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Netflix Adds Playback Speed Control for Android Users

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Starting tomorrow, Netflix will let some Android users control the playback speeds of their videos.

The Netflix streaming interface allows you to pause a film or show, change the audio or subtitles, and jump forward or backward ten seconds in either direction. It does not allow you to change the speed you’re watching the show at, but that is reportedly something that could be available in the near future.

A new report from The Verge explains that uour choices will be limited to watching things at a slowed rate of either 25 percent or 50 percent or watching things at a faster rate of the same factors. At first, this new feature will only work on Android devices, although it will likely roll out to other platforms in the future.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because Netflix faced plenty of criticism from Hollywood last year when it started testing variable playback. The company defended the feature in October, and at the time said it didn’t have any plans to launch it.

Actor Aaron Paul suggested the feature would mean Netflix “completely taking control of everyone else’s art and destroying it.” Judd Apatow said that he would “call every director and show creator on Earth to fight you on this” and that the company should leave things “as they were intended to be seen.”

“We’ve decided to press ahead for several reasons,” explains the company in a blog post. “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.”

“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.”

The feature’s limited to Android users for now and will roll out globally in the coming weeks. Netflix said it’s poised to begin testing playback speed controls on iOS devices and the app’s web version for an eventual release depending on the response from both the creative community and subscribers.

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