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Netflix Introduces New Playback Speed Controls

Fern Siegel

Netflix is giving Android users more control over viewing.

The streamer is letting subscribers determine their watch speed on smartphones or tablets with new playback controls, reports The Verge.

Specifically, Android device owners can stream .at 0.5x or 0.75x speeds for slowed-down viewing and 1.25x or 1.5x speeds for faster watching. The caveat — the feature is an opt-in each time. There are no permanent settings. The same option is available for downloads.

The new feature launched August 1 and goes global in the coming weeks.

While it may be a boon to users, the tool met resistance from Hollywood. The Verge notes actor Aaron Paul (“Breaking Bad”) and directors Brad Bird (“Iron Giant,” “The Incredibles”) and Judd Apatow (“Knocked Up”) have voiced their objections to the technology.

To answer the criticism and reassure creatives who want to protect their artistic vision, Netflix says it will not disrupt the content quality, including automatically correcting “the pitch in the audio at faster and slower speeds.”

Over the years, VHS, DVD and Blu-ray have also let viewers determine how they watch a show.

Keela Robison, Netflix’s vice president of product innovation, explained the thinking behind the move.

“The feature has been much requested by members for years,” Robison wrote. “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.”

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