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Amazon Prime gets one over on Netflix with offline viewing

Amazon Prime Video downloads

Amazon makes films and TV shows available to download on Android and iOS devices

Amazon has struck a potentially decisive blow against Netflix by allowing Prime subscribers to download videos and watch them offline on mobile devices. The service comes at no extra charge and will be available on iPhones, iPads and Android phones and tablets. 

Netflix has long turned its nose up at the idea of allowing viewers to watch content offline, with senior executives at the firm proclaiming “it‘s never going to happen” as recently as last December. Clearly sensing an opportunity, Amazon has now decided to offer offline playback in the latest version of its mobile apps, having trialled downloads with owners of Kindle Fire tablets for the past few months. 

Rights issues prevent Amazon from offering all of its Prime content for download, but all of the company’s Original Series – including the highly regarded Transparent – are available for offline viewing, as well as a selection of films and television series made by third parties. Films available to download inlcude The Imitation GameMan of Steel and Paddington. Parents will be particularly pleased to see kids series such as Peppa Pig available for download, helping to avoid back seat tantrums on long journeys. 

The Download buttons appear in each film’s or television series’ details page when using the Amazon Video app, although it appears that those who get Amazon Prime via another family member’s account are not given the option to download videos. Irritatingly, Android users can only install the Amazon Video app from Amazon’s own Appstore and not Google Play.

Amazon’s app provides range of download quality settings to choose from, but there are merely labelled as Good, Better or Best and give no indication of the bitrates or download sizes being applied.

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