Netflix just got a whole lot better: you can now watch TV shows or movies offline.

12 December 2016 > General,

Netflix has just released a long-awaited functionality: download movies, TV shows or documentaries and then watch them offline, any time.

Just think how great this will be for those times when you are waiting in line or travelling long (or even short) distances in planes, trains and cars so that you can pass the time with a little telly or a movie. No more getting frustrated with slow or non-existent Internet, no more paying for entertainment for flights or worrying about using up your own data when you are simply out and about.

Netflix has now made it possible to download many or your favourite TV shows or movies. While it is not possible to download all shows and movies that are on Netflix, they have made a range of them available for download right now and have promised many more in the near future.

To get this new functionality, all you need to do is update your Netflix app to the latest version from your app store. Once updated, a download button will appear next to the play button for shows or movies that allow it, letting you save content to watch later when you might not have any Internet connection.

So that you can easily find what shows and movies are available for download, Netflix has added an “Available for Download” button in the app’s menu. They have made it especially easy to access content that you have already downloaded to your mobile device, by simply clicking the “My Downloads” option in the app’s menu. In this section, you can select individual TV episodes to watch, and delete anything that you no longer wish to have saved to your phone or tablet.

Another great perk of this new feature is that offline playback is available on all plans – meaning Netflix isn’t trying to use this to upsell people on higher subscription tiers.

According to this Netflix help page, there are two options for download quality: Standard and Higher. “Standard quality is a slightly lower video resolution that requires less storage space and takes less time to download. Higher quality is a higher video resolution that requires more storage space and takes more time to download.” However, they don’t actually spell out what that higher resolution is.

Amazon Video (Netflix’s chief streaming rival) has let its customers download shows for years – also at no extra cost, however it has been stated by a TV and video analyst that Amazon may not have made enough noise when it first launched the feature. It seems as though timing may have played quite the factor in the company making its announcement now – not only does this come right before the fourth quarter results in 2016, it’s ahead of Amazon’s own global video rollout.

There is still plenty of time now to free up some space on your phone before Christmas, and you’ll definitely need to if you want to download a full season of Narcos – it takes up 2.3GB all on its own

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