Netflix Launches New Feature Allowing Automatic Downloads For Offline Viewing

Netflix has introduced its new "Downloads For You" feature for users starting today, February 22nd. Downloads For You is a feature that allows Netflix to automatically download TV shows and movies to a user's smartphone, based on viewing history and preferences. Netflix starting testing Downloads For you in late 2020; currently, the feature has only been rolled out globally for Netflix's Android app, with the iOS version reportedly going into testing soon. "Downloads For You" is an expansion of the "Smart Downloads" feature, which Netflix rolled out in 2018-2019. Of course, some users may not love the feature, when they learn more about it.

Netflix's Smart Downloads feature was a handy feature that allowed users to have the next episode of a TV series they were watching automatically downloaded to their smartphone or tablets, while auto-deleting old episodes you were done with. It was effective for keeping commuters or other people with routine viewing routines immersed in regular visits to Netflix. However, "Downloads For You" is something much more aggressive.

Netflix has emphasized that users will be able to control how much video content is downloaded to their device; users also have to manually activate the Downloads For You feature in the options menu while choosing download sizes of 1GB, 3GB, or 5GB. Download amounts will vary with the space users make available.

It's always questionable just how effective Netflix (or any streaming service) is with its "Recommended For You" feature, which can put up some hilariously bad recommendations at times. Now Netflix is going to be pushing that content onto users' smartphones as auto-downloaded content. That's a high-risk move, as wrong guesses will require users to actively step in and stop the process (unlike the passive refusal of a "recommend"). It'll be very interesting to see how users react to that.

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(Photo: Nikolas Kokovlis/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Patrick Flemming, Netflix’s director of product innovation released a statement, saying: “We’re excited to introduce Downloads For You. People who choose this new feature will have shows or movies automatically downloaded to their devices, with recommendations based on their tastes. We want to make discovering your next new favorite series or film even easier, whether you’re connected or not.”

Netflix is rolling out several new features geared towards making users stay connected with its specific streaming service. A "shuffle" option is also being rolled out worldwide in 2021, which will allow Netflix to toss in a recommended title or user's "Watch List" title into the streaming lineup. Consistent engagement is a growing concern for Netflix (and its competitors) as the market of streaming services continues to grow.

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Be on the lookout for Netflix's "Downloads For You" feature coming your way.

Source: Variety