Downloading and watching Netflix content offline is becoming a “raw deal”

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Late last year, Netflix enabled downloads for offline playback, which was great news for subscribers who travel constantly or who are very mobile. At that time, the function came with some minor drawbacks, like expiration dates for downloads and limited support for microSD storage on Android devices. Now, another limitation with offline playback is causing grumbles making Netflix offline viewing another raw deal in the making. Now, some content can only be downloaded a finite number of times a year.

This was recently discovered by Android Police, where a notification appears without advanced warning, popping up only when you’re about to hit the download threshold. If you try to download after reaching the limit, you’ll receive an error. There has been no exact figure on what this limit is, but it has been estimated at four to five downloads a year. It’s also not Netflix’s fault the limit exists, as we’ve known from day one that it doesn’t own the vast majority of the content it offers, and so, it is constrained to rights holders.

What is incredibly annoying, though, is that there are multiple scenarios where these limits could kick in before you ever watch something offline. Some offline content expires in as little as 48 hours, for example, leaving a short viewing window that can be interrupted by anything you could be doing in your day to day life. So, what about offline content deleted to free up storage that then can’t be re-downloaded?

 It’s worth noting that Netflix does state on a help page regarding downloads: “Due to studio limits, you may not be able to renew all titles. If you are unable to renew a title but would still like to watch it, you’ll need to connect to the internet to stream.”  When downloading content off Netflix next time keep in mind that you have some limitations.
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