How many times in your life have you thrown something up on Netflix with no real intention of actually watching what you put on your TV? You know, play a classic movie or a favorite TV show merely for the background noise it makes.
Sometimes we even put on a Netflix show just to listen to it as we do something else. You know, like a podcast?
Well, Netflix is currently testing out a new audio-only option for mobile devices that, while they don’t come right out and say it, is surely intended to compete with the many podcasts that are now competing for our entertainment attention.
Android Police reports that Netflix has is testing an audio-only mode for mobile, currently just for Android devices, that allows users to disable the video on a movie or TV show.
I’m not sure why one would need to disable the video to just listen to the audio of a Netflix title, but that’s what they are testing out. Probably because it’s something that one of its competitors, YouTube, already allows.
Though, as Android Police, which has screen images of the test in progress, points out, “It could help you save some precious mobile data or leave your phone in your pocket while you’re keeping up with your favorite series.”
If you’re in on the change, you’ll see a new Video Off button at the top of the full-screen video player. Tapping it turns on the audio-only mode, leaving you with a blank screen showing all playback controls including the scrub bar, forward and backward, speed, and so on. Even the brightness slider remains available, though it’s pretty useless here.
We’ve also spotted a new Audio Only option in settings. Tapping it opens a pop-up menu that lets you choose when you want to use the mode: Always On, Headphones or External Speakers, and Off.
As far as who gets to be the lucky guinea pigs to try out this new option, no one really knows so just make sure your app is updated, just in case.
“We’re always looking for new ways to improve the Netflix mobile experience for our members,” a Netflix rep said in a statement to Variety. “We run tests in different countries and for different periods of time — and only make them broadly available if people find them useful.”
So, is it something that you would find useful?