Today, Hulu announced that it’s introducing Downloads, a new feature on its iOS app that lets you download shows and movies for offline viewing. Which means, friends, that your flights will never again be the same. You heard me. No more relying on Gogo Inflight or [insert airline name here]’s shoddy on-flight entertainment service to keep you occupied while airborne.
Here’s how it works: If you have the Hulu plan with no ads, which costs either $11.99/month or $50.99/year, you’ll now have access to a Downloads tab within the iOS app (available on the iPhone and iPad). From here, you can click “See What’s Downloadable,” where there are thousands of titles available to be downloaded to your device for offline watch, free of additional charge. It’s worth noting that the entire Hulu catalog isn’t available for download, though favorites like The Handmaid’s Tale, Shrill, and How I Met Your Mother are. You can download up to 25 shows or movies across five devices, though after 30 days, your download will expire (but you can always renew it). This new feature will also be coming to Android soon, according to the press release.
But Hulu isn’t the only one that offers downloadable content. Netflix released its own Downloads feature in 2016, and has since taken it a step further with Smart Downloads, a feature that automatically deletes an episode once you’ve finished watching it and downloads the next one (only when your device is connected to wifi). Netflix’s downloads work just like Hulu’s — in the Downloads tab, you can click Find More To Download and go to town. All you need is an internet connection at the time of downloading (as you do with Hulu) as well as a Netflix account, and you can store up to 100 titles at a time. As far as what’s available to download, almost all the good stuff is — including all Netflix Originals — but according to Netflix’s website, sometimes Netflix doesn’t have the rights to offer another studio’s content for download, which explains the few gaps.
And there’s yet another streaming giant whose content was recently made available for offline viewing. HBO, which joins basically every other streaming service and channel (besides Netflix) on Apple’s new Apple TV Channels, has also made offline downloads available for the first time ever. The new Channels offering on Apple’s redesigned TV app (available on iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV) is basically like a home base for all of your subscriptions — including HBO, Starz, Showtime, Smithsonian Channel, EPIX, Tastemade, CBS All-Access, and MTV Hits — except you don’t need separate log-in credentials for each one. And all of the content is available for offline download — including HBO’s entire catalog. Which means you can watch Kendall Roy rap on Succession over and over again, regardless of whether you have wifi or a cellular connection. And also, once Apple TV+, Apple’s original content streaming service, comes out on November 1 (for $4.99/month or free for a year with purchase of a new iPhone, Mac, or Apple TV), you can download all those shows and movies as well for offline viewing — including The Morning Show, which I honestly cannot wait for.
But if you’d like to opt into the new Apple TV Channels service and already subscribe to any of its included streaming services or channels, you’ll have to end your subscriptions and re-subscribe through Apple TV Channels. Sounds like a pain, I know, but ultimately it’s worth it for ability to sign in with just your Apple ID.
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