Netflix 7.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 001)

Amazon recently delighted its iOS-toting users by allowing offline viewing of Prime Instant Video movies and television shows, but don’t count on Netflix offering the same feature anytime soon.

Gizmodo reached out to Netflix and asked the company why it won’t change its firm stance that it’s not going to offer offline downloads through its mobile applications and the official company line is eyebrow-raising.

The streaming entertainment company apparently doesn’t think its users are tech-savy enough to handle the complexity the added choice will bring.

“I think it’s something that lots of people ask for. We’ll see if it’s something lots of people will use,” said Neil Hunt, Netflix’s Chief Product Officer.

“I still don’t think it’s a very compelling proposition,” he continued. Hunt has even coined the term for this, he’s calling it the “Paradox of Choice”.

“One of the things I’ve learned is that every time you offer a choice, you paralyse some people who can’t decide if that’s what they want to do or not,” his lukewarm response has it. “Now, that sounds really stupid and self-serving, but it is in fact true.”

And in what files as the most knee-jerk reaction to Amazon’s decision to allow offline playback in its iOS application, Hunt calls Amazon’s move a feature that adds “considerable complexity to your life with Amazon Prime”.

And why is that?

Because people have to remember that they want to download a movie.

“It’s not going to be instant, you have to have the right storage on your device, you have to manage it, and I’m just not sure people are actually that compelled to do that, and that it’s worth providing that level of complexity,” he said.

Instead of allowing offline playback, Hunt is proposing putting rack boxes with Netflix content in airplane servers or some such to make Netflix “work on a plane, can we make it work on a train and in hotels.”

Either Netflix is underestimating the intelligence of its users or the company is short on convincing responses. Either way, holding out on offline payback is only going to make it more painful to realize that customers are demanding it.

I mean, who wouldn’t want to enjoy their entertainment without an Internet connection?

Truth be told, content owners don’t allow Amazon to just make any video available for offline playback. And if some content isn’t licensed for download, non-techies are most likely to be confused as to why this is so.

Source: Gizmodo

  • Slifur

    Please help! I know it’s an off topic but please! It’s been days since this problem occurred. I can’t download any app! Sometimes it’s just stock to loading then if I try to pause and play, it’s just the same. I’ve tried to google but still no luck even after doing like login logout to AppStore, renew lease the wifi and restore many times. I even sacrifice my jailbroken status and just update to iOS 8.4.1 to think it will resolved my problem! Here’s a print screen. Help please help!

    • Connecting Mac User 

      I don’t know or have encountered a problem of this magnitude if you already did all the things you said here. By the way, what iDevice are you using? Did you try using a different apple account? What about your ISP (Internet service provider)? (Sometimes problem like this comes from your Internet provider).

      If you have tried different Apple account and possibly try downloading on other network and still problem persist.. then you should contact Apple care. But you should try different Apple ID and also try other network and see what happens. Hope this will help.

    • Manuel Molina

      Sounds like your account. If you did a clean restore without backing up your data, I would suggest
      – using a different Internet
      – checking your phone is able to download bookmarks or something else using phone or wifi internet
      – sign off the App Store and check its settings
      – do a clean restore without backing anything up

      Wish you luck and hope that helps.

    • Elias Chao

      I’ve read in other blogs about people having problems to download apps from the app store (my downloads has been working just fine). Could be some problem with Apple servers. Not sure though.

    • Chris Gaunt

      I had this problem, and deleting the app by pressing and holding till the icons wiggled didn’t work. But for me it was just one app. The solution that worked for me was deleting the offending app in settings. Settings>general>usage>manage storage (under storage not iCloud). Tap on the offending apps and then tap delete. Try it.

  • Jamessmooth

    Um… What?

  • QuarterSwede

    My wife uses this type of offline video storage but I’ve never thought about it before wanting to watch something. She is extremely organize and plans everything and I don’t. Most people are like me and not her. I don’t think it’s worth Netflix’s resources myself. Good business call.

    • Bangali

      Speak for yourself bro..Im not like u..I prefer to download movies and such so I can watch it on the way to work or at lunch etc when I don’t have WifI..I am not willing to spend all my data on netflix every month and I am actually considering Prime now..

      • Elias Chao

        I would love to download movies or series to my device, but Netflix is doing right for now. It would be very confusing for non-techy people if they couldn’t download every movie they want. It’s all because of content owners.

      • Bangali

        fair point, but Sky Go has this feature and explains why you can’t download certain movies, and in my experience with friends and family, it works..it might be different as a whole, but my experience tells me it will be popular, certainly I would use it..

    • smtp25

      What resources would it require of Netflix? you store the videos on your device, they just need to have a download link instead of stream. Also if they trickle it down to you they can better manage peaks of bandwidth requirements

      • QuarterSwede

        More than you realize. Netflix’s entire infrastructure was built for streaming not downloading. It’s not just coding that needs to be changed.

  • M_Hawke

    I think that Netflix is overestimating THEIR intelligence. Or rather underestimating their un-intelligence. (Remember the great decision to separate DVD and streaming into two businesses?) I wouldn’t have minded hearing a simple “We’ve just decided that it isn’t currently within our business model to offer that.” But no, Hunt has to give some lame-brained answer that borders on an insult.

  • Kingjay

    Usually “Paradox of Choice” occurs when there are so many choices it paralyzes the consumer. An example would be researching life insurance and coming across a 1000 possible policies, all with different features and requirements. However, 2 or 3 choices won’t paralyze most people. As far as storage is concerned, Netflix could have it set to delete after a period of time or after playback.

  • Manuel Molina

    Slow news day before the presentation I see…

  • Vince Reedy

    Tim Cook makes call to Netflix:
    Please don’t allow this, our crappy 16gb storage option will blow up in our face.

  • Jon20

    I think they are not doing it because their success is based on how many people are actively streaming the content. If people just saved the media to their hardware to watch later, they would never really be online to watch it and that would effect their business as a whole. Plus I’m sure there are some “content rights” and other legal issues that are a part of it as well. I for one think they should allow it. Considering how stingy these carriers are with data plans and how much of it can get used on steaming videos, they should offer this. Especially since technically we are paying a subscription.

  • Ali

    Simple solution: Just have a poll on main page: “Do you want offline viewing or not?” Decide based on results.

  • Anthony

    I would love offline viewing for Netflix, even if just to avoid streaming problems. I’m on Sky broadband in UK (not really out of choice, f.u. Murdock!) and it is useless. Netflix all-too-regularly drops to blocky as hell during a film due to network slow downs. I’d happily wait to start watching a show until it had downloaded.

    Plus viewing on the road as well..

    • John

      Really? My sky broadband is awesome. Hitting upload speeds of 24mpbs and download speeds of 44mpbs and only pay £10 a month for it.

      • Anthony

        Lucky you – I get 4.11 Mb/s download, 0.90 Mb/s upload, and pay more than that!

        Do you ever see the netflix blockiness? If you have no problems then that would at least suggest it is my local part of the network that is the problem, rather than Sky doing something nefarious to make their competition look bad 🙂 Yes, I think Murdoch is basically a shit bond villain.

        [I’m moving house soon, hopefully, so will see what options I’ve got in the new place – hopefully with better wiring]

      • John

        Whoa. Yea I’d be pissed as well. I agree. Murdoch is low of the low. I’ve also been arguing with sky when they bill me a month in advance and then when I miss a payment they suspend my services. Even though I have actually paid for that month in advance. Proper rip off scum when it comes to TV but I can’t fault my broadband the give me. Nope don’t have any Netflix blockiness. Works perfect for me

  • Oh yes, having to download a movie would add SO much inconvenience to my life.

  • urrl

    Ran across something while at a hotel. I use this little HDMI converter with my iPhone 6+ on the hotel TV expecting to watch Xfinity live TV but there is a little message on the TV saying in so many words “sorry but you can only watch on your mobile device”. So I whip out my laptop and connect via HDMI and I am able to watch Xfinity live TV. WHAT is that? How ridiculous is that? So laughable.
    But yeah it’s sad Netflix is doing that.

  • smtp25

    @Christian
    I’m sure your just playing devils advocate but your reasoning for agreeing with then is lame at best. Yes users would have to manage free space, but they app could easily tell them how much room they have left and they could delete within the app. People already need to manage space as they download apps.

    Licensing; yes good point but then you blow it by saying people would be confused. Surely a note to say ‘Not available for download due to license restrictions imposed by Movie company’ would surfice