Netflix is letting people choose the speed at which they want to watch something on their phone or tablet with new playback controls.
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.
Subscribers must opt in to use the playback speeds with every single title they want to watch; it won’t just remain active when you pick something else to watch. This prevents people from accidentally watching everything at 1.5x speed if they don’t want to. The feature is rolling out tomorrow and will be available to everyone globally in the coming weeks.
Netflix announced it was testing the feature in 2019 and was met with backlash from Hollywood’s creative community. Actor Aaron Paul and director Brad Bird spoke out against Netflix’s decision to introduce the playback controls, and director Judd Apatow tweeted in October that “distributors don’t get to change the way the content is presented.”
Netflix’s team is introducing a number of features with the rollout to try to work with the creative community to ensure the quality of the content isn’t disrupted, including automatically correcting “the pitch in the audio at faster and slower speeds,” according to the company.