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Netflix Adds Offline Mode, but There Are Catches

Screenshot showing Netflix's download feature
Sean Fang Fri, 02/12/2016 - 20:39

Despite once labeling the feature as a "PR stunt", Netflix has finally followed Amazon to add an offline viewing mode for iOS and Android devices, allowing users to download previously streaming-only titles for later viewing. But just as Netflix predicted at the time, the feature may add "considerable complexity" to the once streaming-only platform due to the many limitations to the feature.

Due to licensing restrictions, only a small selection of titles are available for offline viewing. This mostly includes Netflix Original titles such as 'Orange is the New Black' and 'Marco Polo' (but not titles like 'Fuller House'), so those wanting to download everything on Netflix won't be able to do so.

Downloads will also expire after a set time, although this varies from title to title, with some expiring as soon as 48 hours after the first viewing, while others can be stored for up to 7 days. All downloads expire after 30 days if you don't watch them. Some expired titles can be renewed without downloading the whole thing again, but again, this varies from title to title due to licensing issues.

Downloads will use up around the same amount of data as streaming (expect 300 MB for an hour of SD content, 450 MB for the same content in HD), but iOS and Android users that now have access to the download option will also need to ensure they have enough free space on their devices. Once downloaded, the titles will appear in the new "My Downloads" section, with the expiration times of titles being listed. Users can also cancel or delete downloads at any time.

[via The Age, Gizmodo]

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