Have you ever wanted to change the Netflix playback speed? Allowing you to watch films and TV shows more quickly? YouTube offers variable playback speeds, but Netflix doesn’t officially support this feature.
Netflix HAS experimented with variable playback speeds, but given the reaction from filmmakers it’s unlikely to be rolled out to a broader audience anytime soon. So, in this article we’ll show you how to watch Netflix faster.
Netflix Experiments With Variable Playback Speeds
Netflix has been testing variable playback speeds. This allows consumers to view content slightly faster (1.2x) or much quicker (1.5x). It also offers slower options (0.5x and 0.7x), perfect for those who love analyzing their favorite media. Audio pitch is altered to suit the new speed you’re watching at too.
This feature has only been tested as an experiment, confined solely to some viewers using the Android Netflix app. However, it has caused a lot of controversy.
This is a terrible idea, and I and every director I know will fight against it.
Peyton Reed https://t.co/iPq10ywKfz
— Peyton Reed (@MrPeytonReed) October 28, 2019
Directors and writers argued that they craft their products a certain way, and they don’t want viewers messing with that. Peyton Reed (Ant Man), Brad Bird (The Incredibles), and Judd Apatow (Girls) have all spoken out about the idea, agreeing that it takes away from the filmmakers’ intentions.
As such, Netflix assures users that it’s “sensitive to creator concerns”. And it won’t be rolling the feature out to anyone else until it’s received feedback on the experiment.
Netflix’s experiment into variable playback speeds allowed users to watch Netflix faster and slower, depending on their needs. Netflix cited films with subtitles as one reason why people may want to watch content more slowly.
There are also valid reasons why people may want to watch content more quickly. For example, maybe you want to watch slow TV (check out our guide to slow TV) but not quite as slowly as other people.
Slow TV programs generally happen in real-time and offer a range of beautiful vistas. But if you want to watch the train journey from Bergen to Oslo without needing to set aside seven hours of your life, it makes sense to speed Netflix up.
How to Change Video Playback Speeds on Netflix
To change the Netflix playback speed, your best option is to install a plug-in on Google Chrome. Just click Add To Chrome then Add Extension. So which plugins do we recommend?
1. Video Speed Controller
Video Speed Controller is the best option on offer because it allows you to vary speeds by tiny increments. Normal 1.0 speed is the default. By hovering over the left-hand corner of your screen, you can click the plus or minus buttons to increase or decrease the playback speed of Netflix.
If you’re not sure you can watch content at much higher speeds, try 1.1x speed. On a 60-minute video, you’ll save 6 minutes.
Video Speed Controller controls the speed of any HTML5 video and has handy shortcuts to rewind or fast-forward content.
Download: Video Speed Controller
2. Video Speed
Only interested in speeding up videos? Then this extension is the one for you. Its options range from 1.25x speed to 2x speed. The latter is a good option if you’re studying a film you’re not especially interested in. It’s not a particularly nice experience, but it could be useful in some situations. It’s good for viewing documentaries too—though only if you’re a fast learner.
Video Speed also works on HTML5, so it’s great for YouTube or Vimeo tutorials and online courses that use Wistia.
Download: Video Speed
This is a similar add-on which gives you control over videos on all websites. You’re not confined to Netflix; SpeedUp can also be used on other streaming platforms like Hulu and Amazon Prime.
Contrary to what its name implies, SpeedUp can also slow down content. It’s less intensive than Video Speed Controller, so to vary playback speed, it presents you with nine buttons, ranging from 0.75x to 2.25x. Once again, the 1.10x option is a good way to save time without compromising quality.
Why Would You Change Netflix Playback Speeds?
When discussing its experiment, Netflix revealed that it was testing the feature because variable speeds “has been frequently requested by our members”. But why would anyone want to watch a movie or TV show faster—or slower—than it was intended to be consumed?
There’s controversy, but other services offer this already. Few creators criticize YouTube for allowing viewers to speed content up. Similarly, DVD and Blu-ray players typically have this functionality. You can listen to podcasts on some podcast players too, meaning you can fit a whole episode in during your commute.
Playing Netflix content at faster speeds makes more sense for TV shows rather than movies. Netflix is synonymous with binge-watching, so speeding up content means you can power through a season in record time. So, if you’re desperate to watch the next episode of Daredevil, changing the Netflix playback speed to 1.5x means you can watch it during lunch.
Is the difference that significant? Just divide the episode or film length (in minutes) by the speed. At 1.5x speed, you can watch a 60-minute show in 40 minutes. A 10-episode series, with each episode consisting of 60 minutes, saves you 100 minutes when viewed at 1.2x speed. The difference in viewing experience between normal speed and 1.2x speed is virtually unnoticeable.
And we all experience movies differently. Intentions can differ even between writers and directors; of course consumers will interpret a production in juxtaposing ways. So variable playback speed can also be seen as a way of making content more accessible.
The ability to change the playback speed on Netflix can aid those on the autistic spectrum, who may find that variable speeds makes watching content more fun and fulfilling.
Should You Change Netflix Playback Speeds?
If you’re reading this you’ve clearly decided to explore the possibility of changing the playback speed on Netflix. And while Netflix currently doesn’t offer this feature, we’ve shown you how to do it using browser extensions.
As to whether you should, it’s up to you. There is a risk of ruining a great movie by rushing through it, but if you have a genuine need to speed up or slow down Netflix, go ahead. We’re not here to judge.
Just remember than whatever Netflix playback speed you settle on, you should take regular breaks. After all, streaming movies can be bad for you.