Netflix adds audio-only playback option for Android users
Just as the name suggests, this feature allows you to listen to the audio stream of a show, with the video turned off, much like a podcast. The update is happening on the server-side, so you may see a new “Video off” button when you tap on the video player in full-screen mode. Toggling the Video on and off results in a black screen with playback controls the only visible thing left.
It’s an interesting feature and its usefulness can vary wildly depending on the show you want to listen to. If we’re talking about plot-driven, heavy content, with a ton of characters and plot twists, it probably won’t be a good idea to stream the audio to your earphones while you’re driving to work. Some documentary series could turn out to be perfect in audio-only mode, though.
There might be a deeper plot behind this feature though - real podcasts. Netflix is working hard to add those on the platform. The first scripted podcast show (The Only Podcast Left) supplementing Netflix’s apocalyptic zombie show Daybreak is already streaming on Spotify, which doesn’t make much sense. Obviously, Netflix is getting ready to host podcasts on its own platform and cease to rely on competitors.