Netflix Is Testing Sped-Up Viewing — & People Aren’t Happy

Photographed by Tayler Smith.
Call me boring, but I have only ever wanted to watch a movie or TV show at its normal speed. Apparently though, Netflix is testing out a new mobile feature that lets viewers watch content at 1.5 times the normal speed — which means you can pack an hour-long Stranger Things episode into a tight 40 minutes.
This test gives viewers the option to slow down what they're watching at 0.5 or 0.75 times the normal speed, as well as to speed it up by either 1.25 or 1.5 times (a feature that is already available on YouTube). Convenient, sure, if you're interested in watching a scene you love in slo-mo or are in a hurry to watch an episode in a pinch. But also, definitely not ideal for retaining comedic timing (not to mention the fact that the audio will sound slightly weird when you change the speed in either direction). At this stage, the Netflix test has been rolled out on Android devices only, but it has already ignited the ire of many directors and actors who feel it compromises the integrity of their art.
In response, Netflix has published a blog post explaining the reasoning behind the test while acknowledging the heavy backlash it has received from those most affected by it.
"We’ve been sensitive to creator concerns and haven’t included bigger screens, in particular TVs, in this test. We’ve also automatically corrected the pitch in the audio at faster and slower speeds," wrote Vice President Keela Robison. "In addition, members must choose to vary the speed each time they watch something new — versus Netflix maintaining their settings based on their last choice."
The blog post says that Netflix has no plans to implement this test further, and based on the feedback, it's hard to believe it would ever get the green light.

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