Netflix responds to 1.5x playback speed criticisms

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The filmmaker backlash against Netflix’s faster playback option has led to the company clarifying and defending its test.

Earlier this week, news came to light that Netflix was testing out variable playback speeds for its movies and TV shows. These would mean that you could watch a film on the service at 1.5x the regular speed, knocking the running time for instance of Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman closer to the two hour mark (down from three and a half hours).

You can read our report on the news here.

It would be fair to say that said news hasn’t gone down very well, though. Filmmakers have taken to Twitter to express their displeasure. I think Judd Apatow sums the reaction up rather well…

Netflix has now responded to the backlash, and in turn confirmed that the playback speed controls are real.

In a post over at the company’s blog, the company’s vice president Keela Robison stated that “in the last month, we’ve started testing several additional player controls, including the ability to: alter the brightness on your phone without going into settings; lock your screen and find your language and audio settings more easily; and vary the speed at which you watch on mobile”.

It argued that such speed playback functionality is common with DVD players, but also that “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”.

The firm maintains at this stage it’s just a test, with no immediate plans to roll the controls out to its fully service. You can read its blog post on the matter right here.

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