The other day Cliff Edwards, Director of Corporate Communications at Netflix, was asked about offline Netflix viewing (saving shows to your device so you can watch them whenever, like Spotify and Rdio let you do with songs). His answer was simple: "It's never going to happen."
Edwards calls offline downloads a "short term fix for a bigger problem," and thinks the feature will be irrelevant in five years or so when WiFi is ubiquitous. Obviously, my ears perk up whenever I hear the term "WiFi everywhere." Karma is trying to be part of the solution, by putting WiFi in your pocket.
So, what do we have to look forward to in the next five years that will make every location a haven for Netflix access? For one, current-generation LTE (like the stuff that powers Karma Go) is already fast enough for Netflix. Next-generation LTE could be fast enough for 4K Netflix, if you can handle the phone bill. Thankfully, as capacity grows and the technology matures, wireless internet should get cheaper per gigabyte. WiFi connected to fixed internet wires continues to proliferate as well, like New York's recent plan to convert payphones into hotspots, and Comcast and Time Warner's efforts to turn every home cable modem into a public WiFi access point.
Fast-moving targets like trains and planes will probably be the last to get a perfect Netflix experience, which is disappointing because those seem like the perfect place to curl up with an on demand movie. In the meantime I guess I'll cross a few more titles off my reading list.