Netflix addresses playback speed controversy

Netflix is firing back at Hollywood representatives like Judd Apatow and Brad Bird who have publicly voiced their displeasure over the streaming giant’s decision to allow its subscribers to watch shows or movies at faster or slower speeds.

“This is a mobile only test and gives people the ability to vary the speed at which they watch on phones or tablets – choosing from normal to slower (0.5X or 0.75X) or faster (1.25X and 1.5X). It’s a feature that has long been available on DVD players – and has been frequently requested by our members. For example, people looking to rewatch their favorite scene or wanting to go slower because it’s a foreign language title,” Netflix’s Vice President Keela Robison explained.

Netflix will base their final decision on the new feature depending on the feedback they get from actual subscribers.

“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. 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. We have no plans to roll any of these tests out in the short term. And whether we introduce these features for everyone at some point will depend on the feedback we receive,” she also said.

The ability to watch or listen to content at slower or faster speeds, to control playback speeds, has been available on such services as YouTube and audio books services for quite some time.

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