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If you’re on the way to a family holiday celebration, make sure you’ve got enough entertainment to keep kids of all ages busy on the long car ride, flight, or visit. Download your favorite shows and movies ahead of time, so you’re not stuck streaming video over a cellular connection. Here’s how to download your favorites on four of the most popular streaming services.
Netflix will let you download most movies and shows in the vast library of content using the app. The entertainment giant negotiates rights for streaming and download, so some titles aren’t eligible for download. You can identify which titles are eligible by looking for the small arrow icon next to the title of the show or movie. Netflix Originals are always eligible for download. If you’re out of the country, you’ll find out that downloaded content from Netflix doesn’t always work. International laws regulate what users can watch. Eligibility is determined by your home country membership and your geographical location. You’ll get a notification directly in the app regarding viewing limitations if they apply.
How to download Netflix movies and shows
You can access your downloads from a dedicated tab at the bottom of the screen. Netflix licenses titles for limited engagements, so the library of available movies changes quickly. When a title expires from the service, it will disappear from your downloads, as well. Netflix limits subscribers to 100 shows and movies on a single device. Limits also apply to how many devices can watch content simultaneously, depending on your subscription plan.
You can download 25 episodes or movies at a time from Hulu’s extensive streaming library as long as you subscribe to Hulu’s ad-free $11.99/month plan or the equivalent ad-free plan on Hulu + Live TV. Licensing restrictions apply to some titles or episodes, so not everything in the content library is downloadable. Subscribers can only view content simultaneously on five devices.
It’s easy to identify downloadable titles by browsing through See What’s Downloadable, or simply look for the Download icon on the details page next to the video.
Downloadable content is available for iOS, Android, and Amazon Fire TV mobile devices. You can choose between SD and HD for each title to maximize storage capabilities. For the best performance, make sure you have the latest version of device OS and the most updated version of the Hulu app.
Download a movie or episode on Hulu
You can access your downloads from a dedicated tab at the bottom of the screen. Once you start watching a title in your downloaded queue, you’ll have 48 hours to finish watching before it expires. Unwatched titles expire 30 days from download unless the title leaves Hulu’s streaming library before that date.
Watch downloaded shows and movies on your phone or tablet using the Disney Plus app. Since you never know if you’ll have a strong internet connection on the road, downloading in advance on your home Wi-Fi is your best bet.
Disney Plus doesn’t limit the number of titles you can store and watch offline, so you can download a mini library of your own, or watch the same movie repeatedly. Subscribers are limited to ten devices simultaneously while watching downloads. Other than that, you can download and watch as much content as you can fit on your device.
How to download Disney Plus movies and shows
Once the download finishes, you can enjoy your show offline from anywhere. You'll see all downloaded titles and can archive or delete them as needed.
Amazon Prime subscribers can download the Prime Video app for iOS or Android to watch offline shows and movies. Amazon Fire tablet owners can access titles quickly by tapping Prime Video on the home screen. Like most services, Amazon has tricky licensing restrictions that determine when and how titles are available.
Most U.S. subscribers can download 25 videos at once. Some titles have viewing time limits, after which they expire and aren’t available on your device. Subscribers can download certain titles in the U.S. but, unlike Netflix, Amazon doesn’t limit playback of downloaded videos while you’re abroad. So, you can download selected Prime titles to play offline while you're traveling abroad without worrying about country restrictions.
If you intend to download 25 titles, limit the size of the files by downloading in standard definition instead of high definition. A 2-hour movie in standard definition takes up about a ½ GB, while the HD version is closer to 1GB. You’ll be able to fit twice the shows and movies on your device. It’s unlikely you’ll notice the difference in resolution if you’re watching it on a small device. Kindle Fire devices allow you to download video on an external microSD card, so you don’t have to worry about storage capabilities.
How to download a video on Amazon Prime Video
Any video that is eligible for download has a Download button on the details page.
Watch your favorite shows and movies offline anywhere by downloading a small library to your devices ahead of time. Remember that TV shows and movies have complex licensing agreements, so you might not be able to download every title. Make sure you have the latest version of all of the apps before you hit the road, as downloads typically only work with the most recent app version.
Megan Southard is a writer, mom, technology enthusiast, and movie junkie. She dreads the day her kids have to explain gadgets to her and is old enough to say, "I was the remote for our TV growing up."
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