How practical would it be if you could just make a boring movie run faster? The streaming service Netflix probably had this idea: Users should be able to adjust the playing speed in the future, the company confirmed in a blog post.
Now it should be possible for selected customers to view content at 1.25 and 1.5 times the speed – or, if things go too fast, to reduce the speed by 0.25 and 0.5 times. First, Android users should be able to use the feature, later it should also be available to iOS users.
This feature isn’t new—on platforms like YouTube and podcast services, changeable play speed has been available for some time. Netflix tested the feature for the first time in 2019, sparking a wave of criticism. The filmmakers’ argument is that Netflix must show the films and series as intended by their creators.
Netflix took up the criticism in its blog post, saying, “Similar features have been available on DVD players and video recorders for years, and the feature was desired by many members.” Since a large proportion of Netflix users watch content in a foreign language, many would like to be able to take a closer look at individual scenes with the new feature in order to better understand them.
The test also makes sure that users cannot preset the speed as the default. The streaming service also pointed to positive reactions from the deaf and blind community.