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Netflix Testing New Playback Feature, Responds To Critics

"Don't f**k with our timing."


Update: Netflix has commented on the criticism they've received about this playback feature, stating this feature is for mobile only at the moment, and the company has no plans to roll these out in the short term, and whether or not varying playback speed arrives for everyone all depends on feedback from users. This is just one of the many features they test to improve the functionality of the product. Additionally, Netflix responded to creators who are not happy about this new feature. "We've been sensitive to creator concerns and haven't included bigger screens, in particular TVs, in this test."

Among the new features that Netflix is testing is the ability to watch content at different speeds, with options to decrease or increase the playback rate. Some creatives in the Hollywood and TV business have now spoken up to say this is a bad idea and should be stopped.

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Comedy veteran Judd Apatow (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up) offered up an emphatic statement and a threat on Twitter. He called on Netflix to not pursue different playback speeds as a real feature and went on to threaten to "call every director and show creator on Earth" to campaign against it. "Don't f**k with our timing," Apatow pleaded. "We give you nice things. Leave them as they were intended to be seen."

Actor Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad, Need for Speed) also chimed in to plead with Netflix to abandon this idea. "There is NO WAY Netflix will move forward with this," he said. "That would mean they are completely taking control of everyone else's art and destroying it."

Ant-Man and the Wasp director Peyton Reed, meanwhile, made his own call to Netflix. "This is a terrible idea," he said. "I and every director I know will fight against it." Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse director Peter Ramsey said the new playback speed options are "designed for the laziest and most tasteless."

Movie and TV veteran Brad Bird (Pixar, The Simpsons) said in his own statement that different playback speed options is a "spectacularly bad idea." He added, "Why support and finance filmmakers' visions on one hand and then work to destroy the presentation of those films on the other???"

Comedy writer and actor Jay Chandrasekhar (Super Troopers, Beerfest) simply said, "Don't do this Netflix."

For its part, Netflix reminded fans in a statement (via EW) that this is only an experiment, and as such, different playback speeds may never become available to the wider userbase. The test was small in nature, and reportedly only available on Android phones in some regions. The playback speeds included in the test include 0.5x, 0.75x, 1.0x, 1.25x, and 1.5x.

"We're always experimenting with new ways to help members use Netflix," a spokesperson said. "This test makes it possible to vary the speed at which people watch shows on their mobiles. As with any test, it may not become a permanent feature on Netflix."

Variable playback speeds have been around for a very long time in the world of sports broadcasts as well as audiobooks and podcasts.

November is a big month for Netflix, as Oscar winning director Martin Scorsese's next big mobster movie, The Irishman, premieres November 27 on the platform. For more, check out all the new TV shows and movies coming to Netflix in November.

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