Netflix on iPad
Netflix is huge, and the streaming service is not only making money hand over fist but also pumping out some of the best original TV shows anywhere today. But there's still one thing that fans sorely want from it: offline playback.
Amazon's Prime Instant Video offers it, letting you save movies and TV shows for viewing when you're not linked up to an internet connection, but Netflix has thus far resisted calls to allow the functionality. Now, however, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings says the company is open to the possibility.
Asked about potential offline playback by Recode on a conference call, Hastings replied, "We should keep an open mind on this. We’ve been so focused on click-and-watch and the beauty and simplicity of streaming. But as we expand around the world, where we see an uneven set of networks, it’s something we should keep an open mind about."
Netflix's international expansion might be driving the consideration, but it would also benefit those of us who have eaten up our data plans when away from home, or sobbed into our portable devices when stuck on planes, trains, and anywhere else that high-quality connectivity tends not to reach. It's been hard, obviously.
In the past, Netflix's response has been firmly against the idea, which may not be due to technical constraints but rather the need to have licensing agreements in place for the functionality. As Recode suggests, that shouldn't be a significant problem with the company's own original offerings, but content from external providers might not be a sure thing.
Still, Hastings' response suggests that minds are changing at Netflix, or at least open to the change - and if that means eventually binge-watching Daredevil or Master of None on an international flight instead of suffering through whichever junk the airline has on offer, that's good news to our ears.