YouTube has announced a new way for viewers to watch videos offline in India. Because many local mobile operators offer discounted rates late at night, YouTube is rolling out a Smart Offline feature, in which the app can automatically download videos during off-peak hours.
The new feature “lets you takes advantage of these cheaper data rates as offered by your mobile operator, without requiring you to stay up late at night,” wrote product manager Jessica Xu in a company blog post. “When you wake up the next morning, your videos will be ready for you to watch offline and on the go, with no buffering.” Smart Offline is currently available for subscribers to two local mobile providers, Airtel and Telenor, though Xu says YouTube hopes to make the feature available to all users nationwide “eventually”.
YouTube first unveiled offline viewing for India, Indonesia, and the Philippines in 2014, in a bid to bolster viewership in mobile-first countries where high-speed, affordable data can be hard to come by. The company then launched offline viewing in Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Yemen, and Algeria in 2015. Once taken offline, videos can be viewed for a total of 48 hours.
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The only way that U.S. users can gain access to offline viewing, however, is by subscribing to YouTube Red — the company’s $10 monthly subscription service, which lets users save videos offline indefinitely.