Netflix rolls out new playback speed feature to Android users

has been the poster child of the streaming generation, and not without reason. Users of the platform are swamped with options – varying from the good, to the underwhelming, to the bizarre. There is too much content, and too little time. Breaking the paradox of choice is a difficult thing to achieve.

By presenting a multitude of choices as to how viewers could spend their precious time, Netflix might be prolonging the decision-making process, causing people to spend more time thinking about what to watch next than that spent watching content on its platform. Time is a scare resource, and starting today, Netflix will allow users to set, enabling them to partake more (or less) content at the pace they prefer.

According to The, this feature will be first rolled out on, and will be completed in the next few weeks. Playback speed can be slowed down to 0.5x or 0.75x, or sped up to 1.25x or 1.5x the original speed. Netflix will test this feature onandsoon. It did not mention a time-frame for smart TVs or set-top boxes.

Manipulation of playback speed has been a touchy issue, with Netflix facing flak from Hollywood when it started testing the feature last year. It defended the decision in October, saying the tests were conducted for research, and that it did not intend to launch it commercially. Critics maintain manipulating the pace of a movie or television show results in subverting the vision of the director and altering the creative experience.

Playback speed can be slowed down to 0.5x or 0.75x, or sped up to 1.25x or 1.5x the original speed.

Director Judd Apatow among others expressed reservations over, saying it could distort their art. Netflix insists it is respects the wishes of its community of creators. Netflix VP Keela Robison said that such concerns were accommodated in its testing, which is why fast-forward speed has been capped at 1.5x.

YouTube lets users watch at 2x speed, while playback speed of other platforms can be altered with browser extensions. Robison added that Netflix’s variable playback settings will require to be set manually every time, so users will not be stuck watching all shows they are concurrently at a faster speed.

“We’ve decided to press ahead for several reasons. Similar functionality has been available on DVD players and DVRs for years and the feature has been much requested by members. 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,” Robison wrote in a blog post.

She also cited a survey where users who tested the feature said that their perception of the content did not change even when viewed at a different playback speed. This feature is not uncommon. Many consumers of digital media, including videos and podcasts, tweak their settings to speed through the dull parts. They continue to return to these shows, showing that user behaviour favours a mix of convenience and quality.

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When In Quarantine, Binge-Watch!

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought the world to a screeching halt. With a large chunk of the global population locked up indoors, a considerable number of people are turning to OTT platforms and streaming their favourite content to make the most of their quarantine.

We have prepared a comprehensive list of all the shows and films (both on OTT platforms and television) that you can watch during the lockdown to keep yourself entertained.