Here’s How Netflix Could Let You Watch Shows Offline

Photographed by Rockie Nolan.
The latest Netflix rumor is one that could have big implications for how you watch your favorite shows and movies. Before the end of the year, you might be able to download and view content offline. This means that renting shows off of iTunes to view on long plane rides or on the subway could soon be a thing of the past — you could just download a Netflix title, instead.

This rumor comes with a serious helping of skepticism, however.

Dan Taitz, the COO of Penthera, a company that develops video-downloading software for streaming shows and movies to mobile, sparked the rumor. In an article in Light Reading, Taitz is quoted saying that he believes "download-and-go" will soon be an option for Netflix subscribers. Problem is, as Mashable is quick to point out, Taitz's statement may just reflect what he wants to happen because of the nature of his business.

However, Reed Hastings, Netflix's CEO, has said before that he will "keep an open mind" about a downloadable option for the service — another good sign. But that doesn't imply that Netflix will offer one. There would be a lot of hurdles involved to change Netflix's model to allow for offline downloading, from changing the app's infrastructure and interface to securing different deals with production companies.

If Netflix does decide to allow offline streaming sometime down the line (in time for Gilmore Girls, please!), we think it could appear in a couple of ways. Firstly, Netflix could offer offline downloads as a secondary subscription service with added costs. For example, you get unlimited offline downloads for $10 a month, which, like the DVD service, will be limited to a couple titles at a time. Netflix could also just introduce a new downloadable category, appearing in the same categorized way that shows currently do ("Independent Comedies" and "Nature documentaries"). Without charging extra, these titles would likely be extremely limited (read: Not Gilmore Girls), but still better than nothing.

Of course, for all the pros that downloadable content would provide (namely, watching on the plane and in areas without a good internet connection), there's also one major downside: Your Netflix addiction could grow exponentially. Good thing you can't already download Netflix content.

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