The new feature will have your smartphone or tablet automatically delete an episode of a TV series once you've watched it, and quietly download the next episode of that series in the background. But Netflix's director of product innovation, Cameron Johnson, says the company isn't intelligent enough to start predicting content you might want to watch. "Today, downloads is a manual process - you have to download [TV episodes] one at a time, then delete them".
The feature is flawless for those who love binge watching TV shows, don't want to burn through their data allowance, and certainly do not like the process of going through the download process manually.
Additionally, the feature is only available on Android devices for now, though it is safe to assume it will be landing on iOS in the foreseeable future. When the Netflix app detects that an episode of a TV show has been watched, it will download a new episode and delete the old episode only when the device is connected to a Wi-Fi connection.
Essentially, Netflix subscribers will now have increased control over their entertainment experience and the Smart Downloads feature is entirely optional to use.
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Smart Downloads is initially available on Android phones and tablets.
Smart Downloads can be turned off straight from the app's settings if you like. Imagine you download an episode or two of Stranger Things at home and watch it on the subway ride to work.
For now, the feature is limited to TV shows. "Whether it is smart downloading or viewing a mobile preview, we realise the best part of Netflix is connecting with the stories you will love in an easier and more fun way", he said. "We're taking the point of view to not be presumptuous and let people choose for themselves".