Netflix is unlikely to add offline viewing for subscribers any time soon, if ever. The company has confirmed to Pocket-lint that it isn't in its plans, and there are too many variables that complicate the implementation of the feature.
The BBC iPlayer, 4oD and Sky Go streaming services do allow you to download shows to a mobile device to watch when there is no internet connection, the last as part of the Sky Go Extra subscription. However, Joris Evers, Netflix's director of global communications, says that both licensing issues and limitations with local storage are big enough barriers for the company not to follow suit.
"[Offline viewing is] very unlikely," he told us. "I was going to say no, I was going to just categorically say no. But let me just tell you it’s very unlikely.
"Because we want to be a click and watch service that’s as simple and straightforward and easy as possible. Downloading - there’s a whole bunch of extra things involved. You’ve got to store those downloads somewhere, sometimes you have expiring files and all that kind of stuff. Licensing could become more complicated, there are a bunch of things. Plus there are other services that offer downloads."
This will come as a disappointment to many who use Netflix at home and would also like to continue to watch shows and movies when travelling, either as part of a commute or on a plane. However, it means the company can concentrate on offering the best streaming service possible. Including 4K video delivery. Most of its original series content, it told us, will be available in 4K in the future.
"Being completely on demand and letting people watch what they want to watch when they want to watch it is key. You’re going to go to Netflix because you want to watch Breaking Bad or House of Cards, or these new series that we’re going to be coming out with," said Evers.
"That’s the story of 4K. This quality of content is only really going to be coming to you through the internet. That’s why we’re at the forefront of it and why we’re talking about it so much. And why most of our original series will be available in 4K."
You can read the entire interview here: Netflix UHD 4K interview: When, where and how to get 4K content
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