Tue. Mar 5th, 2024

Plex is expanding its Discover system with a new community feature called Discover Together. The idea is simple—you now have an activity feed that shows your friends’ streaming activity, watchlist additions, and ratings. Discover Together will encourage users to treat Plex like a universal streaming hub, and it may reduce the need for third-party social tools like trakt or Letterboxd.

The core of Discover Together is your user profile, which now includes your watch history, recent activity, streaming metrics, and more. A dedicated activity feed lets you see what your friends are doing, and you can comment on other users’ activities to ask questions or complement their taste (comments can only be written on web and mobile). If you notice that a friend is watching a cool show, you can add the show to your watchlist from your feed, or share it with someone else who might be interested. Thankfully, you’re also allowed to mute friends or family.

Let’s take a step back to look at the big picture. Most of Plex’s new features revolve around the “Discover” system, which takes note of your streaming subscriptions (Netflix, Hulu, and so on) to provide more useful search results and universal watchlist functionality. If you search for a movie in the Plex app, you’ll see all the services that the movie is available on. And, of course, plenty of people use Plex for its selection of ad-supported content. Discover Together may be useless to people who only stream content from their media server, but it will help the average user find new content across all of their favorite platforms.

For privacy purposes, you’ll be forced to select your Discover Together preferences the next time you open Plex. You’re free to share your activity with everyone, no one, friends, or friends of friends. If you want to share your watchlist but hide your activity, that’s fine too—there are plenty of detailed options to pick through.

Note that Plex has also eliminated the ability to search for other users by email, which should quell some privacy concerns. That said, searching for an incomplete username will now surface all possible results. You can also search by location or interests to build communities with strangers or influencers. Privacy settings allow you to hide your account from search.

This update also introduces a “Report Issue” system for shared Plex media servers. Let’s pretend that you accidentally downloaded “The Little Mermaid” with Russian audio. If a friend or family member tries to watch “The Little Mermaid” and discovers the problematic audio, they can open the movie’s context menu and click “Report Issue” to alert the server owner. A comment can be attached to the report, and the server owner can respond with their own comments. Plex does not collect data from the “Report Issue” system—it won’t know about your Russian copy of the mermaid movie.

With Discover Together, Plex continues to cement itself as a one-stop shop for all your streaming needs. You now have a wealth of community features on top of Plex’s universal search and watchlist functionality. Discover Together doesn’t require a Plex Pass membership and is rolling out to all playback devices.

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By John P.

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