Can You Download Netflix Movies & Watch Them Offline?

By J.M. Chanel

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Netflix is a website for renting movies, offering thousands of movies and TV shows on DVD, Blu-ray, and instant streaming video. For a monthly fee, Netflix users can have unlimited access to all of the movies in their database. However, a Netflix membership will not allow you to download movies and watch them when you are not on the Internet.


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Netflix does not offer digital video-on-demand downloads. This is because the site is intended to be a movie rental service that provides a continuous amount of video entertainment to members, not a retailer of digital downloads. However, Netflix does have many options for watching video content.

Netflix Watch Instantly

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Netflix offers thousands of movies and TV shows as streaming video through the "Watch Instantly" section. These video streams cannot be downloaded, but can be played on many different devices. Netflix ready devices include any computer running the Microsoft Silverlight plugin, Apple's iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, Windows Phone 7 smartphones, game consoles, Blu-ray players, HDTVs, home theater systems and digital video players such as Boxee and the Roku Player.

DVD and Blu-ray Rental

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Netflix movies can also be rented on DVD or Blu-ray. Discs are shipped through the mail and include a pre-paid return envelope for when you are ready to rent another movie from Netflix. You can keep the DVD or Blu-ray as long as you would like, though you will have to keep your Netflix membership active. Be aware that you will have to pay an additional fee to activate Blu-ray rentals on your account.

Video-on-Demand Services

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If you do not wish to only rent movies from Netflix and would prefer to pay for digital downloads of movies or TV shows, you should consider using a different service. Many different video-on-demand services are available, including Apple's iTunes Store, Vudu and Amazon Instant Watch.