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Netflix introduces an audio-only playback mode

Get a podcast-like experience for certain shows or save on data.
Steve Dent, @stevetdent
December 16, 2020
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BERLIN, GERMANY - OCTOBER 05: The Logo of media services provider Netflix is displayed on a smartphone on October 05, 2018 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images)
Photothek via Getty Images

Netflix is taking on podcasts, in a way, by rolling out on audio-only playback mode in its Android app, Android Police reports. The feature has appeared as a server-side update, and if you have it, you’ll see a new “Video Off” button at the top of the full-screen player. Tapping that makes the screen go black, leaving you with audio-only playback.

You can also control the mode from within the app settings by selecting a setting called “Audio Only.” Tapping that will give you the option between “Always On,” “Headphones or External Speakers” and “Off.”

Choosing the setting will cut down your data use and let you listen to programs while doing something else. It should be great for documentaries, standup and other audio-focused material, but won’t work so well for dramas that tell stories primarily through visuals.

It’s another way to get entertained or informed while doing other things, in case you don’t have enough podcasts to listen to (lol). In fact, Netflix already produces its own podcasts, but ironically, they’re only available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and other audio-only services. Audio-only playback is now rolling out to the Netflix Android app, but it might take a while to reach your region.

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