(Credit: ​Screenshot: Download.com/Tom McNamara)

Netflix added a feature to its Android app called Smart Downloads today that will let it automatically download the next episode of a TV show that you've been watching. Previously downloaded episodes will be deleted automatically to avoid taking up too much space on your phone or tablet.

SEE: Ranking Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video Streaming Apps in 2018

To view this setting in the app, tap on the More button in the lower right, tap on App Settings, and head down to the Downloads section. On our Pixel phone, the new Smart Downloads feature was actually toggled on by default. This is something to be aware of if you regularly re-watch show episodes that you want to keep on your device, a habit that's particularly popular with fans of The Office, Parks & Recreation, and other long-running shows whose memes just seem to keep on trucking.

(Credit: @The.Office.Alliance)

The Download Video Quality setting is also set to Standard by default. If your Android device screen has a resolution of 1080p or higher, and you've got a few GB of storage to spare, we recommend bumping that up to High. Unfortunately, the app isn't specific about how much better the image quality is, only that it uses more storage and takes longer to download. But it should make a noticeable difference on a 1080p+ tablet.

Of course, if you're using the Netflix app to cast to your TV (because streaming video mobile apps tend to be much easier to navigate than a native TV app), then neither download setting matters. That's because the TV will be getting the video straight from the streaming service, rather than from your phone or tablet.

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If you're on an unfamiliar Wi-Fi network, you can use a tool within the Netflix app to check your connection speed. On that App Settings screen, just keep scrolling down to the Diagnostics section, then tap on Check Network to look for potential issues nearby.

Then you can do the Internet Speed Test to see how fast your connection is to Netflix's streaming servers. The speed test will open a web browser window that takes you to Fast.com, which is run by Netflix; the company claims that it's more accurate than the Comcast-owned SpeedTest.net.

Takeaways

  1. With Netflix now hitting $14 a month for the top tier -- which is the only one that will get you its 4K streams -- the video service is reaching HBO levels of priciness. So added features like Smart Downloads can take some of the sting out, if you watch a lot on mobile devices.
  2. The Smart Downloads feature is enabled by default, so you may actually want to disable it if you like to hang on to episodes after you've watched them.

Also see

Tom is the senior editor covering Windows at Download.com.