One major downside to subscription streaming platforms like Netflix is that you can’t continue your binge-watching streak while flying certain airlines or riding the subway underground. Amazon just solved that problem by introducing offline viewing–and in doing so, took a giant step forward in its ongoing war with Netflix and Hulu.
On Tuesday, Amazon announced that Prime subscribers can download videos to the company’s iOS and Android apps and watch them without maxing out their data plans or requiring Internet access. For the time being, Amazon will only make available some of its programming since it needs to negotiate with the networks that own the content; this limitation does, however, serve as a way for Amazon to push its own content, given that the first offerings for offline viewing will include all of its original shows.
The company seems to hope that bringing offline viewing to all Prime subscribers could lure a few more users away from video streaming rivals that have a larger content library and better interface. And that just may be the case: Netflix, for its part, has made clear that offline viewing is not high on its list of priorities. Back in December, a Netflix executive told TechRadar that offline viewing was “never going to happen,” arguing that Internet access is only becoming more commonplace.
Amazon already allowed owners of its Fire tablets and phones to download content to their devices–but that didn’t accommodate the vast user base that watches the company’s video content on iOS and Android devices.
[via Cult of Android]