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Amazon Prime Video adds offline viewing in iOS update

Amazon has raised the bar for functionality in its streaming video race against Netflix, giving iOS users the ability to download movies and television shows to their devices for offline viewing on their iPhone or iPad.

The e-commerce giant announced the move on Monday, and Prime members in the U.S., UK, Germany and Austria will be the first to benefit. Not all content is eligible for offline access, but there will be no extra charge for the privilege.

Eligible titles include Amazon's original series Transparent, major network shows like 24 and Downton Abbey, and movies such as Anchorman 2 and Star Trek Into Darkness. Some older HBO series are also available, including Entourage and The Wire.

"There's no doubt that the way people watch entertainment is changing--anytime, anywhere viewing is important and we are excited to provide our Prime members with offline viewing capabilities on iOS and Android platforms starting today," Amazon digital video chief Michael Paull said in a release. "We are proud to be the first and only online subscription streaming service that enables offline viewing--on vacation, in a car, at the beach, on a plane, wherever our Prime members want to watch they can, regardless of internet connection."

Offline access is included in version 3.2 of the Amazon Video app, which is available now as a free, 34.3-megabyte download.