Netflix claims you don’t really want offline video support

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in movies on (#M0VY)
story imageNow that Amazon Prime is allowing offline video playback on iOS and Android devices, Netflix needs a better explanation for why it won’t do the same. Previously, Netflix has argued that fast, ubiquitous Wi-Fi access would eventually make offline playback irrelevant. But in 2015, on-the-go users still struggle with getting connected, whether it’s on a plane with Wi-Fi that’s too slow, or in a car where a few hours of streaming on mobile broadband can burn through your data cap.

Unfortunately, Netflix’s new excuse is even worse. Speaking to Gizmodo, Netflix Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt argued that offline playback is just too complex for people to handle. He described this as the “Paradox of Choice,” explaining that when you give people too many options, they end up not choosing anything at all. Netflix apparently believes offline playback would result in this sort of paralysis. In lieu of crippling users with choice, Hunt said Netflix could install local media servers on airplanes, trains, or hotels, so users can stream without an Internet connection. Can Netflix really install its entire catalog in local servers on every means of public transport? Besides which, Netflix is still talking about things it would like to do in theory, while Amazon is providing a service that’s actually useful right now.

Good to see coverage, but nothing really new (Score: 2, Informative)

by wootery@pipedot.org on 2015-09-13 15:57 (#MAKN)

I like that this issue is getting some attention, but there's nothing particularly new here: Netflix have, for some time, given bullshit answers to this question.

And we can be pretty certain that people do want offline playback. Wuaki managed it, and it's now a selling-point for them.

The strangest thing about all this is the way it's happening now. As our Internet connections get faster and faster, and data-caps go up, the question of offline playback is of ever-decreasing importance. This would've meant a lot more to me five years ago than now.
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