Netflix begins to deploy the “audio only” mode in the Android app to turn its content into a kind of podcast
At the end of October XDA, the famous developer forum, discovered that Netflix was preparing a “audio only” mode for your content. A few lines of code showed that the app would allow turning off the video to leave only the audio and it seems that this function is already starting to be deployed in the app for Android, as they have discovered in Android Police.
Apparently, this is a server-side updateIn other words, it is not enough to have the app updated to the latest version or download an APK, but rather it depends on it being activated by the server. In the writing of SamaGame, in fact, we have not been able to access the function. In short, it will be time to wait until it is officially rolled out for everyone, but while that arrives, let’s see how it works.
Audio only, with corresponding data savings
The idea is as simple as it sounds. In the Android app, within the player itself and even from the settings, you can disable the video. Thus, instead of seeing the image, we will only listen to the audio of the series, film or documentary on a black screen. That allows mobile data consumption is reducedSince downloading audio does not consume anywhere near the same as downloading video in real time.
Also, thanks to the screen lock function, we can leave the mobile in our pocket while we listen to the audio with the headphones and do something else. On mobiles with OLED screens, it shouldn’t be very different from listening to a normal podcast, since the screen should turn off completely.
This function can be interesting for those who want to listen to a documentary, series or movie in the background while falling asleep, for example, but it can also be a small advance in terms of accessibility.
Netflix has had a descriptive audio system since 2015 that, as its name suggests, describes what is happening at the scene. It is a “narrative track of what happens on screen, including physical actions, facial expressions, clothing, locations and scene changes,” as the company explains.
For example, in the first chapter of the first season of ‘Peaky Blinders’, if we activate the descriptive audio the locution says “A man is in a Chinese bazaar, he stops and talks to a civilian, and a man asks him where he is going ‘”. This function is intended for visually impaired users. With the “audio only” mode, these users can continue to enjoy Netflix content without consuming more account data by downloading video.
In any case, we cannot forget that for the moment the “audio only” mode comes in the form of a server-side update and that not available to everyone. We will have to wait for it to reach all smartphones, whether Android or iOS, although now this arrival does not have an official deployment date.