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Netflix is testing a feature that lets you speed through episodes

How else can you watch all of Friends before it leaves the service?

Netflix testing playback speed
Image: KnowTechie

Netflix is always trying out new things to keep on top of the streaming market, and its latest tweak let some mobile users adjust their playback speed.

That’s a boon for anyone who wants to squeeze in an episode of How I Met Your Mother in a shorter commute, and also probably the only way that you’ll get enough time to watch the entire back-catalog of Friends before it leaves Netflix for its new home next year.

Netflix is trialing controls to adjust playback speed on the mobile app

Netflix has been trialing the ability to vary the playback speed for some mobile users. The company has confirmed it was just a test, and was limited to mobile devices.

Maybe that’s a way to reduce your data bill each month, or the congestion on cell towers with unlimited data plans being more common. Maybe it’s just something an engineer decided to code, after decades of being used to DVD player controls.

  • Netflix’s latest beta test was the ability to slow down the playback speed to 0.5x or 0.75x, or to speed it up to 1.25x or 1.5x
  • The feature also tweaked the pitch of audio to stop it from sounding odd
  • This was frequently requested by viewers, perhaps because they’re used to doing the same thing on their DVD players
  • Podcast listeners or YouTube watchers often speed up the playback of the content they’re listening to in order to consume more

There are no plans for this playback speed feature to be rolled out more widely, something that I feel Netflix has misjudged. With more and more video sites allowing their users to control playback speeds, it’s only a matter of time before one of Netflix’s competitors adds this for all users. Maybe Netflix should fast-forward its plans…

What do you think? Is this a feature you’d like to see come to Netflix? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere. His hobbies include photography, animation, and hoarding Reddit gold.

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