Netflix is making it easier for subscribers to watch content offline with a new feature that automatically downloads TV shows and movies they might like.
Available worldwide on Android, the ‘Downloads For You’ feature pulls in content based on your preferences and viewing history.
To enable Downloads for You, subscribers must go to the Downloads tab and switch the feature on.
Users can determine how much memory they want to dedicate to their offline library.
Choose the amount of content you want downloaded — 1 gigabyte, 3 GB or 5GB — and then click ‘Turn On.’
The feature will generally download the first few episodes of a TV show, according to TechCrunch, ‘enough to get you started.’
The more space you allow, the more recommendations Netflix will download for you.
When you’re done viewing, you can delete the program and free up more space.
‘We’re excited to introduce Downloads For You. People who choose this new feature will have shows or movies automatically downloaded to their devices, with recommendations based on their tastes,’ said Netflix product innovation director Patrick Flemming.
‘We want to make discovering your next new favourite series or film even easier, whether you’re connected or not.’
Most shows and series will be available on Download for You, not just Netflix originals, though there are some exceptions due to licensing agreements.
The feature is expected to be popular with subscribers who are travelling, as well as those in regions where cellular connections can be unreliable.
Netflix began testing Download for You on Android in late 2020 and says it will begin working on bringing it to iOS soon.
It’s one of several new features the company is launching this year, including ‘shuffle play,’ which randomly streams a recommended or bookmarked title at the push of a button.
Shuffle Play will be available on connected TVs worldwide in the first half of 2021, Variety reported.
The company is also testing out Watch Timer, aimed at preventing users from drifting off to sleep and missing an important plot point.
Currently being tested with select Android users, it allows you to set an amount of time content will stream before pausing and requiring you to check in.
‘We’re always looking for ways to improve the mobile experience, and we’re excited to make it even easier for members to discover and enjoy new series and films,’ Fleming said.
In November, Netflix launched Direct, a linear service in France that offers a pre-programmed feed of TV shows, movies, and specials, similar to an old-fashioned broadcast network.
Last month it announced a release schedule that will see a new movie, special or series arrive every week of 2021.
The popular streaming service closed out 2020 with more than 200 million paid subscribers worldwide, a milestone aided by popular new series like Bridgerton and a public kept home during the pandemic.
Between October and December alone, the streaming service welcomed 8.51 million new subscribers, beating its own projection of 6 million.
In all, the company reported 203.6 million paid subscribers worldwide in 2020, compared to the 86.8 million garnered by Disney+.