Ask LH: Will Netflix Or Stan Or Presto Or Quickflix Let Me Download Shows For Offline Viewing?

Hey Lifehacker, I’m currently running a Quickflix trial and I’m considering testing out Stan. But I’ve realised that one of my main reasons for downloading movies via torrents is because I can download during my ISP off-peak period, then watch them during the evening. Streaming movies during the evening eats all my ISP quota. Is there any way to get around that? I realise I can pre-buffer on a computer, but I want to watch on my lounge room TV. Thanks, Peak Practice

Dear PP,

Subscription streaming media services have many virtues, but the ability to download content and view it later from a local drive is not one of them. Quickflix has never offered the ability to download streamed content; nor does Presto; nor does Stan; and nor does Netflix.

The reason for that is both technical and legal. On the technical front, offering the ability to download requires complex rights protection to be put in place (and might well require a separate player rather than letting you watch in-browser). On the contractual front, in most cases the deals that each of these services have signed for content only grant them the right to stream the content — movies and TV shows can’t be offered in any other form.

That’s not to say browser extensions and other software won’t pop up that allow you to do that. However, they rarely work for long — as soon as one becomes popular, those services will usually try to implement a block.

In TV viewing terms, your best options are going to be either streaming from another device or hoping that an official smart TV app will appear. (Quickflix is already supported on many smart TVs, and we’d expect Netflix apps to be activated soon after the service launches in Australia.)

As for off-peak? There’s no obvious way you can take advantage of that while viewing streaming media. Annoying, but that’s the way the all-you-can-view cookie crumbles.


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