Netflix: offline viewing is 'never going to happen'

Amazon wades into the debate

Netflix

For some time now, services like BBC iPlayer and 4oD have offered the ability to download shows for offline viewing, yet Netflix hasn't

And despite the pleas of the masses (or maybe it's just us) it doesn't sound like it's going to happen any time soon - or ever. Speaking to TechRadar, Cliff Edwards, Netflix's director of corporate communications and technology, said "It's never going to happen".

According to Edwards, Netflix's position on the matter is that offline downloads are a "short term fix for a bigger problem", that problem being Wi-Fi access and quality.

The service has made a similar argument in the past. In years to come, Netflix expects Wi-Fi coverage to improve significantly, particularly on transport.

In five years time, Edwards believes, we won't even be talking about the prospect of offline downloads. So while we'd say "never say never", it sounds like it is, in fact, a case of never.

Never say never. Except this time

Interestingly, Amazon decided to wade into the debate in light of our report, announcing that it did not agree with Netflix's stance on the matter. In response to the news, Amazon Digital Video VP Michael Paull confirmed that Amazon's offline viewing feature will roll out beyond Fire tablets in the future.

"We want our customers to be able to watch their digital videos on all devices, anywhere they are - that's why Prime Instant Video is the only U.S. video subscription service that enables offline viewing - on a plane, in a car, anywhere you want to go. Offline viewing is already available on Fire tablets and we'll continue to roll out this functionality to other devices in the future."

Netflix recently confirmed it's making an ambitious push for original programming, with an aim to debut 20 original series in the next five years. It's currently promoting its latest original Marco Polo, a drama set in the 13th-century court of Kublai Khan.

Article continues below