Netflix To Start Allowing Downloads For Offline Viewing

Netflix is that monster-sized streaming video buffet service that almost everyone in the world uses. Until now, the only option Netflix really offered was to stream their content directly to your TV or mobile device. But all that is about to change, thanks to new reports and recent comments in the media.

What was apparently clear last year when Netflix was asked about allowing its users to download their content and watch it offline was that they were not going to do it, not because they didn’t want to but because the option would be very complicated for the consumers to use.

But that tune is about to change for Netflix, who has expanded its position in the global market recently and is in nearly every major territory except China. Not only are they working on getting in to that major market, but also expanding their buffet of offerings, which includes viewing options like downloads.

In a report by Light Reading, Netflix is gearing up to make downloads available via sources within the download service market, one of which was Dan Taitz of Penthera.

“We know from our sources within the industry that Netflix is going to launch this product,” Taitz told Light Reading. “My expectation is that by the end of the year Netflix will be launching download-to-go as an option for their customers.”

The simple fact is that if Netflix wants to stay on top of the streaming video market, they have to keep up with their competition and make sure that they are not short-sided by what their competitors have to offer consumers. Amazon Prime and Comcast have already made the downloads feature available for their customers across the nation, but Netflix is still behind on the option.

Consumers in America, as well as across the world, are very busy. That means that they may not have an internet connection at a convenient moment. Those moments are the ones that Netflix may be missing out on if they do not let those consumers download the movie or TV show for offline viewing later.

As far as the rumors, they are just that at this stage. Netflix has not gone as far as to confirm something about downloads, but they also have not denied that they are getting into the market.

“While our focus remains on delivering a great streaming experience, we are always exploring ways to make the service better,” Netflix spokesperson Anne Marie Squeo said. “We don’t have anything to add at this time.”

But an analyst from Frost & Sullivan, Dan Rayburn, seems to also have the inside scoop about what Netflix intends to roll out on their streaming platform.

“It’s a natural progression for Netflix to want to have some of their content available for consumers to watch offline, and we’ve been hearing for months now that they are in fact going to roll something out soon,” Rayburn said. “Netflix will be limited by the studios in terms of which titles are available for download so we’ll have to see just how much of Netflix’s inventory is offered and which devices will be supported.”

For the most part, this does make sense for Netflix in the streaming mobile market. For those on the go, they will want to have their Netflix shows readily available for them whenever the time is convenient. But with the streaming capacity in certain areas limited, the connections can get interrupted and buffering continues to be a problem.

“It would make sense to focus on mobile device support over streaming media boxes connected to the TV as that’s the real benefit of a downloading service, but the service will be limited in use to a degree, since mobile devices can’t store too many movies,” Rayburn said.

Amazon Prime is the biggest competitor for Netflix and they have already rolled out this feature for mobiles devices.

[Photo by Ken Ishii/Getty Images]