Although numerous filmmakers including Judd Apatow and Brad Bird said they were not in favor of the option, Netflix moved ahead with the test - and now is rolling the feature out for all Android users.
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. Those are slightly fewer options than YouTube, which allows people to slow all the way down to 0.25x speeds, and speed up by twice the normal playback speed.
Netflix announced it was testing the feature way back in 2019 and was met with backlash from Hollywood's creative community.
While director Judd Apatow and others were anxious that variable playback can distort their art, Netflix VP Keela Robison says that it tried to be respectful of the creative community by capping fast-forward speeds to 1.5x.
The playback speed controls are now rolling out to Netflix on Android.
We've also been mindful of the concerns of some creators. Playback speed controls are also available on downloaded titles too, so you can adjust the speed whether you're online or offline. Netflix's VP of product innovation, Keela Robison, said in Friday's post that the feature "has been frequently requested" and "well received" by Netflix users so far. "Most important of all, our tests show that consumers value the flexibility it provides whether it's rewatching their favorite scene or slowing things down because they're watching with subtitles or have hearing difficulties".
The National Federation of the Blind has also commended the speeding up feature, and explained that many members of the blind community are able to "understand and appreciate audio played at a much faster pace than what might be comfortable for most sighted people".
Netflix has been lauded for the feature by two United States organisations representing people with disabilities - the National Association of the Deaf and the National Federation of the Blind.