We’re getting more and more used to consuming content as a faster rate, and we get our information updated in real time. So, it’s not a surprise that Netflix is bringing playback controls so that we can watch shows and movies at the speed we want.
Netflix will soon allow anyone on an Android device to stream at either 0.5x or 0.75x speeds for slowed-down viewing, and 1.25x or 1.5x speeds for faster viewing. The playback control feature is similar to YouTube’s playback speed feature—as you’re able to watch videos at 0.25x, 0.5x or 0.75x speeds for slowed-down viewing, and 1.25x, 1.5x, 1.75x or 2x speeds for faster viewing.
The faster playback feature can help people watch as many videos as they can in a short amount of time (if they want). However, it is especially helpful for people with disabilities.
“The feature has been much requested by members for years. Most important of all, our tests show that consumers value the flexibility it provides whether it’s rewatching their favourite scene or slowing things down because they’re watching with subtitles or have hearing difficulties,” said Keela Robison, Netflix’s Vice President of Product Innovation.
The added feature was commended by the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) and the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), as it can help deaf people who might prefer the captions at a slightly slower speed. For the blind community, NFB board member Everette Bacon stated that many people in the community “can understand and appreciate audio played at a much faster pace than what might be comfortable for most sighted people”.
In an exact opposite way of helping the disabled community, however, YouTube announced that they will be discontinuing the Community Contributions feature—which made it possible for users to help creators by translating video titles, descriptions, closed captions, and subtitles. Deaf and hard-of-hearing creators saying that removing the community captions feature will stifle accessibility.
Netflix’s playback controls feature is expected to be available to everyone with an Android device in the coming weeks. The company is also set to begin testing on iOS devices and the web version of the app, but there’s no testing phase set for Netflix’s TV app.
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