Your Netflix experience might be noticeably sped up if you like to Sonic The Hedgehog your way through TV shows and movies with playback features that will let users control the speed with which their content is played. Playback features have long been available on audiobooks and some podcast apps, and even YouTube allows videos to be slowed down or sped up using similar features. But Netflix had held off until recently, when it appears to have added some features for one of its many ways to watch the service’s streaming properties.
Via The Verge, Netflix introduced new features for Android phone users who have the Netflix app, making good on a news item from back in 2019 about potential new playback speeds coming to the streaming service:
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. 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. Playback speed options are also available on downloaded titles that people have saved for offline viewing.
The Verge also quotes a Netflix spokesperson, who said the company has “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.”
A few notes here: This will initially be an Android-only feature, but Netflix is working on a future rollout to iOS and web, and this will apply to all content, not mobile-only. The feature will roll out starting tomorrow and will be available globally shortly after that, and Judd Apatow and Aaron Paul probably still won’t be thrilled with the news. It’s unclear how many people will use the technology, or even know that it’s possible, but for some who have longed to watch Ozark‘s slow burn play out a lot faster, they now have their chance.
UPDATE: Netflix confirmed these changes in a blog post, which you can read here, but here are a few key excerpts:
Features like skip intro, play next episode and variable playback speeds can be sensitive within the creative community so we are always careful to test them first and listen carefully to the feedback.
We’ve decided to press ahead for several reasons. Similar functionality has been available on DVD players and DVRs for years and the feature has been much requested by members. 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.