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Netflix Photo
(Netflix Photo)

Binging your favorite shows just got a lot easier.

Netflix this morning announced the much-anticipated ability to download shows and movies for viewing offline. In a blog post Wednesday morning, the company said it has begun offering many titles for download and will add more soon. Right now, the downloadable catalog includes several Netflix original shows, as well as other popular series like The Office.

“While many members enjoy watching Netflix at home, we’ve often heard they also want to continue their Stranger Things binge while on airplanes and other places where Internet is expensive or limited,” Eddy Wu, director of product innovation for Netflix, wrote in the blog post.

The new feature is available for all phones and tablets running iOS and Android through an update of the Netflix app, and downloading programs won’t cost users any extra.

The move brings Netflix on par with one of its chief competitors, Amazon Video. Amazon last year began letting members of the company’s Prime service download programs straight to their devices.

The competition between Netflix, the top dog in the streaming industry, and Amazon has been heating up recently. Amazon is preparing for a global expansion to rival Netflix’s worldwide footprint, which grew to 190 countries earlier this year. In the company’s quarterly letter to shareholders, Netflix acknowledged that Amazon is becoming a global force in the streaming market though research data shows Netflix is still way ahead.

Both streaming companies are spending big on programming as well. A recent study by IHS Markit on television production trends found that Amazon and Netflix both more than doubled spending on new shows in the last two years. Perhaps the biggest example of that is Amazon’s $250 million deal with Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, formerly of Top Gear fame. Their new show, The Grand Tour, premiered earlier this month, and Amazon said the show broke viewership records for a premiere episode on Prime Video and led to the most new Prime membership sign-ups outside of Prime Day.

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