Being unplugged from the outside world may be the perfect time to catch up on shows that you haven’t had time to watch. But there are requirements, not all subscriptions allow downloading, and not all content can be downloaded. It depends on the service and the app.
Disney+ allows downloading on almost any title, as does Apple TV+, Max, and Peacock. These services include a Download button on the show’s information page. Prime Video and Max simplify it with a one-button download of an entire TV show season.
Other services have a restricted list, including Disney’s sister company Hulu. Tap Downloads in the mobile app. It displays what has already been downloaded and a link to “See what’s downloadable.” Paramount + also has a list of shows. While limited, you can choose a video from pages of movies and TV shows, including most new releases and popular titles.
Netflix’s website explains why some titles can’t be downloaded. Movies and TV shows can be downloaded by tapping a button on a video’s details page. Netflix explains that a title’s availability can vary. It may be due to exclusive content rights held by another company, unavailability of rights to purchase from the content provider, or factors like popularity, cost, season, localized conditions, or other availability constraints. Grey’s Anatomy is an example of a show that can’t be downloaded.
Some Netflix original TV shows or movies also can’t be downloaded. Given that it is Netflix’s material, it’s hard to believe. Still, some TV shows and movies are produced with a studio that owns the franchise or intellectual property. These shows are licensed to stream but not to download.
Netflix downloads appear on the app’s main screen, with each title displaying its file size. For instance, the movie A Man Called Otto requires 567 MB for a standard download, which typically uses about .25 GB per hour. In contrast, the higher video quality version of the same film consumes 1.85 GB per hour.
Netflix can automatically download content. When enabled, it will download the next episode of a show or recommended movies and TV shows based on your viewing habits. You can toggle on these options in the Smart Downloads section of the app. Here you can also indicate the maximum number of gigabytes to download, so you don’t use up all of your mobile device’s storage.
Whereas Netflix downloads more content than you’ve chosen, Hulu limits the time you can watch a downloaded video. You must watch the video within 30 days of downloading or within 2 days after starting playback. While a show can’t be played after the time restrictions, you can easily renew a title anytime.
YouTube TV also lets you move recordings from the cloud DVR to a device. Only one video can be downloaded at a time—which could be a problem if you are camping in the boonies for several days. The feature is only available to users with the monthly 4K Plus add-on to their YouTubeTV subscription ($20 per month).
Downloading shows is a premium feature that’s typically unavailable on entry-level subscription tiers. Most plans allow downloading only on their premium or no-ads tiers. For Netflix, that starts at $15.49 per month. Disney+ premium begins at $11 monthly (soon increasing to $14).
If you prefer other videos, offline access to watch Vimeo, YouTube, TikTok, Facebook, or Twitch videos is available with the 4k Downloader Plus app. The app downloads public videos to a Mac, PC, or Android mobile device. There’s a starter package for $15 a year. Personal use lifetime membership runs $25.
The beauty of downloading content is that as long as you have battery life in your mobile device, there will be no buffering or cutting out issues when driving along in a car. It will also reduce your wireless data usage if you do not have an unlimited plan. It’s perfect for kids watching videos on long road trips or drowning out traffic noise near the campground, or to keep you entertained on long flights.
Here are a few other things to know:
• It’s crucial to manage storage on your device when downloading content. Most streaming apps allow users to select the download quality, which impacts the storage space consumed. Periodically checking and deleting watched content can free up space and optimize your device’s performance. Some apps even have features that delete watched episodes automatically.
• While downloading content will save on data consumption during playback, remember that the actual download requires data if not done over Wi-Fi. Always ensure you’re on a stable and unmetered connection to avoid unexpected data charges.
• For those traveling abroad, some content might be region-restricted. Downloading desired content before you travel can help ensure uninterrupted access to your favorite shows and movies, even if they’re not available in the country you’re visiting.