Netflix lets subscribers stream thousands of movies and TV shows over the internet. But if you want to watch Netflix videos without an internet connection, right now your best bet is to sign up for the company’s old-school DVD/Blu-ray rental service.
But soon you may be able to download some videos for offline viewing… something that rivals like Amazon Instant Video already allow.
Netflix hasn’t officially announced any plans to support video downloads, but Light Reading’s Mari Silbey reports that industry sources suggest it could be coming by the end of 2016.
Sure, you still need an internet connection to download videos. But it has a few benefits:
- You can download videos at home and watch them on the go without relying on cellular networks or WiFi hotspots.
- If you have a slow internet connection you can download videos before watching them, thus avoiding buffering issues when you hit the play button.
But while those features could be attractive to users, Netflix still needs to negotiate with content rights holders to get permission to let users download shows.
It’s not clear at this point whether all Netflix videos would be available for downloading or what devices will support the feature. For example, you may be able to download videos on a phone or tablet, but not on a smart TV box like a Roku or Apple TV (although I wonder what that would mean for products like the Google Chromecast, which let you beam content from your phone to a TV).