Netflix has begun rolling out the ability to download videos from its streaming service to smartphones and tablets for offline viewing.
Offline viewing is arguably the most demanded feature by users, and one of the things that differentiated other services including Amazon’s Instant Video streaming video service and pay TV services such as Sky and Virgin.
Eddy Wu, Netflix director of product innovation, said : “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.”
The feature is available from today on Android and iOS devices, and includes “many” TV series and movies, including Netflix’s original content such as Orange is The New Black, Narcos and the recently released The Crown. The company says that more will be made available soon.
Video downloads will be provided at no added cost within the service’s existing monthly subscription fees.
Netflix is locked in a battle with streaming rival Amazon, as well as traditional broadcasters which are making in-roads into “over the top” streaming services. Having previously targeted expansive libraries of content within different regions as a method of differentiation and attracting large subscriber bases, original content -- that created or paid for by the streaming service instead of bought after broadcast -- has become the focus.
Netflix has shows such as Stranger Things, Kevin Spacey’s House of Cards and Tina Fey’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, while Amazon has put money into shows such as Transparent, Alpha House, The Man in the High Castle and the recent release of The Grand Tour -- a Top Gear-like show from Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond.
Amazon’s service has had offline viewing for a while through its Amazon Instant Video app for iOS and Android.
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