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Netflix responds to variable playback speed backlash

Company stresses it has "no plans" to roll out test in the short term

Netflix has been forced to respond to an online backlash over its test allowing some viewers to watch content at variable speeds.

The streaming service has been testing new technology that allows Android phone users to play videos at a variety of different speeds, from 0.5x (half as fast) to 1.5x.

Since reports of the test first surfaced the likes of Judd Apatow, Brad Bird and Aaron Paul have all voiced their disapproval of the plan.

Netflix has since posted a response on its official blog stressing the test is for mobile only and there are no plans to roll out the tests to other devices “in the short term.”

“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),” wrote Netflix vice president Keela Robison.

“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 favourite scene or wanting to go slower because it’s a foreign language title.”

She continued, “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.”

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