Update to Netflix allows Android users to speed up or slow down streaming content

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Subscription streaming content provider Netflix has made a small but important change to its Android app. Users can now change the speed at which they view movies, TV shows, documentaries, and more. While normal playback speed is 1.0, The Verge reports that slower speeds now available on the app include .5x (half-speed) and .75x (three-quarter speed). Faster playback speeds include 1.25x (one-quarter percent faster) and 1.5x (50% faster than normal). These speeds are available also available on videos downloaded and saved for online use.
In 2018, Google added a 1.75X playback option to YouTube. The app has a wider range of playback options than Netflix does at .25x, .5x, .75x, 1.0x, 1.25x, 1.5x, 1.75x, and 2x. Speaking of Netflix, subscribers need to adjust the speed before they start viewing every video. Netflix did this so that a subscriber doesn’t end up watching everything at a faster or slower speed. For example, let’s say that you’ve set the playback speed at .75x for Fuller House. The next title to be viewed (say Stranger Things) will play at 1.0x unless a different speed is selected. “We’ve also been mindful of the concerns of some creators,” a Netflix spokesperson told The Verge. “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.”
When the playback speeds were first announced back in 2019, actor Aaron Paul (Jessie in Breaking Bad) was not pleased with the upcoming change. Director Judd Apatow disseminated a tweet last October that said, “No. That’s not how it works. Distributors don’t get to change the way the content is presented. Doing so is a breaking of trust and won’t be tolerated by the people who provide it. Let the people who don’t care put it in their contracts that they don’t care. Most all do.” Netflix is also trying to prevent the quality of its content from getting disrupted by any change made to playback speed. For example, the streamer says that along with the visual change of speeding up or slowing down the playback, it will automatically correct “the pitch in the audio at faster and slower speeds.”

Netflix says that it has been asked to add this feature for some time now. Keela Robison, Netflix’s vice president of product innovation, said, “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 new feature started rolling out today and will be available to all Android users after the next few weeks.

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