In news likely to delight Netflix viewers across the globe, you can now download shows to watch even when you’re offline.

Netflix’s director of product innovation Eddy Wu made an announcement online: “Netflix members worldwide can now download in addition to stream great series and films at no extra cost.”

This great new feature is included in all Netflix plans and is available for phones and tablets on both Android and iOS. To start downloading shows directly to your devices, you’ll need to upgrade your Netflix app to the most recent version.

“While many members enjoy watching Netflix at home, we’ve often heard they also want to continue their Stranger Things binge while on airplanes and other places where internet is expensive or limited,” said Wu. “Just click the download button on the details page for a film or TV series and you can watch it later without an internet connection.”

Yet not all shows will be available from the immediate launch. Wu continued “many of your favourite streaming series and movies are already available for download”, including Orange is the New Black, Narcos and The Crown, “with more on the way.”

Yesterdays announcement is welcomed although not a huge surprise given that major rival Amazon Prime already offers offline viewing and Netflix boss Reed Hastings had previously said he was “keeping an open mind” about introducing the feature yet is a far cry from 2014, when Netflix claimed the feature was “never going to happen”.

Offline viewing is a feature that’s been long-requested by subscribers, particularly those who travel and may want to catch up on the likes of Daredevil or Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

So what’s changed? A likely factor is Amazon Prime – arguably Netflix’s chief rival in the streaming video market – beating Hastings and co. to the punch. Jeff Bezos’s company introduced the facility to download TV shows and films in September 2015.

Even then, Neil Hunt, Netflix’s chief product officer, doubled down on the “no downloads” policy just last September, telling Gizmodo “I think it’s something that lots of people ask for. We’ll see if it’s something lots of people will use. Undoubtedly it adds considerable complexity […] I’m just not sure people are actually that compelled to do that, and that it’s worth providing that level of complexity.”

Another factor could be the recent price rise for legacy customers. Introducing a feature that Netflix’s most loyal subscribers have repeatedly asked for could help retain users who may otherwise baulk at paying more.

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