Netflix will now let you download things to watch offline
VOD News | On 30, Nov 2016
Netflix just introduced the one feature everyone was waiting for: offline downloads.
As of today, you can now download select Netflix titles to then watch on your mobile device without a web connection. The feature is a long-awaited function for Netflix users, with Amazon already making a number of its series and movies available to download on Prime Video. Despite Amazon adding the feature, though, Netflix has previously come up with a raft of reasons why it would not follow suit, before saying this year that it now had an open mind towards the idea and might introduce it soon.
Now, that day has arrived.
“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. 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,” says Eddy Wu, Netflix’s Director of Product Innovation, in a blog post announcing the news.
“Many of your favorite streaming series and movies are already available for download, with more on the way, so there is plenty of content available for those times when you are offline.”
The new feature is included in all subscription plans and available for phones and tablets on Android and iOS – all you have to do is update your Netflix app to the latest version.
Series that are now available include Netflix originals Orange is The New Black, Narcos and The Crown.
Netflix is looking at offline downloads… just not for us
30th November 2016
Netflix has finally confirmed that it is working on offline downloads, just probably not for us.
Subscribers have been calling for the ability to download things to watch without an Internet connection for a long time, whether that’s for the underground morning commute or on the plane heading abroad. Netflix, though, has refused to play ball, citing a variety of reasons.
The issue has been tied up partly in the navigating the tricky waters of international distribution, as Netflix doesn’t have the rights to all of its titles in all of the countries in which it operates. But with Netflix’s original library growing at a rapid pace, it has a line-up of titles that could be offered for download without any legal problems. Indeed, that’s what Amazon has already done with its own arsenal of originals, making them available for Prime Video users to download for offline streaming – some of its other content is also made available, on a title-by-title basis.
Netflix, though, has previously claimed that doing the same would be to complicated for users to understand – something that suggests the idea of playing catch-up with its rival is what’s hard for Netflix to digest.
But now, after months of rumours, speculation and nonsensical excuses, the VOD service has given its first official indication that it is actually planning to introduce the feature.
Netflix’s other argument has been that Internet connectivity is now so widespread that the need for offline downloads will eventually be redundant. While that may be true in many years’ time, we’re not there yet. The streaming giant, though, is holding to its belief.
“We have talked a lot about this over the years and our belief is that broadband and Wi-Fi become more and more ubiquitous, available in more and more places that you are, more and more minutes of the day,” Sarandos told CNBC.
Indeed, that overriding principle means that the streaming giant is less likely to introduce offline support in the US or US, instead focusing on countries where Wi-Fi is less available.
“Now as we’ve launched in more territories… They all have different levels of broadband speeds and Wi-Fi access,” explained Sarandos. “So in those countries they have adapted their behaviors to be much more of a downloading culture. So in those emerging territories it starts to become a little more interesting. We still think for the developed world our thesis has been true but I think as we get into more and more (of the) undeveloped world and developing countries that we want to find alternatives for people to use Netflix easily.”
Sarandos’ comments follow a similar initiative from YouTube, which launched YouTube Go, an app designed for offline usage in countries such as India. YouTube, however, still offers offline downloads for subscribers to its YouTube Red premium service in the US, with a UK launch in the pipeline. When Netflix does introduce offline support, then, it can expect to face even more pressure from UK and American customers for the same.