December is the season for getting out on the road — or in the air, or on the tracks, or maybe even on the water. And during our travels, many of us will carry along an assortment of digital devices.
Here are some tips for entertainment and security when you’re away from your usual home/office Wi-Fi networks.
Watch your Netflix favorites offline
On the last day of November, Netflix announced that it was finally offering offline video viewing, free to subscribers. It was excellent news for anyone wanting video entertainment while away from high-speed broadband.
But the new service was not ubiquitous: some Netflix content — probably newer and more popular shows — will still not allow offline viewing. Also important to know, Netflix’s offline viewing is currently limited to iOS 8.0 and higher and Android 4.4.2 and higher. (You also need to upgrade to the latest Netflix app.) In other words, you can’t call up Netflix in your laptop browser and download a video for viewing offline.
Why mobile devices only? Most likely, it’s because mobile operating systems such as iOS don’t have a true user-friendly file-management systems. That makes it easier for Netflix and other media apps to control access to the downloaded video files.
On my iPad, it took about three minutes to download a 46-minute episode of Doc Martin. The download took about 170MB of space, both on an iPad and iPhone. It did not seem to matter whether my default playback setting on the Netflix site was set to Medium or High resolution. The app’s own Video Quality option was set to Standard by default; changing to High increased the file size of my Doc Martin episode to more than double — 384MB. (You might want to switch the higher resolution if you’re casting the video to a full-sized TV.)
So with the right settings, you can pack hours of entertainment on a typical mobile device, assuming you haven’t soaked up a lot of storage space with music, photos, and videos from sources other than Netflix.