Netflix to launch the ‘offline playback’ feature
California,Oct17:Netflix is reportedly set to soon introduce an ‘offline playback’ feature, which will allow users to take their favorite series offline and watch it at a time of their convenience. Similar to the ‘watch offline’ option available on YouTube, the new feature will allow users to download shows for later consumption. However, there is a catch. The feature is likely to be introduced only for Netflix’s Original shows.
Netflix’s original shows include the likes of House of Cards, Stranger Things, Orange Is The New Black, and Making a Murderer, among others. A report on metro.co.uk notes that Netflix is working on a download function for its app, allowing users to watch it offline. Penthera COO Dan Taitz said that Netflix is likely to introduce the download-to-go as an option for their subscribers by the end of this year. A lot of Netflix users, especially in India, have been long waiting for an offline mode for the shows offered on Netflix, a lot of which is also offered in Ultra HD resolution. With spotty internet connectivity and lack of WiFi at all places, for customers, the viewing experience is hampered. If the speculated feature makes it to customers, it will offer a seamless experience, irrespective of quality internet connectivity.
Touted the world’s most popular on-demand video streaming service, Netflix was reluctant about an offline feature when the company’s director of technology said in an interview that cached playback is ‘never going to happen’ as it would only be a ‘short term fix for a bigger problem’. However, CEO Reed Hastings hinted at an alternative approach when he said that Netflix needs to ‘keep an open mind’ about the feature. Now that the company is rumored to be actually working on the feature, industry analysts call it the next logical step for Netlfix. Principal analyst at Frost & Sullivan, Dan Rayburn said that it is a natural progression for Netflix to have such a feature where some of their content is made available for users to watch offline, adding that for months, the feature had been talked about in the industry and now it might be soon making its debut. Competing video streaming services such as Amazon Prime and YouTube already have the offline viewing feature in place for quite some time now.
Netflix was introduced in India earlier this year and promised to offer a quality experience even on low bandwidth. With monthly packages priced at as low as Rs 500, Netflix brought to the country popular global shows. Though, it was criticized for not offering enough content in their catalog. Even as the company has been expanding the content, Netflix recently announced that it will bring more original content to Indian users. Its first original series from India is based on the best-selling novel Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra. ALSO READ: Netflix announces first Indian Comedy Special series with standup comedian Vir Das
Once the speculated ‘offline playback’ feature makes it to consumers, it is likely to benefit Indian users the most. With a traditionally average internet connectivity on-the-go and public Wi-Fi still at its nascent stage, an offline feature could go a long way in helping Netflix expand its consumer base in India and worldwide, as it has been for YouTube.
Although Netflix is yet to officially announce a roll-out of the new ‘offline playback’ feature, BGR India has reached out to the company for a confirmation.