Netflix Offline Playback Is Finally Here

When it comes to convenience, it's hard to beat Netflix. You can stream shows to your living room TV, to your tablet while you're at the gym, to your smartphone while you're waiting in a checkout line. The one big catch has been that you need an internet connection to do it. Netflix is great if you're looking to pass time while riding the bus; less so if you're headed to a subway with no wifi connection.

Well, as of today, that restriction is being removed. Netflix has announced it's finally offering offline mode to its customers. Even better, this new feature comes at no additional cost to customers. 

The company announced Netflix offline viewing on Twitter and on its own website.

Starting today, Netflix offline mode is included with all streaming subscription packages. All you need is a device running iOS 8.0 or Android 4.4.2 and up, and the latest update of the Netflix app. Once you've got that, you'll see a Download button, like so:

Netflix offline mode

Not all shows and movies will be available to download. To start with, it looks the selection includes most or all of Netflix's original content. There's also a limited variety of other movies and shows, with more promised to be on the way. Once you've downloaded the programs you want to watch, you can go into the "My Downloads" menu to see what you have accessible offline.

The offline playback feature is one that customers have been requesting for a long time. In the past, though, Netflix has downplayed or dismissed the possibility of adding such a feature, even going so far as to say that offline mode would "never" happen. But earlier this year, CEO Reed Hastings said the company wanted to "keep an open mind" about a download-and-go option. Not long afterward, we started hearing reports that Netflix was looking into it, and that the option could arrive by the end of the year. Never let it be said that nothing good happened in 2016.