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Netflix finally lets you download to binge offline

An update to its mobile apps will let you watch without a connection, but not every film and show in its catalog is included.

Joan E. Solsman Former Senior Reporter
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Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Joan E. Solsman
Richard Trenholm
2 min read
Watch this: Download Netflix shows to watch offline
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Netflix's "Stranger Things" is one of the series on the streaming service that can now be downloaded to watch offline.

Netflix

One of the deepest desires of Netflix binge watchers is finally here: offline viewing.

The streaming giant on Wednesday added an option to its mobile app that will download films and TV shows in advance to watch them without an internet connection. Plane rides will never be the same.

Not every show and movie in its catalog is included, however.

Offline viewing has been a long-desired feature for Netflix subscribers. The company resisted it for years, saying that mobile networks would eventually advance to the point that you'd have no disconnected moments. But two things wore down Netflix's resistance in the last couple years. Rivals with offline viewing, like Amazon's Prime video service, have become more competitive. In addition, Netflix's global expansion to places like India brought it to countries with weaker or spottier mobile networks, making downloads more valuable to members.

Netflix said "many" of its series and films are available for download, including originals like "Stranger Things," "Orange Is the New Black," "The Crown" and "House of Cards."

Some licensed shows and movies aren't available to watch offline, such as the BBC's "Sherlock" series or the Disney's animated hit "Zootopia." Even some Netflix originals, like "The Little Prince" film, can't be downloaded.

Netflix said more downloadable titles are on the way.

Members need to update their Netflix app and look for an arrow symbol next to a title to indicate downloading. Subscribers can also look to a new category on the Netflix app's side menu called "Available for Download," which collects all the programs you can watch offline.

The app update is available for both Apple iOS and Google Android devices.

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