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Netflix while on the Road

April 7, 2017
Netflix offline

Over the past few months Netflix has been rolling out a new feature to Apple, Android and Windows devices.  This option is available for the store apps for all three platforms but not the browser version of the Netflix website.  At this time it also may not be available on other hardware platforms like Roku or smart TV’s yet.  Similar options have been available “unofficially” for YouTube so you could download all the most recent episodes of Nomadic Fanatic before going camping.

This is a game changer for people who are on the road and regularly relying on poor or no campground WIFI.  Video streaming is the source of most of the WIFI performance issues in many campgrounds.  One user streaming Breaking Bad can use up a significant portion of the total bandwidth that the campground has.  If several people or a dozen people are trying to watch the current episode of Breaking Bad, Orange is the New Black, or House of Cards, it can bring the entire WIFI for the campground to a grinding halt, making it unusable slow for people just trying to check their email and Facebook not to mention that the stream from Netflix will be unwatchable for most of these people.  This will also save people who rely on a cellular hotspot as their primary internet, particularly people who snowbird or full time.  If you can download your content at free or lest costly WIFI connections, you can queue up a bunch of shows every month and not have to use your cellular data to watch them.  This can save people who spend large amounts of money on data.

Netflix has answered this by offering the ability to download some content to watch offline.  This option is not currently available for all shows or movies, but it looks like all the Netflix Original Series that I checked are available to download.  This allows you to preplan and download shows or episodes at home before you go on a trip, or at a Starbucks while you wait for you Vente Cafe Mocha with non fat milk.

Next time you snowbird in Florida or Texas for the winter or simply go to the closest Nations, Provincial or State park for the long weekend, you can download a catalog of content to your device to watch on those rainy days or late nights.  The only limitation may be the amount of storage space on your device as video content takes a lot of space, but a 32gb tablet should be able to fit a few dozen full length films in HD (depending on available space).  The side effect of this, as more people start using this option, we may see an improvement of campground WIFI speeds as less people rely on the campground WIFI to get their Netflix fix.

I look forward to downloading the next season of House of Cards this spring on my tablet and plan to binge watch episodes in HD on my tablet in the middle of a National Park this summer.

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From → RV Tech

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