As many of you already know, Netflix has finally enabled ‘downloads’ which will allow users to watch their favourite TV shows and movies on their mobile devices without the need for an Internet connection.
The news was unsurprisingly welcomed with huge fan fare, and rightly so. With the new update, users can finally watch episodes of Narcos and Black Mirror while flying, and save huge amounts of data when watching while commuting to work or school.
Make no mistake, it’s a much needed addition to the world’s leading streaming company, but as with most things, there are some drawbacks. Here are some of the downsides.
1. It’s Only Available On iOS and Android Devices
While there’s no need for the feature to appear on smart TVs and home devices, many Netflix subscribers enjoy their favourite shows on their laptops. It’s difficult to sit on a 5 hour flight to watch House of Cards from a smartphone. Nevertheless, there are options such as using a tablet or an iPad with slightly larger viewing capabilities, but it’s a shame that the feature is restricted to iOS and Android devices.
2. It’s Gonna Take Up Space
Probably the most obvious but overlooked drawback of Netflix Downloads is the amount of space it’ll take up on your phone, especially since it’s only available on mobile devices. The size of the downloads will depend on the length and amount of episodes or films you’ve downloaded, but an hour’s worth of an HD episode can take up almost 500MB. Good news is that users can download in Standard Definition instead, which takes up about half the space that HD videos do.
3. Your Downloads Are Not Viewable Outside Netflix
Similarly to how Spotify Premium works, downloads on Netflix can only be viewed via the Netflix app. In fact, even on Android devices, download files are not viewable on file manager apps, making it impossible to share downloaded files to friends and family. It’s not a surprising drawback but one can hope.
4. You Can’t Move Downloads Across Devices
Yep. As alluded to above, there’s no way you can move your downloads from one device to another. That means if you use both your iPhone and iPad to watch Netflix on the go, you’re gonna have to make downloads on both devices.
5. Not Every Show or Movie Is Available For Download
Say what? That’s right, not everything can be downloaded. Heck, not even every Netflix produced show is available for download. We’re speculating that it could be down to things like how Netflix might only have rights for streaming while another studio or distributor has the rights for offline playback. Downloadable media may also vary according to location.
6. Downloads Don’t Last Forever
Unlike Spotify Premium, your downloads can expire and they expire quickly. For some movies and shows, their downloaded versions must be watched within 48 hours from the moment you press play, making it a hassle if you’re prone to pausing and continuing days later. Each download has different expiration dates, and any show with less than 7 days to go will display how long you have left before it disappears.
While these annoyances will probably be painstakingly frustrating at times, it’s going to be a very popular feature, especially in countries where mobile Internet connection isn’t a strong suit. Still, it’s a great leap forward for a beloved company, so we’ll give it the benefit of the doubt.