Netflix is letting people choose the speed at which they want to watch something on their phone or tablet with the new playback controls.
Netflix will allow anyone on an Android device to move at 0.5x or 0.75x for slower viewing and 1.25x or 1.5x faster for faster viewing. These are slightly fewer options than YouTube, which allows people to slow down the path to 0.25x speed and double the normal playback speed. Playback speed options are also available on downloaded titles that people have saved for offline viewing.
Subscribers must decide to use the playback speed with every single title they want to watch; will not remain active only when you select something else to view. This prevents people from accidentally viewing everything at 1.5x speed if they do not want to. The feature is ending tomorrow and will be available to everyone globally over the coming weeks.
Netflix announced that it was testing the feature in 2019 and was received with feedback from the Hollywood creative community. Actor Aaron Paul and director Brad Bird spoke out against Netflix’s decision to introduce reproduction controls, and director Judd Apatow tweeted that Tweet “distributors should not change the way content is presented.”
The Netflix team is introducing a range of features by participating in an effort to work with the creative community to ensure that content quality is not interrupted, including automatically correcting “faster and slower audio pitch” by company.
“We have also been aware of the concerns of some creators,” a spokesman told Verge. “That’s why we’ve captured the range of playback speeds and ask members to change speeds every time they see something new – as opposed to adjusting their settings based on the last speed they used.”
The creative community understandably wants their work to be seen in a specific way. This is why Christopher Nolan refuses to have the premieres of his films anywhere other than in a theater. But distribution methods have changed over the last few decades that have already ruined the industry. VHS, DVD, and Blu-ray players, along with digital and PVR retailers have given viewers more control over how they watch movies and TV shows. There are people who listen to podcasts with faster playback speeds and, anecdotally, I watch all YouTube videos at twice the speed.
Keela Robison, Netflix vice president of product innovation, addressed the changes in technology that have allowed viewing of different genres over the years, and why Netflix decided to move forward after a brief testing phase.
“The feature has been highly sought after by members for years,” Robison wrote. “Most important of all, our tests show that consumers appreciate the flexibility it offers whether it is re-evaluating their favorite scene or slowing things down because they watch with subtitles or have difficulty hearing.”
Both the National Association of the Deaf and the National Federation of the Blind commended Netflix for adding features to the show. Since captions are slowed down (and also accelerated) to keep up with screen images, it can help deaf people who may prefer subtitles at a slightly slower speed, according to Howard A. Rosenblum, CEO of the National Association of deaf. On the other hand, many people in the blind community “can understand and appreciate the audience playing at a much faster pace than what might be comfortable for most visually impaired people,” said Everette Bacon, a board member in the National Federation of the Blind, in a statement.
Netflix is planning to monitor the response to playback speeds from both the creative community and subscribers. The company is also set to begin testing on iOS devices and the online version of the app, but has not scheduled any testing phase for the Netflix TV app.