On the face of it, offline playback on Netflix doesn't seem revolutionary. Unlike music, which we regularly consume on the go, we mostly watch TV at home, on a couch. Usually with a cable connection or — at worst — decent Wi-Fi.
But think of the possibilities.
The most obvious win from this move is folks with limited mobile data. The ability to download shows at work or at home before long commutes is invaluable. Hopefully every livestreaming service follows suit. (A failure to do so would be at their peril.)
But how are we gonna use this new service to its maximum potential? In what situations will this new functionality work best?
#1 On The Plane
This might be the most obvious one. We live in Australia. How many times have you sat down for a 14 hour flight to find you've seen every goddamn trashy movie the in-flight entertainment has to offer.
The ability to download Netflix shows to your tablet or mobile phone is going to make long haul travel a helluva lot more palatable. That's just a fact. One of my favourite things to do is blast through four or five episodes of a show on a hefty flight. Usually I've been limited to certain shows or certain episodes. Now options have expanded considerably.
#2 Holiday Destinations With Terrible Internet
A weeklong holiday in the middle of fucking nowhere is a family tradition for me. It's mostly great. A nice big house, a swimming pool, bushwalks, etc.
But these places tend to have terrible internet (if they have internet at all) meaning you're limited to a terrible bookshelf of DVDs with weathered covers and scratched discs. This is what I like to call 'a bad time'. I don't want to watch The Sound of Music for the hundredth goddamn time, I want to eat Christmas dinner and settle in for Season 1 of The Expanse.
This Christmas, I'm bringing a tablet, a Chromecast and a big ol' buttload of pre-downloaded movies and TV shows.
#3 Road Trips With Terrible Children
I have terrible children.
More precisely, I have one terrible child and a baby that could swing either way. This whole downloading thing is gonna make long car trips a lot more manageable. It's also going to save me serious dollars in mobile data.
I regularly make the drive from Sydney to Canberra. I'm sure most of you reading at home make similar trips. They're tough with kids. Really tough. And being that we live in a glorified desert with no human life between cities, there tends to be a lot of mobile dry spots. Best believe I'll be loading my son's iPad Mini with the Netflix's entire library of Pokemon episodes.
Fuck Team Rocket.
#4 Public Transport
Back in the dark days, before iPhones, I had a PlayStation Portable (PSP). I used to download anime. Loads of it. I'd then use some bullshit bargain basement application, convert the files to a very specific file type and resolution, all so I could watch anime during my morning commute.
Sometimes those conversions would fail. Sometimes they worked, sometimes they didn't. I'd switch to episode 54 of Naruto or whatever, only to find that the file had been corrupted. The absolute worst. Dark days.
Even today, watching video during my commute is a funny business. I burn through data listening to podcasts and music, so I rarely make the leap to video.
I WILL NOW BE MAKING A PERMANENT LEAP TO VIDEO.
How will you use Netflix's new download option, let us know below.