Netflix says it is finally adding offline playback
Netflix has long said that it had no intention of ever offering an offline playback mode for when you’re stuck on an airplane or anywhere else with no internet connection. But it seems like the company is changing course: An enigmatic tweet from the Netflix account says that “your favorite stories are now available for download any time.” It’s accompanied by a cute video with scenes from a bunch of Netflix original shows, but it seems as if the feature won’t be limited to only the company’s original content. Regardless of any catches, the message is clear: Netflix will finally let us save shows to watch when we don’t have an internet connection.
Airplane mode. Road trip mode. Stuck-in-the-subway-for-20-minutes mode. Your favorite stories are now available for download any time. pic.twitter.com/g7QZA3TyE8
— Netflix US (@netflix) November 30, 2016
In a press release that just dropped, Netflix says that the feature will arrive later today in an app update for iOS and Android. The feature is pretty straightforward — when a show or movie is available to save offline, you’ll see a little “download” button. Netflix notes that many of its big shows, including Orange is The New Black, Narcos and The Crown, are available to download today. Notably, those are all Netflix original shows — we’re not sure if things from other studios will be made available just yet. And it most definitely seems like the entire catalog will not be made available all at once — but this is still a pretty big deal considering Netflix consistently rejected this feature in the past.
Oddly enough, Netflix publicly pondered offline playback pretty recently, but only as a way to make the product more appealing in developing markets where the internet infrastructure doesn’t allow for continuous streaming like most of us in the US can experience. But it’s probably a good idea not to restrict a feature that so many customers have been asking for for years, and that so many of Netflix’s competitors are already offering.
We’re reaching out to Netflix for more clarification and will update this post with any more details we receive.