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Amazon Prime Video launches offline viewing, feature Netflix has said is 'never going to happen'

Feature lets users download film and TV shows so they can be watched without an internet connection

Andrew Griffin
Wednesday 02 September 2015 11:31 BST

Amazon Prime Video has launched offline viewing, a hugely-requested feature that main competitor Netflix has sworn is “never going to happen”.

The feature lets people download films and TV shows so that they can be watched without using an internet connection. It can be used to watch videos in places with slow or no wifi, such as on commutes or plane journeys, by downloading them before.

Netflix has long argued that there is no need to integrate the feature, since those problems with wifi will eventually be eradicated.

Amazon Prime Video is offered as part of the $99 or £79 per year premium service, which also gives free next day delivery of packages and other perks. It is Amazon’s attempt to take on Netflix by offering a catalogue of films and TV shows that can be streamed from anywhere.

The feature has long been offered to owners of Amazon’s own Kindle tablets. But it has now been rolled out to the Android and iOS apps.

Videos can be downloaded by heading to their page in the app, and clicking the small “Download” button. They’ll then be put into a library on the phone or tablet, where they can be viewed or deleted.

Not all of Amazon’s library, which is already smaller than Netflix’s, is offered for offline streaming. But a large proportion of it is offered.

Netflix has repeatedly said that it will never allow the feature. It says that allowing offline viewing is a way of getting round slow internet connections – and argues that those will soon be fixed, making the feature redundant.

"With Internet speeds climbing and WiFi available in more and more places, the ability to stream live wherever you are will make downloading less relevant over time,” a Netflix spokesperson told Business Insider. “Our focus is on delivering a great streaming experience."

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