Skip to main content

Netflix is adding controversial control over content speed

Time is running out to get your fix of The Office before it leaves Netflix in 2021. It may not be the solution fans wanted, but the streaming giant has found a way to slow things down and let you savor your last rewatch of the hit sitcom.


Netflix has added playback speed controls to Android mobile devices. If you’re on an Android phone or tablet, you’ll be able to slow down or speed up content based on how slowly or quickly you want to binge something.

Netflix confirmed the incoming feature via an update to its blog post regarding player control tests, adding that it will begin to test this feature on iOS devices and on the web.

Options for slowing down content are either 0.5× or 0.75× speed, while you can speed things up to either 1.25× or 1.5×. Speeds reset to normal with each different title you watch, meaning you won’t accidentally watch The Last Dance too quickly after speeding through Tiger King. The feature is said to be rolling out August 1, with availability going global over the next few weeks.

This isn’t exactly a popular decision by Netflix, at least as far as members of the movie industry are concerned. Back in 2019, when Netflix was testing the playback feature with select Android users, several prominent actors and movie makers spoke out against the idea.

Judd Apatow, the popular writer, director, and producer, warned Netflix about tampering with carefully timed sequences in movies and TV scenes designed by filmmakers.

No @Netflix no. Don’t make me have to call every director and show creator on Earth to fight you on this. Save me the time. I will win but it will take a ton of time. Don’t fuck with our timing. We give you nice things. Leave them as they were intended to be seen.

— Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) October 28, 2019

Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul and The Incredibles director Brad Bird also hit back at Netflix at the time, each in effect saying that offering these kinds of controls would effectively be taking control of someone else’s art and destroying it.

Whelp— another spectacularly bad idea, and another cut to the already bleeding-out cinema experience. Why support & finance filmmakers visions on one hand and then work to destroy the presentation of those films on the other???

— Brad Bird (@BradBirdA113) October 28, 2019

Netflix, in its blog update, said the feature was well-received by its members. The company also said the feature was heavily requested by subscribers, and tests have shown it adds flexibility that viewers value.

Netflix also noted that the National Association of the Deaf and the National Federation of the Blind have both welcomed this feature. To be mindful of content creators, Netflix said it has made sure to cap the range of playback speeds and require viewers to adjust the speed each time they watch something new.

Editors' Recommendations

Nick Woodard
Former Digital Trends Contributor
  As an A/V Staff Writer at Digital Trends, Nick Woodard covers topics that include 4K HDR TVs, headphones…
Where to watch all the Lifetime Christmas movies in one place [Sponsored]
A boy talks to Santa in A Christmas Story.

Every year, during the holidays, a spat of guilty-pleasure Christmas movies stream out of various providers, with Lifetime being one of the most prevalent to offer such. Many of us, filled with love and warmth, cozy up with a nice blanket, maybe some hot chocolate, and a good ol' B movie littered with holly jolly drama. If that sounds like your kind of entertainment, you're probably wondering how you can binge those glorious Lifetime Christmas movies, especially if you don't have traditional cable or a subscription. Better yet, what if we told you there's a way to watch them all in one place, through one, convenient network. It's indeed possible, and that network is Dish.

Through Dish Network, you can watch a wide variety of programs and channels, from live sports and news broadcasts to regular cable channels, like Lifetime, and their beloved programming. By signing up, you'll never miss another cable TV movie again, for any holiday, including Lifetime Christmas movies, Thanksgiving movies, Easter movies, and beyond. You can even watch a huge selection of on-demand movies, yes, Christmas flicks too. Oh, and you can skip commercials, as well.

Read more
The best thrillers on Amazon Prime Video right now
Adrian Brody in Wrecked (2010).

If you’re in the mood for the kind of movie that’s going to up your adrenaline, we highly recommend one of Amazon Prime Video’s amazing thriller film selections. With a curated collection that numbers in the high hundreds, there’s certainly no shortage of head-scratching, nail-biting fun to be had, and it’s our job to keep up with the platform’s latest and greatest genre titles. 

We’ve assembled this rotating roundup of the best thrillers on Prime Video you can stream right now. From unforgettable classics to new and exciting indie bombshells, we’ll make sure you’re glued to your TV screen in one way or another. Our picks include movies from all different eras and sub-genres, and we do what we can to shine a light on up-and-coming filmmakers, too.
Amazon Prime may have a robust catalog, but it doesn't have everything. Luckily, we've also curated roundups of the best thrillers on Netflix and the best thrillers on Hulu.

Read more
The 10 most popular movies on Netflix right now
A turtle and lizard sit next to each other.

Netflix is one of the most popular streaming services in the world, with nearly 250 million subscribers. And just what do those people tend to watch? In particular, what is the most popular movie on Netflix?

Each week, the streaming service releases a list of its 10 most-watched movies over the preceding seven days. Below, we've listed the top 10 movies in the U.S. from November 20 to November 26, along with general information about each film, such as genre, rating, cast, and synopsis.

Read more