NZ ISP sells device for storing Netflix content

But what will Netflix make of it?

Internet service provider Wireless Nation has released the “Nightshift,” a $229 gadget designed to help people on slow internet connections watch Netflix.

It lets you pre-load Netflix shows, rather than doing the usual live streaming – which can be demanding of bandwidth and needs a relatively speedy internet connection.

A lot of Wireless Nation’s business is providing satellite broadband for rural areas, which tends to be slower than urban connections. The idea is you load the TV shows or movies you want to watch the next day overnight – hence “Nightshift.” It means even if your internet connection is only good for standard definition live streaming, you can download shows in HD for later viewing.

Although the gadget was made specifically with satellite broadband users in mind, I wouldn’t mind it on my urban ADSL (copper line) connection, where Netflix can sometimes freeze when traffic congestion hits in the evening.

The Nightshift, which has only appeared on the scene in the past few months, is made by Canadian company Aterlo Networks. It’s a router that plugs into the back of your existing router (the hardware that connects your home to the internet, and feeds your broadband connection to your PCs, smart devices and maybe TV). Nightshift service providers like Wireless National can also integrate NightShift software into the ISP-supplied standard router.

Storage is via a USB thumb drive that you plug into the Nightshift. Wireless Nation is selling the Nightshift bundled with a 32GB thumb drive, which could store around 10 movies in HD but you could substite a higher-capacity stick. When it’s full, oldest content is automatically deleted first. The Nightshift learns, TiVo style, from your Netflix habits. If you stream the first episode of a new season of Orange is the New Black, for example, then it will download the remaining episodes.

Netflix is all about live-streaming. Saving content can complicate rights deals and violate copyright laws (by the letter of the law, even saving a movie too long on your MySky is illegal).

A spokeswoman says Aterlo is seeking official endorsement for Netflix for NightShift.

Netflix acknowledged a query from NBR but is still putting together a response [UPDATE: Netflix had no comment.]

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