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by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Dan Moren

Netflix will finally—finally!—let you download content to watch offline

There have been a lot of technological revolutions during my lifetime: the personal computer. The internet. The smartphone. But none have affected my life in quite as meaningful a way as the ability to stream all the movies and TV shows I want from Netflix. Only one obstacle stood in the way of true happiness: the ability to watch those shows when you’re offline too.

Today, that era comes to an end.

Netflix has officially announced that it will support downloading of certain content to watch when you’re on a plane, out in the boonies, or perhaps even in space.

Of course, there are limitations. Not all titles are supported, though it sounds like Netflix’s own original content is at the top of the list, along with a selection of other titles. More movies and shows will be made available in the future, says the company.

So far, it seems like this will only be supported for iOS and Android devices, whose apps will receive an update that provides a download button for compatible content. PC and Mac users are out of luck, at least for the time being.

Amazon Video has offered this ability for a while in its mobile apps, but Netflix had in the past staunchly denied that it planned on adding this feature, calling it “very unlikely,” but something clearly kicked things into gear—I’d guess a combination of wanting to compete with the likes of Amazon, plus the clout it has in being able to immediately put its own (mostly highly regard) content up for download.

Someday we’ll look back on the quaint era when you had to be tethered to an Internet connection to watch Netflix. Or maybe we’ll all be streaming on supersonic planes with broadband-level speeds and 4K virtual reality displays. But I think we can all agree: it will probably be one of those.

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[Dan Moren is a tech writer, novelist, podcaster, and the Official Dan of Six Colors. You can email him at dan@sixcolors.com or find him on Twitter at @dmoren.]