(Pocket-lint) - The BBC is trialling its own group watch feature that will enable families and friends to view the broadcaster's shows this Christmas, even though they are having to spend it apart this year.

BBC Together is an online service that can be used with BBC iPlayer, Sounds and other BBC video content. You just grab the URL of the content you want to watch, paste it into the BBC Together page found here, and it starts a new group session. You can then share the resulting link with others in order to each watch the same programming at the same time.

You each watch the show or movie through a browser feed. The person who started the group session can also play, pause or choose a new programme for everyone to view.

It doesn't seem as inuitive as some group watch systems, such as the ones offered on Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video, as you can't chat with each other. But you can set up a Zoom call on a separate device, for example, to communicate throughout.

The service is part of the BBC Taster R&D scheme, which comes up with new tech ideas to help make BBC viewing more immersive or interesting.

Writing by Rik Henderson.