In November, Netflix announced that users could start downloading movies and TV shows to watch them later when they might not have access to the Internet. For instance, if you were going to be on an airplane or in a location without wifi coverage, you could watch the videos from saved files.
At the time, the videos had to be downloaded onto your device. This was problematic for people using devices with limited storage space, such as smartphones or tablets.
As of now, however, Netflix is taking steps to make downloading programming to watch at a later time easier for smartphone and tablet users. Earlier this week, the streaming-video provider announced that users could now download select movies and TV shows to external devices like microSD cards.
— The Verge (@verge) January 30, 2017
“The latest version of the Netflix app gives you a choice of saving things to internal storage or, if your phone supports SD, picking the external option instead,” Chris Welch writes in an article for The Verge. “Until now, Netflix only let you save content to internal memory, which had to be annoying for anyone carrying a phone with 32GB of built-in space and a ton of expandable storage.”
This does not mean you can download any and all content and watch it whenever you like. The material available for download has been restricted to Netflix productions and other selected TV shows and movies, and the downloads are good only for a limited time before they expire.
“Keep in mind that offline content does expire (time limits vary depending on the content), so you won’t be able to store movies or shows on microSD and just leave them there to watch much later,” Welch explains. “And Netflix notes that the feature doesn’t support any and all Android devices with a microSD slot. But this small change definitely makes offline downloads much more convenient on the Android side of things.”
While there may be some restrictions on what you can download and when you can watch it, this is still definitely good news for Netflix users, especially when considering that the company is set to begin production on significantly more original material this year.
As the Inquisitr previously reported, Netflix plans to double the amount of original content it produces in 2017 as compared to 2016.
Getting outta town this weekend? Download your favourite Netflix shows to your devices for entertainment at any time. pic.twitter.com/4faDHukORA
— Optus (@Optus) January 28, 2017
The new programming is supposed to include up to 20 unscripted shows, like Ultimate Beastmaster, a physical competition reality show produced by Sylvester Stallone, as well as several new scripted shows. Netflix has also been expanding its offering of original movies.
The long term goal is to have half of its available library at any time consisting of original content.
“The 50-50 target was revealed by Netflix CFO David Wells at the Goldman Sachs’ Communacopia conference on Tuesday (via Variety), and Wells added that they’d like to hit that mix sometime over the course of the next few years,” TechCrunch reported last year. “As for its progress so far, Wells said Netflix is already about ‘one-third to halfway’ to that ratio, having launched 2015 hours of original programming in 2015, and with the intend of achieving a further 600 hours by the end of 2016.”
While creating original content is more expensive up front for Netflix, over time it saves the company money by not having to renew licensing agreements.
Original content also helps build Netflix’s name brand an attract new subscribers, as original series like Luke Cage and Stranger Things have done.
Looking forward to new content from Netflix is nice. Looking forward to being able to more conveniently download it to watch later is even better.
[Featured image by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]