Netflix Testing Feature That Would Allow Users To Watch Content Faster

Netflix is currently testing out software that would allow users to change the speed of videos in the future. The feature would be exactly like the one that can be found on all YouTube videos, in which you can change the speed of the video to be either slightly slower, in case the audio is too fast, or slightly quicker, to get through the video faster. With this ability, Netflix users would be able to take binge watching to an entirely new level. 

The news first dropped on site known as “Android Police” which is a media publication that reports on all things technology. Android Police made the announcement after receiving this official statement from a Netflix spokesperson:

We’re always experimenting with new ways to help members use Netflix. This test makes it possible to vary the speed at which people watch shows on their mobiles. As with any test, it may not become a permanent feature on Netflix.”

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In the specific testing, Netflix allows users to either slow down playback to 0.5x or 0.75x, or speed it up to 1.25x or 1.5x. Since this feature is in its experimental phase, Netflix really hasn’t discussed it as a possibility to the public quite yet, but that hasn’t stopped the internet from taking the little information they have and running with it. Specifically, Judd Apatow took to Twitter to share with his 2.4 million followers his negative thoughts on this new feature when he responded to a user who said the new feature wouldn’t change much about the actual viewing experience. 

“No. That’s not how it works.  Distributors don’t get to change the way the content is presented.  Doing so is a breaking of trust and won’t be tolerated by the people who provide it.  Let the people who don’t care put it in their contracts that they don’t care. Most all do.”

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Apatow also went on to tweet at Netflix directly, threatening to call every director and show creator “on earth” to fight them on this decision. His tweets caused a huge online debate to ensue creating a sort of generation gap between those for the feature, and those against it. Millennials and Generation Zers more often didn’t see an issue with the feature, as it allows them to binge through their favorite shows and movies quicker, and move onto the next one. However, the other end which is more heavily favored by boomers and generation Xers who grew up with some of the most iconic films of all time, thinks that it’s wrong and Hollywood creators work hard to create their art and intend for it to be viewed as they made it. Speeding through gaps of silence, scenic transitions and general dialogue changes the entire cinematic purpose. 

There’s solid arguments on both ends of this case. In a world where streaming services are making cable television obsolete, internet users are being constantly bombarded with new entertainment content to absorb; speed-watching would allow for a more “efficient” way to get through all of it. 

However, the cultural implications behind needing to speed through an endless stream of television and movies are much larger than just a debate over a Netflix feature. Do you really need to watch a movie slightly quicker to get through it? Can you really not bare to sit down for one hour to watch an episode of your new favorite show instead of speeding through it in 40 minutes? Entertainment is meant to do just that, entertain. Are we really being entertained if our main focus is to get through the content instead of actually enjoying it?

Regardless, even if Netflix does make this an official feature, users can go the rest of their lives without even touching it, while others most likely will. It just comes down to which side of the debate your on.