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BBC Together lets you and your loved ones synchronise iPlayer binges during lockdown − for better or for worse

By reviews / 19. May 2020
BBC Together

The Beeb has just launched BBC Together, an experimental new feature that lets you binge Killing Eve, or Normal People, or whatever show you’re into on iPlayer in sync with the people youve been missing during lockdown. Heres how it works.

If youre hosting, step one is to pick a programme. As well as iPlayer, BBC Together works with content on BBC Sounds, Bitesize, News and Sport.

Step two is to choose the people youd like to watch along with. One youve completed step one, youll get a link that youll be able to share with the others. All they need to do to join is click it.

Related: 13 classic shows you need to watch on iPlayer while in lockdown

Once everyones ready, just hit play and, Wi-Fi permitting, you should all be watching along perfectly in sync. Its like live TV, only on demand.

On the one hand, its the perfect feature for this moment. Families and friends are missing each other deeply, and BBC Together gives them the ability to try to do something completely ordinary together.

But on the other, it isnt hard to imagine it ruining TV time for some.

BBC Together

BBC Together doesnt have its own chat function, but its clearly designed to be used alongside a video chatting app, like Zoom, Google Meet or WhatsApp. So as well as constant chattering, youll likely have to put up with having your attention split between two things, and possibly even two screens.

Everyone is also at the mercy of the host, who has the ability to pause, rewind or skip aheadfor everyone. Which means, if you need to nip to the loo at any point, you have to ask the host first.

And then, of course, BBC Together will only work as smoothly as the slowest Wi-Fi connection.

I do think there’s potential though.

Related: Zoom vs Google Meet

We wanted to see if technology could bring people together to watch and listen to BBC shows remotely as a shared experience, which weve done with BBC Together,” said Dr Libby Miller, the senior R&D producer at BBC R&D.

Its important to say that its just a test at this stageand well be monitoring how well it works and thinking about how we could change it in the future, but were looking forward to seeing and hearing about the creative ways that people use it and getting their feedback on Taster.”

Taster is the BBCs testing ground for news features. Follow this link to try out BBC Together.

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