In a surprise announcement by Netflix, a much-requested feature has finally been enabled: the ability to download TV shows and movies for offline viewing. In some respects, it is surprising that it took so long for this to become a reality. There are, however, some limits.
The first is that it is limited to certain shows only. For the moment this covers almost all of Netflix’s own originals and some others. For example, shows like Orange is the New Black, Narcos and The Crown are available right now. According to Netflix, we can expect the catalog of offline capable shows to grow as the licensing deals are negotiated.
Another limitation is that it is only possible on smartphone and tablets. For the moment, it cannot be done on desktop computers or even TV compatible systems.
In order to download a show, navigate to the episode list of the show. Supported shows will have a download symbol to the left of the play button. Clicking on this will start the immediate download of that episode and will be enabled for offline playback.
With Netflix expected to produce nearly 50 shows per year for the next two years, the catalog of offline capable shows will grow. In order to avoid losing the licensing revenue from Netflix, it is also quite plausible that other networks will also allow some of their shows to be downloadable.
Netflix will be rolling out the latest version of its app which is required to download offline capable shows.