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Netflix Vows It Will ‘Never’ Offer Offline Viewing

by Killian Bell | December 17, 2014December 17, 2014 5:03 am PDT

Netflix logo - iPad 2

It’s no surprise Netflix is so popular; for just a small fee, you get unlimited access to all the movies and TV shows you can watch. The only problem is, it’s useless if you happen to lose Internet connectivity. Some streaming services have gotten around that by offering an offline viewing option, but Netflix never will.

Despite the calls for an offline viewing option from its customers, Netflix director of corporate communications and technology, Cliff Edwards, has told TechRadar that “it’s never going to happen.” Instead, the company is relying on improved Wi-Fi coverage in the future — particularly in public places.

Edwards says an offline mode would be a “short term fix for a bigger problem,” and he believes that in five years, the ability to download content and watch it offline won’t be necessary. Netflix expects Wi-Fi coverage to improve significantly in the coming years — particularly on public transport — and so it sees the ever-worrying scenario of no Internet becoming a rarity.

Perhaps that will be true in major cities, but Wi-Fi hotspots will never be completely free — and who wants to pay extra to watch a movie on the train when they’ve already paid their Netflix subscription?

Wi-Fi on public transport can be costly, so for the foreseeable future at least, I think there will continue to be a demand for the ability to download content at home — where we have super speedy broadband and generous usage caps — for watching later when we know we won’t have access to the Internet.

What do you think? Would you like to see an offline viewing option in Netflix?

TechRadar

Killian Bell

Killian Bell is a 20-something technology journalist based in a tiny town in England. He has an obsession with that little company in Cupertino...

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