As of today, an update for mobile apps for tablet and smartphone allows you to download content to watch offline, so you can take new episodes of your favorite show with you on your commute, on a plane, or anywhere the internet doesn’t go.
Once you’ve downloaded the update, the info screen of many streamable shows will show a button for downloading. Just click it and wait. When we tried downloading an episode of Kimmy Schmidt, it was 115 MB and took our speedy-enough home network 24 minutes to download. The Imitation Game was 544 MB and took 1 hr 53 minutes.
Furthermore, not all of Netflix’s content is yet available. Predictably Netflix is starting with their own content, like Stranger Things and Orange is the New Black, but they promise they'll be adding more including products not produced by Netflix.
It’s worth mentioning that Amazon has had this option on its app for over a year, but those downloads operate a little more like movie rentals, as they expire 30 days after download, or 48 hours after you’ve begun watching. Not a huge problem, but kind of a hassle.
There are still limits to Netflix’s tool: You’ll only be able to carry as many episodes as your memory allows and only one movie or series at a time. Also, the service is limited to app users, so laptop customers won’t have this option from their web browser.
But being able to take an entire season of a show with you to binge on a plane is still a huge improvement in quality of streaming life. And we imagine it could be a huge boon for people with slow speeds, and for those who have trouble with buffering.