Although prominent film and television creators opposed it, Netflix will move forward with its plans to allow its users to alter playback speeds (via The Verge). Starting tomorrow, you’ll be able to change the Netflix playback speed on your Android device.
Your choices will be limited to watching things at a slowed rate of either 25% or 50% or watching things at a faster rate of 25% or 50%. At first, this new feature will only work on Android devices, although it will likely roll out to other platforms in the future.
Netflix playback speed: A controversial feature
Although YouTube has allowed users to alter playback speed for a while now, this is a new move for Netflix. Since Netflix hosts a lot of prominent films — including award-winning landmarks of cinema — a lot of people who make those films think this is a bad move.
For example, it’s a sure bet that Jonathan Demme wouldn’t be happy to know you sped through The Silence of the Lambs in an hour by watching it 50% faster than he intended you to. Still, the Netflix playback speed feature is happening whether Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorcese, Steven Spielberg, or anyone else wishes it wasn’t.
In an effort to appease creatives who might be upset by this move, Netflix is making it so users must deliberately and intentionally turn the feature on. For example, there will be no way to set it so that everything you watch on Netflix will play at a different speed. You will need to manually turn the feature on for each and every piece of content you want to watch.
In other words, if you make the Netflix playback speed faster while watching Tiger King, the speed will return to normal when you switch to watching Roma. If you felt the need to watch that at a faster or slower speed, you would need to turn it on and then set the speed manually, regardless of any previous changes you’ve made.
The new Netflix playback speed setting will begin rolling out tomorrow to Android devices and will be available globally over the next few weeks.