Netflix users have been clamoring for Offline playback for years, but have been met with silence. But after indicating the company was at least considering implementing the feature, now it seems the company is taking the concept more seriously – at least for some locations.
Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos told CNBC that the company is considering offline playback for developing markets that may not have the same connectivity prowess as some of Netflix’s original territories.
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That said, it’s not clear whether the company is giving real thought to the option in places with strong connectivity:
We still think for the developed world our thesis has been true but I think as we get into more and more (of the) undeveloped world and developing countries that we want to find alternatives for people to use Netflix easily.
That ‘thesis’ he’s referring to is the idea that Netflix should focus on improving streaming availability through partnerships and bolstering connectivity rather than implementing offline playback.
The problem is, no matter how good wireless connectivity is in some countries, there are always going to be places and situations where offline playback is simply the better option.
What if I want to watch a show while running on the treadmill at my gym, where there’s sucky WiFi? When will every airline support strong enough connectivity for dozens of fliers to watch Netflix? What if I want to sit down and watch a movie in 4K HDR and make sure the signal isn’t downgraded because my roommates are watching another show themselves?
Point is, offline playback gives Netflix’s more options to watch videos in more places. Amazon’s implementation of offline playback has already changed my own viewing habits; I now simply download Amazon show episodes when I’m at home before heading onto the subway for longer trips – I basically finished half of ‘Mozart in the Jungle’ this way.
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not wait until the NYC subway system gets system-wide WiFi in order just for me to watch Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, gosh darn it.