Netflix has rolled out a new tool to the Android version of its app which aims to make it easier to watch shows on your smartphone.
According to a report by 9to5Google, the app now includes a new “screen lock” feature which aims to combat accidental touchscreen inputs during viewing.
If you regularly watch Netflix on your smartphone, chances are you have interrupted your viewing experience at least once with an accidental touch on the pause or navigation overlay in the mobile app.
The app now offers a screen lock option alongside the standard on-screen controls after you begin streaming content on your handset.
If you select this option, the entire Netflix UI will be replaced with a single small lock icon, and you will not be able to pause, navigate, or change the settings of your stream without unlocking the overlay first.
To pause or navigate your stream, you will need to press the lock icon twice to bring back the Netflix navigation overlay.
This is especially useful for viewers who watch shows on their smartphone while moving around or multitasking, as this activity can increase the chance of accidental touches.
9to5Google stated that the feature should be rolled out to all Netflix users on Android and does not require an update as it is a server-side modification.
Netflix bitrate reduction
This newest feature launches as more South Africans are using Netflix than ever due to the nationwide lockdown and COVID-19 pandemic, with the company recently being forced to reduce the bitrate of streams to ease congestion on local networks.
Reducing the bitrate of a stream means that less information can be transmitted to the viewer, although this does not necessarily mean the resolution of the video is lowered.
Netflix said it would largely be able to maintain its video quality, however, while reducing traffic by 25% on local networks.
“Given the crisis, we’ve developed a way to reduce Netflix’s traffic on telecommunications networks by 25% while also maintaining the quality of our service,” Netflix said.
“If you are particularly tuned into video quality you may notice a very slight decrease in quality within each resolution. But you will still get the video quality you paid for.”