Netflix has absolutely revolutionized the way many of us watch TV and movies, but there has been one big, glaring issue with the service prior to now. Netflix was absolutely dependant on an internet connection. Well, as of today, that is no longer the case, because the company has finally implemented downloads for offline viewing on their mobile app for Apple and Android.
The announcement was made today via a post on the official Netflix blog and this is a pretty big deal. Now, if you are going on a flight, heading on a long road trip or simply don't want to use your data if you know you want to watch something when you don't have a Wi-Fi connection, you can simply download a show or movie you want to watch ahead of time. Here is what Netflix Director of Product Innovation Eddy Wu had to say about the new feature in the blog post.
"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."
The download feature is available now, as long as you have the latest version of the Netflix app on your phone or tablet. The only potential setback, at least for now, is that not all content on the streaming service is available to download for offline viewing. As of right now, some of the biggest Netflix Originals are available, such as Orange Is the New Black, Narcos, House of Cards, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Master of None, The Crown and Stranger Things. Some of the bigger, non- Netflix produced TV shows that are available for download included The Office, The Flash and Supernatural. The latest version of the Netflix app now includes a menu item that shows subscribers what titles are available for download.
Netflix also said that more titles will be made available in the future, but considering the feature just launched, they do have a pretty impressive selection. It is a safe bet that pretty much every Netflix Original movie or TV series released in the future will benefit from this new feature, but licensed content will probably be a more case by case basis. Still, this will likely be a life saver for those who use Netflix on long commutes and don't want to pay extra for high-speed data on their mobile device or are relying on slow, public Wi-Fi.
Perhaps the best part of this feature is that it is included in every Netflix subscription at no extra cost. On one hand, that seems fairly logical, but on the other, it seems likely Netflix could have got a lot of customers to pay an extra dollar or two a month for this feature. In a way, Netflix is playing catch up in this respect, as Amazon Prime and YouTube Red have already been offering this feature to their subscribers. Still, better late than never, especially considering how much larger Netflix's subscriber base is.