How to Download Movies and TV Shows from Netflix

Netflix may be the king of streaming media services, but that doesn’t mean they can rest on their laurels. There are a slew of streaming platforms out there, all competing for superiority and your hard-earned dollars. With the announcement that Amazon will be making some of their content available for download, Netflix users uttered a collective sigh. For years Netflix users have been crying out for this feature, and finally their wishful thinking has become a reality. Recently Netflix announced that users will be able to download movies and TV shows for offline viewing.

This feature is a blessing for Netflix junkies who have to endure long periods without an Internet connection. Can you imagine a flight without bingeing on Orange is the New Black? Now you don’t have to.

At the time of this writing, downloading movies and TV shows from Netflix requires the following:

  • An iPhone, iPad, or iPod running iOS 8.0 or later
  • A phone or tablet running Android 4.4.2 or later
  • The latest version of the Netflix app for iOS or Android

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Note: Currently, Netflix only supports downloading content to Android and iOS devices. It also goes without saying that you need to have an active Netflix account. In addition, you need to have an Internet connection to download from Netflix. Downloading a video consumes roughly the same amount of data as streaming, so be aware of any data caps you may have.

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Unfortunately, not every title in the Netflix catalog can be downloaded for offline viewing. Finding TV shows and movies that are available for downloading can be done in one of two ways. First, open the Netflix app on your iOS or Android device. From here you can use the search function to manually search for titles. T’he ones that are available to download will have an icon that looks like an arrow pointing downward.

If you just want to browse all of the titles you can download, tap on the menu icon within the Netflix app. You should see an option labelled “Available to Download.” Tapping on that will bring you to a screen showcasing a variety of titles, all of which can be downloaded.

When you’ve found something that piques your interest, select it by tapping on its icon. You will be brought to the detailed description page of the title you selected. You should see a download icon that looks like an arrow pointing downward. Tapping on the arrow will initiate the download of that title, and a blue progress bar will appear along the bottom.

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When your download is finished, you’ll see a little blue icon next to the title. In order to watch it, you’ll have to tap on the menu icon again. From here you’ll see a menu entry called “My Downloads.” Go ahead and tap on that. This will bring you to a screen showing you all of the titles you have downloaded to that device. Simply tap on one of them to watch it. That’s it!

Streaming video can chew up a lot of bandwidth, so it should come as no surprise that downloading video eats its fair share as well. When downloading videos from Netflix (or even streaming them for that matter), it is important to consider this for two reasons: data usage and storage space.

With streaming video, your content plays instantaneously. However, with downloading, you will have to wait for the entire TV show or movie to finish downloading before you can watch it. Additionally, large files (like video) consume more storage space. Because digital video files are fairly large, you’ll have to monitor your data usage. Obviously this isn’t as much of a concern for someone who has unlimited data, but as we’ve mentioned before, downloading large files can have negative effects on your network.

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For those who want to save bandwidth, storage space or are just impatient, Netflix allows users to choose what video quality they prefer when downloading. Currently there are two options, Standard and Higher. Standard is a lower quality video; however, it will be a smaller file size, cutting down on bandwidth usage and storage space. It will also take a shorter amount of time to download. Higher is a better resolution; however, it will eat up more bandwidth and storage space in addition to taking a longer time to download.

To change the quality of your Netflix downloads, tap on the menu icon in the Netflix app. Find the option labelled App Settings and scroll down to Downloads. Underneath the Downloads heading you will see “Video Quality.” Tapping that will present you with the Standard and Higher options. Select the one that best suits your needs.

We mentioned before how the entire Netflix catalog is not available to download. So what happens when you’re about to head out on a long road trip and find out you can’t download the movies you want to bring with you? If you really can’t be without those titles, then there are workarounds. They require you to use screen recording software, so you essentially have to stream the movie or TV show in its entirety while you record.

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We’re not condoning this method, as it is against Netflix’s terms and agreements. If you want more information regarding this method, you can do so with a quick search in your favorite search engine. Just be aware that if you absolutely have to download something that isn’t available through the official built-in app, you do so at your own risk.

Have you used the built-in download feature of the Netflix app? What do you think of it? Do you have any gripes with it? Let us know in the comments!

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