Netflix Testing a New Speed Control Feature

These days, between streaming shows, regular TV, YouTube videos, and podcasts, who has time for so much media consumption? Especially if one has children, or a job that keeps them working long hours. So how does one find a way to watch the latest buzz worthy entertainment offering in time to add their two cents on it on social media, and still make time for a life? It seems that the folks over at Netflix might have the answer for you. Why watch something in its regular speed when you can now watch it in fast-forward mode?

The kids from Stranger Things 3 face off against their latest enemy from the Upside Down


According to  Android Police (via Screen Crush), it seems that some Android Netflix users apparently now have access to a variable speed function added to their app. Basically, this means that viewers can choose to watch their programming at a slower speed, or more likely, watch it at a faster speed. So far, this appears to be a limited test for Androids. Users will be able to slow down speed to 0.5x or 0.75x, or raise it to 1.25x or 1.5x. As podcast fans know, this is already an option for most formats that allow you to listen to them. It always sounds a little Alvin and the Chipmunks for me, but some folks seem to be fine with it.

But can that same idea work for movies and television series? It’s one thing to listen to the host of your favorite podcast talking a little bit too fast, or the narrator of an audio book. Yes, it’s a little jarring at first, but I can see how one gets used to it over time. But it’s quite another to actually see people walking and talking for the duration of an entire film at somewhat unnatural speeds. But I highly doubt the Duffer Brothers want anyone to watch Stranger Things season 4 in fast-forward mode. Same can be said for Scorsese with The Irishman. Is our desire to watch everything quickly in order to stay ahead of the cultural conversation worth watching things at a higher speed?

Al Pacino and Robert Deniro in Martin Scorsese's The Irishman, coming soon to Netflix


Of course, watching things in a slower speed might actually be helpful to many. Especially for super dense shows and movies that throw a lot of information at you all at once. But I think more people will “speed up” vs. “slow down.” That being said, if this proves to be a popular feature on Android, it is only a matter of time before it starts to pop up everywhere else. This could be the next big debate on how we should properly consume visual media. It could be the new version of the ongoing argument over whether or not higher frame rate is good for movies, or does it make movies just look super weird. And soon, filmmakers might put their foot down at having their films tampered with in this way. This now looks like it could be the film and TV presentation debate of the next decade, for better or worse.

Header Image: Netflix

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