Netflix Won't Offer Offline Playback, Strikes Deal With Dish Network

Love Netflix but suffer from unreliable Wi-Fi? You're probably SOL. Netflix has said offline playback is "never going to happen," leaving services like iTunes and Google Play to meet your no-stream needs.

Meanwhile, Netflix is branching out in other ways. The company recently struck a deal with Dish Network, its first with a major American pay-TV provider. More about the Netflix offline playback comments and the Netflix Dish partnership after the jump.

For the most part, Netflix streaming is as simple and convenient as you can get. But it is unusable if you find yourself without a strong Wi-Fi connection, as you might if you're on a plane or traveling somewhere without Internet.

Nevertheless, Netflix has no plans to support offline playback. "It's never going to happen," Cliff Edwards, Netflix's director of corporate communications, told TechRadar. A spokesman backed him up in a conversation with The Verge: "We have been asked the same question for several years and have always given the exact same answer."

The spokesman explained: "Underlying our philosophy is two things. The first is that offline playback is transitional — the internet is getting better quickly and we would rather concentrate on getting better at what's coming than what's going." The second, they continued, is that there are plenty of other options for customers who need offline playback.

As of now, iTunes, Google Play, and Vudu all offer offline playback options. There's also the fact that making content available without streaming could complicate Netflix's licensing deals, and confuse things for existing customers.

However, Mashable reports Netflix is shaking things up on the pay-TV front. Starting this week, Dish subscribers with the newest version of the Hopper set-top box will have the option to stream Netflix content. The new feature is not free as it requires a Netflix subscription, which start at $7.99 per month. Netflix will be added to Dish's other devices in the near future as well.

"This app integration eliminates the need to switch television inputs to access content on varying devices," said Vivek Kehmka, Dish's senior VP of product management. "It gives our customers easy access to their favorite shows and movies, on both Dish and Netflix, without ever having to leave their Hopper."

It's the first such arrangement for Netflix. Until now, the service has not been available on any major cable or satellite system. Indeed, traditional TV providers have viewed Netflix as competition. But with the new deal, Dish is embracing Netflix as a complement to, rather than a replacement for, its own services.