Thanks a bunch, Netflix – its Windows app is about to lose downloads but gain ads

Thanks a bunch, Netflix – its Windows app is about to lose downloads but gain ads

Netflix has managed to annoy a good number of its users with an announcement about an upcoming update to its Windows 11 (and Windows 10) app: support for adverts and live events will be added, but the ability to download content is being taken away.

As reported by MSPowerUser, that means no more offline viewing if you’re on a Windows device, something Netflix users are understandably upset about on Reddit. It essentially means the Windows app will be little more than a wrapper for the Netflix website.

Netflix hasn’t given any reason for ditching downloads on Windows: when Windows Latest asked about it they were simply directed to the relevant support document, which confirms that a new app is “coming soon”, without the download option.

“While downloads will no longer be supported, you can continue to watch TV shows and movies offline on a supported mobile device,” the Netflix document says – so you’re just going to have to make do with a smaller screen on your travels.

In it for the money

Netflix users have been seeing pop-ups like this (Image credit: MSPowerUser)

It’s possible that the move means Netflix can save some money on licensing, which may cost extra if downloads are included – enabling users to take shows and movies around with them and watch them without an internet connection.

However, Netflix must realize that it’s a huge frustration for people who relied on offline downloads to watch content without internet access: on planes, trains, and campsites, and anywhere else where Wi-Fi is unavailable or unreliable.

If you’re still keen to watch Netflix offline on a laptop, you might consider picking up one of the best Chromebooks: you can install the Netflix Android app on Chrome OS, and download titles that way. However, the video resolution maxes out at 720p.

There’s a small chance that Netflix will change its mind if it gets enough complaints, but the streaming service seems determined to add as many money-making features as possible, while taking away genuinely useful ones.

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David Nield

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