How to Change the Netflix Playback Speed

Philip Bates 20-11-2019

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.

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 Netflix and Really Chill: A Quick Guide to Slow TV Slow TV is a strange phenomenon you may not understand, with people watching hours of footage of really boring activities. It's strange, but is it worthwhile? Let's find out... Read More ) 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

variable netflix playback google chrome plug-in extension

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

google chrome variable netflix playback plug-in extension

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

3. SpeedUp

Netflix variable playback google chrome extension plug-in

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.

Download: SpeedUp

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.

watch streaming platform TV shows films faster slower

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 Why Streaming Movies Is Bad for You However much we love streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video, they're not always a force for good. Here are three reasons why streaming movies can be bad for you. Read More .

Related topics: Media Streaming, Netflix, Online Video.

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  1. Brandon
    June 24, 2020 at 12:20 am

    I want this feature because I'm learning Spanish and I want to watch Spanish shows on Netflix at a slower speed that will better allow me to identify the words and work on my comprehension.

  2. Peter
    November 20, 2019 at 9:14 pm

    While I can almost understand why the Hollywood types are pushing back, considering that people are already doing this - let the consumers play at the speed they want. There are all sorts of media that just don't matter that much when it comes to playback speeds - especially things like documentaries. However, you can usually speed things up slightly with little affect on what you're watching. I tend to set most of the shows/movies at 1.2-1.4x so they're faster, but not muddled.

    I don't really get why the Hollywood people are fussing, though. They don't complain when movies are "formatted for content/display/whatever" and pushed to broadcast TV. Why complain if they're similarly consumed elsewhere? At least people are still watching at that point as opposed to not bothering. Do they also want to disable skipping chapters and fast-forwarding? (probably, but that's also been done for a while)