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Get your hopes up: Netflix offline viewing is a possibility

Netflix may be known for video streaming, but letting subscribers download content for offline viewing is apparently not out of the realm of possibility. During the company’s first quarter 2016 earnings call on Monday, CEO Reed Hastings revealed his opinion that Netflix should “keep an open mind” on the issue, reports Variety.

If your hopes of never having to be Netflix-less mid-flight have skyrocketed, no one can blame you. That said, Hastings didn’t announce any actual plans. His comment came in response to a question about why Netflix doesn’t provide its users with the ability to view content offline, much as Amazon Prime Video does.

Still, the CEO’s openness to the idea is promising, especially considering that the company seemed to have a more antagonistic stance in the past. As Variety points out, Netflix execs have previously been dismissive of the idea, arguing that there wasn’t any need given how easy it is to remain connected in the U.S. (Have they never endured the struggle of flying somewhere without Wi-Fi or in-flight Netflix provided by the airline?)

With Netflix expanding across the globe, though, the situation has changed. Hastings described “an uneven set of networks” around the world, and the company seems to realize that what works for subscribers stateside might not pass muster overseas. In countries where network speeds are slower, consumers may have a greater need for the ability to download a video to watch later.

There’s a lot here that remains to be seen, of course. Netflix may never take the plunge, and even if it does, there’s no guarantee that the streamer would roll out offline viewing across all markets; the U.S. itself could forever remain a Netflix download desert. We can’t help but hold out hope for the game-changing measure, though.

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