Where does Netflix store the offline downloads?

Netflix announced a few months back that subscribers will be able to download select movies and TV shows for offline playback. The feature had been requested by users for a long time, and it’s reportedly been in the works since June. Now, anyone with a Netflix subscription can download movies and TV shows to watch when they’re not connected to the internet.

How to start downloading movies

You can only download Netflix videos using the iOS or Android app. Netflix requires users to have the iOS 8.0 or later and Android 4.4.2 or later, in addition to having the latest version of the app. Downloading videos will consume about as much data as streaming, so if you plan on saving a bunch of videos, we’d recommend connecting to a reliable WiFi connection to prevent any unexpected mobile data charges.

Where are they stored?

C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Local\Packages\4DF9E0F8.Netflix_mcm4njqhnhss8\LocalState\offlineInfo\downloads

Where c: is your system drive and Username gets replaced with the user you are logged in with.

Once you navigate to the above directory, you will see all downloaded movies and TV shows. Netflix doesn’t use descriptive names for downloaded contents, so you cannot identify them. However, the size of the file might give you some clue. The biggest catch is that these contents cannot be opened with media players like VLC or GOM Player.

Black Mirror said it first: You aren’t anything if you aren’t online!

According to a Netflix spokesperson,

“The downloads can only be viewed within the Netflix mobile app; they aren’t like videos you download from the internet and store to your device.” It’s safe to say this is a digital rights management (DRM) scheme to protect the copyrights of videos being offered.

Please bear in mind that Netflix app will not recognize or play contents if you rename or change the files. So, don’t try to rename downloaded Netflix contents.

The whole reason this entire concept of the offline storage and playback took THIS long to implement is Netflix had to spend years finding out every possible way this kind of functionality could and more than likely would be exploited for people to steal the media content and then re-distribute it aka pirate it. The system they’ve created now that’s rolling out is pretty damned bulletproof from every research report I’ve read about it so far and they spent almost 8 months in a beta program asking people to hack the hell out of it and rip ’em off for that content and so far as I’m aware nobody was ever successful in their attempts and I’m pretty certain some very talented coders/developers and “hackers” went to work on that system with nothing positive for all their efforts.

Sure, it’s entirely possible someone might find a particular exploit that could potentially make it a snap or even a click or two to decrypt and break the DRM on the local content once it’s downloaded – we already know Netflix streams can be captured, so even with all the time and expense put into this new functionality it could eventually get itself cracked pretty fast, or never, that remains to be seen.

Advertisements