In a time crunch and need to speed through Ozark? Or did you just gobbled up some premium kush and feel like slowing down those old episodes of Still Game to a crawl? Well, you are in luck. As Netflix is now allowing viewers to choose the speed at which they watch their favorite movies and TV shows.
Now you can get to the good parts of The Old Guard and Extraction without wasting time on all that exposition. Netflix has introduced these variable playback speeds on phones and tablets with new user controls. Now, anyone on an Android mobile device will be able to stream their favorite sitcoms at 0.5x or 0.75x speeds for slowed-down watching, or go the fast route with 1.25x or 1.5x speeds to get through all the boring stuff quicker.
Netflix hasn’t quite caught up with Youtube when it comes to variable speed binging just yet. Youtube is allowing viewers to slow things all the way down to 0.25x speeds, while also giving them the option to view their favorite influencer at twice the normal playback speed. These playback speeds are also available on downloaded content people are saving for later offline viewing.
When watching any given show or movie at variable speeds, each new title must be active at the speed requested. The variables do not remain active from title to title. Netflix has this move in place to keep people from accidentally watching Spencer Confidential at a slower speed than intended. Netflix is rolling out these variable speed playback controls this weekend in various markets as the feature goes global in the coming weeks.
Netflix announced variable playback speeds all the way back in 2019, which seems like a lifetime ago. Some filmmakers and other creatives in Hollywood balked at the idea of being able to control the speed of content. Many spoke out against the fun feature, including El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie star Aaron Paul and acclaimed director Brad Bird. Director Judd Apatow declared back in October, “distributors don’t get to change the way the content is presented.”
Guess what, Judd? They absolutely do. Because it’s not against the law. Though, Netflix is attempting to work with the creative community to ensure quality of content. There will be a number of features within the rollout to help squelch the outrage. This includes automatically correcting “the pitch in the audio at faster and slower speeds.” A spokesperson for Netflix had this to say about the feature.
“We’ve also been mindful of the concerns of some creators. 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.”
Filmmakers and TV creatives want their work to be watched as intended. But there are quite a few options, giving viewers their own control on how they consume certain content. Netflix’s vice president of product innovation Keela Robison said this about moving forward with playback variables after such a short testing phase.
“The feature has been much requested by members for years. Most important of all, our tests show that consumers value the flexibility it provides whether it’s rewatching their favorite scene or slowing things down because they’re watching with subtitles or have hearing difficulties.”
The National Association of the Deaf and the National Federation of the Blind both feel that Netflix is doing the right thing with this move. Captions are slowed down and speed up to keep in time with the images being sown. And this allows deaf people to choose a speed at which to read their subtitles.
Netflix will continuously monitor how the variable speed rollout is met by subscribers, and will act accordingly to their responses either good or bad. Netflix plans to start testing the variable playback speeds for iOS devices soon, and their is a web version of the app also in the planning stages. Sadly, those Old Timers who like to watch Netflix on their TV will not be getting the variable playback speed, and their is no plan to test for Netflix’s TV app. This story originated at The Verge.