sure how I’d feel about my Netflix streaming activity being automatically shared with all my friends, which is why I like how the activity feeds on Plex Discover Together are (mostly) all manual.
Once just a tool for users who wanted to run and manage their own home media servers, Plex has branched out as more of an all-purpose streaming service in recent years, adding its own library of free, ad-supported videos and linear streaming titles, as well as a “watch together” feature.
Last year, Plex rolled out universal search for all the big streaming services, along with the aforementioned Discover tab, which lets you see new and trending titles.