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No connection? No Amazon device? Prime Video says no problem

Amazon Prime Video, a Netflix competitor from the retailing giant, will let you download shows and movies to watch offline on nearly any smartphone.

"Orphan Black" is one of the titles Amazon will allow for download free with a Prime subscription.

BBC America

Being member of Amazon Prime now means your movie won't stop just because your mobile connection does.

Prime members in the US, UK, Germany and Austria can now download movies and TV shows to mobile devices even if they're using Apple iPhones and iPads or phones running on Google's Android software, Amazon said Tuesday.

The online retail giant previously allowed people who have a Fire tablet -- part of the company's own line of devices -- to watch offline.

By expanding the capability to Apple and Android mobile devices, the company is essentially offering a feature on the top of consumers' wish lists to nearly everyone who uses a smartphone. It also ratchets up Amazon Prime Video's competitiveness versus bigger rival Netflix. Prime is Amazon's $99-a-year membership service that is best known for free two-day shipping, but a Prime subscription also gives members a host of other perks, including the streaming video service. Netflix is estimated to have more members and so far has garnered more awards for its original shows, but expanding the offline feature gives Amazon Prime Video a selling point that Netflix doesn't match.

"There's no doubt that the way people watch entertainment is changing -- anytime, anywhere viewing is important," Michael Paull, vice president of digital video at Amazon, said in a statement.

Titles available for download to watch offline include Amazon original series like "Transparent," the company's most awarded show to date; episodes from past seasons of HBO programs like "Girls" and "True Blood;" other hit shows in Amazon's catalog like "Downton Abbey," "Orphan Black" and "The Americans;" and movies like "Star Trek Into Darkness," "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" and "The Wolf of Wall Street."

To download videos, Prime members must first download the Amazon Video app.

Netflix spokeswoman Anne Marie Squeo said that the ability to stream anywhere, thanks to climbing Internet speeds and more Wi-Fi availability, dampens the need to download. "Our focus is on delivering a great streaming experience," she said.

This story initially referred to Amazon's tablets as Kindle Fire devices, but the company now sells them as simply Fire tablets.

Update, 11:40 a.m. PT: Adds comment from Netflix.