How to Speed Up Playback on Netflix

How to Speed Up Playback on Netflix
Photo: SOPA Images, Getty Images

In a move destined to launch an internet micro-controversy the likes of which we haven’t seen since some people tried to tell other people not to listen to their podcasts at 1.5x speed, Netflix recently announced that it will now let people control the playback speed of its content. The new feature ” which the streamer began testing out last year ” is currently rolling out to users of its Android app, but will soon be available for the iOS app and web browsers as well.

Once you’ve got it, you’ll have the option to slow down or speed up playback in the range of 0.5x-speed to 1.5x-speed, with half-steps in between. Netflix claims to have limited the controls available to users in order to mollify Hollywood directors like Judd Apatow, who voiced outcry when the feature was in the planning stages late last year; he’d rather you not race through the films he’s poured his heart into like you are stuffing five Oreos into your mouth at once.

Personally, I respect artistic intent, but as long as viewers aren’t being forced to watch a movie sped up, I don’t know that the director should have much say in the matter. They probably would prefer I don’t pause their movie and wander away to make nachos for 15 minutes either. If I want Robert De Niro and Al Pacino to have a little more pep in their step in The Irishman ” and trim 70 minutes off the runtime of Martin Scorsese’s direct-to-streaming epic in the bargain ” that’s on me.

As Netflix points out, there are also valid reasons to do this outside of ruining Peyton Reed’s day:

The National Association of the Deaf and the National Federation of the Blind have both welcomed this feature. People who are deaf and have difficulty reading appreciate the option of slowing down the captioning, and people who are hard of hearing value the ability to listen at slower speeds – while many individuals who are vision impaired are used to listening to digital audio much faster (for example with screen readers).

Before you jump into the comments to argue, here’s what you need to do to adjust playback speed on Android ” and instructions for a browser plugin you can use to do so while you wait for the feature to roll out to you if you don’t have access yet.

How to speed up Netflix playback on Android

Netflix has made it very easy to control playback speed, with the caveat that you’ll have to choose if you want to go slower or faster manually each time you start a new film or TV show; unlike many audiobook or podcast apps, you cannot enable a modified playback speed by default. To adjust the speed:

1. Open the Netflix app and choose a piece of content to watch.

2. After playback begins, tap the screen to bring up the playback controls and look for the icon in the lower left corner that looks like a speedometer. Tap it.

3. From the pop-up menu, choose your preferred playback speed.

4. To further adjust the speed or revert to regular playback, repeat the process.

How to adjust playback speed with a browser extension

If you access Netflix through the web, there’s no need to wait for a browser extension to give you control over your playback speed ” you can accomplish it via browser plugins. I personally like Video Speed Controller, which is available on both Chrome and Firefox. Here’s how to use it:

1. Launch your browser of choice and navigate to the extension at the applicable link: Chrome or Firefox. Install it on your browser.

2. Click on the extension’s icon in your browser window and a dropdown menu will appear. Select “Settings.”

3. Here you can adjust which keyboard inputs will speed up or slow down playback, or preset preferred speeds you can enable with a single keystroke.

4. Access Netflix via the same browser, select a program to watch and control the playback speed by tapping the requisite keys you mapped to various functions in the step above. By default, you can reset the speed to normal playback by Pressing “R.”

Note that Video Speed Controller will actually work with any HTML5 video, not just Netflix ” which means you can also speed up YouTube and more. It also allows you to make the video play way slower or way faster than Netflix’s official implementation of the feature; you can make your own adjustments depending on how much hatred you hold in your heart for artistic integrity.

There are other extensions out there, too ” if you use Edge Chromium, you can try Global Speed ” or you can wait until Netflix implements the feature universally. Now, if you need me, I’ll be powering my way through several dozen episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender.