Netflix gains playback speed settings on Android

Joanna Estrada
August 1, 2020

Well, it is now possible to do both as Netflix has added playback speed controls to its Android app today.

Netflix first revealed it was testing speed adjustment for content on its platform in 2019, an announcement which was met with backlash from the film industry.

Netflix will allow anyone on an Android mobile device to stream at either 0.5x or 0.75x speeds for slowed-down viewing and 1.25x or 1.5x speeds for faster watching. On the flip side, the playback speed options will be available regardless of whether you're streaming something or watching a show or movie that you have previously downloaded. You will also need to adjust the speed for each TV show or movie individually.

Director and producer Judd Apatow was notably unhappy with the feature, stating that distributors like Netflix "can't change the way content is presented".

The feature is coming to iOS and the web soon, but there are now no plans to make playback speed controls a part of Netflix's TV apps.

Breaking Bad actor Aaron Paul at the time said he believed there was no chance that Netflix would move forward with this feature.

Animation feature heavyweight Brad Bird called it a "spectacularly bad idea" and asked why Netflix supports and finances filmmakers' visions on one hand and destroy the presentation on the other.

"We've also been mindful of the concerns of some creators", a spokesperson from The Verge said. Those are slightly fewer options than YouTube, which allows people to slow all the way down to 0.25x speeds, and speed up by twice the normal playback speed.

According to Netflix's Keela Robison, VP of product innovation, the variable-speed playback was "well received" by customers and a frequently requested feature. It's why we have capped the range of playback speeds and require members to vary the speed each time they watch something new - versus fixing their settings based on the last speed they used. She also pointed out that such features have been available on DVRs and DVD players for years.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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