Netflix Adds Offline Viewing

Posted on November 30, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Android, iOS, Music + Videos with 40 Comments

Netflix Adds Offline Viewing

Netflix, one of the world’s most popular video on demand services, has finally added a feature that users have been clamoring for: The ability to download TV shows and movies and watch them offline.

The best news? It won’t cost extra.

“While many members enjoy watching Netflix at home, we’ve often heard they also want to continue their Stranger Things binge while on airplanes and other places where Internet is expensive or limited,” Netflix’s Eddy Wu explains. “Just click the download button on the details page for a film or TV series and you can watch it later without an internet connection.”

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According to Netflix, this new capability comes with some expected caveats:

Android and iOS only. Downloading/offline capabilities are currently available in the Android and iOS mobile apps only. Which, frankly, makes sense.

Select content only. You can download “select” TV shows and movies to watch without an Internet connection, Netflix says. “Many of your favorite streaming series and movies are already available for download, with more on the way.”

To see what the experience is like, I upgraded to the latest version of the Netflix app on my iPhone and browsed around a bit. Fortunately, Netflix provides a handy “Available for Download” playlist, much like the 4K playlist you get when using the service on 4K/UHD television.

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As you can see, it’s heavy with Netflix-created content, which is just great. But there are also fan favorites like “The IT Crowd,” “Mad Men,” “The Imitation Game” and many others in there. To download a show or movie, just tap the new “Download” button.

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Some other video on demand services, like Amazon Prime Video, have offered offline view for some time now. But others, like Hulu, do not. But Hulu says that capability is coming.

“We’re working on it, and we’re not alone,” Hulu’s Ben Smith told CIO this week.” We’ll get there, for sure, in our industry.”

 

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