Q. My entire family, me, my hubby, and the four kids are all home because of the Coronavirus. We try to spend the time watching Netflix but we have a limited Internet plan so when we are all watching at the same time, the picture often freezes or sputters. Do you have any suggestions on how to fix this? — Melanie, North Beach, Maryland
Melanie, this is a great question. Some families are having issues using the Internet now because everyone is home at the same time to avoid getting the virus! If multiple people are simultaneously using a low-speed Internet plan (top speed of 25 Mbps or less) , it can cause streaming interruptions and delayed video game play.
But there is a way to fix this, Melanie.
You can watch Netflix without the Internet.
Yes, you will be happy to hear that you can watch both TV shows and movies from the Netflix catalog without connecting to the Internet. It’s called downloading, and it’s a relatively simple process. (My eight-year-old daughter does it every day.)
First, you will need one of the following:
* An iPhone, iPad, or iPod running iOS 9.0 or later;
* A phone or tablet running Android 4.4.2 or later;
* An Amazon Fire tablet running Fire OS 4.0 or later, or
* A tablet or computer running the Windows 10 Version 1607 (Anniversary Update) or later.
You can not download a Netflix title for non-Internet viewing on any other device.
But if you have one of the four devices listed above, you’re half way home.
Next, you will need an Internet connection to download the Netflix title, and of course, an active Netflix streaming account. You have the connection, but I would suggest asking your family members to stay off the Internet service for an hour or so while you download some titles. That will ensure a faster download time.
Once connected to Netflix, you can then search for titles that are available for downloading (watching the title offline) by going to the Menu and clicking, ‘Available For Downloads.’ (Note: Not all titles can be downloaded.)
Once you find a title you want, go its description page and click on the download icon, which looks like an arrow pointing down at a line.
If your Internet connection is at least moderately fast, the download should take less than 10 minutes. (By example, I recently downloaded the 90-minute movie, Trolls, in just two minutes using a coffee shop Internet service.)
Once the download is completed, you can access it from the ‘My Downloads’ section of the app you are using to watch Netflix. Click on the ‘Play’ icon next to the title, and it will begin to play, whether you are connected to the Internet or not.
The downloaded title will stay in your Netflix ‘My Downloads’ file so long as it’s available in the Netflix catalog. If the title expires, and is removed from Netflix’s library, it will no longer be available for downloading.
Last note: You can also set the video quality of your download, from standard-definition to 1080p High-Definition. The higher the video quality, the longer it takes to download the show or movie.
After downloading some titles on your family’s tablets, computers and smart phones, you can then all watch Netflix without actually being on the Internet. This will ensure a smooth and pleasurable experience for everyone, including little Jimmy if he decides to use the Net for his video game. He would have the Internet all to himself.
Happy viewing, and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann