Netflix Speeding up Frame Rate Playback speed to Save Time

I love streaming Netflix videos but had to cancel because the videos alternate between normal speed and about 20% faster than normal. Is it just me or are some shows – some segments of shows – deliberately sped up to make slower scenes play faster? I don’t know if they do this to save time (more commercials) or to affect the pacing of the story but it is quite annoying.

Are Netflix movies sped up?

It's not a bug, it's a FEATURE! Why watch only four movies when you can now watch five in the same time! Note: feature is mandatory.

I initially noticed playback speed varying between normal and about 20% faster on netflix and figured it was my video card or something. Then the same effect happened on a friends computer and finally a TV with netflix built in; there were scenes or sections of scenes where the movie seemed to be playing back frame rates faster than normal by about 1.2x or 20% faster than the original recording. Netflix may do this to:

  • save bandwidth (but I can’t believe that all the movie aficionado purists out there aren’t complaining about this)
  • Synch audio with playback speed that is limited by available bandwidth (Initially I thought this was the issue but it happens on faster connections as well)
  • caused by platform issues (no, it happens on windows and mac and a vizio tv)
  • caused by software issure (no, everything is updated)
  • Throttling by the Netflix server. (the account isn’t used that much)
  • Dropping frames. (shouldn’t affect overall playback rate though)
  • ???

I tend to think it is intentional as the audio is always pitch adjusted so it sounds normal and the playback isn’t choppy but transitions between normal and fast smoothly. For me, some of the shows are simply unwatchable as I can’t let go of my veil of disbelief when everything is happening 25% faster than in real life!

This isn’t a solution to a problem but if you would like to look into the issue further on your machine here is a post here that describes how to look into silverlight diagnostics for more info on frame rate.

Again, this happens with videos on several different computers, laptops and televisions,  high end and low end, with a download speeds between 756 and 6mbps, day and night. I have tried all updates and also tried pausing the video for several minutes to give it time to buffer. My CPU utilization is within reasonable limits. The computers have SSDs and a quad core 4ghz CPU with 8 gigs of ram. What is going on? I can’t find anything about this online, not even on good ol’ Hacking Netflix. Why isn’t there rage in the streets?

Looks from now on it is DVD’s or nothing. I can’t take the fast speed anymore.

Have you noticed Netflix or even television shows playing faster than normal, sped up but with audio pitch correction supposedly so we won’t notice? Does it bug you too? Please comment!

Note: I am in the process of taking videos of screens playing the same movie, streaming vs DVD and playing them side by side to compare the difference. Check back soon!


10 thoughts on “Netflix Speeding up Frame Rate Playback speed to Save Time

    • At first I was like “cool, I’m not the only one” then I was like, “hey, the KOTH intro really is sped up, are they just joking with me?”

  1. I honestly thought that my computer was going too. One day, I was ready to watch a movie with the boyfriend and when we hit play, we couldn’t understand what they were saying. The movie kept jumping forward by 2 seconds. We tried going back to silverlight 4, but it wouldn’t work (nor play). so the only thing I can do now, is watch on my kindle. It plays fine there, but it really drains the battery. I really wish Netflix would fix this already because I’m sure they had plenty of complaints. All they have to do is rollback… Why haven’t they?

    • I’m not sure if your problem with netflix is the same one I was describing (where the movie plays as if sped up slightlyt) but it sounds similar to a problem a friend of mine had on a macbook pro. Outputting via HDMI netflix wouldn’t play without stuttering on her TV. On the macbook however it was fine. Im not sure if this has to do with scaling issues and GPU power but remember that silverlight is a microsoft product…

    • Thanks for the reminder, I have so many plans that I forget them all. Now off to redbox I go to get a DVD and watch side by side!

  2. Actually, I wish NETFLIX had an accelerator app. I can’t stand watching streaming TV shows at normal speed. I typically watch TV at 1.6x on other viewer apps. The app keeps the audio pitch at normal (1x), but everything runs faster.

  3. I know it has been a while but I am having this issue as well. It happens after I have spent a long while watching Netflix. I assumed it was a way to “cheapen” the cost for netflix since I was watching shows for less time this way. It only ever happens after i spend a day watching or have had movies/tv shows playing all day. SO annoying.

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