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Why has Netflix added audio-only mode? Are podcasts on the way?

Netflix has added an audio-only mode to its Android app, which means there’ll be no on-screen imagery for those seeking to give their peepers a break.

With the latest version of the app, Netflix users will notice a new Video Off button in the centre of the display, which appears when all of the other playback controls are visible.

You can see it here via the screenshot published by Android Police.

Screenshot from Netflix playing S1:E2 of Kryptonite, paused videon screenshot

Why would you need to turn the video off? Well we can envision a host of scenarios. How about when you know a show like Trailer Park Boys so well that you’re happy just to listen to it when you’re drifting off, without all of that blue light harming your eyes and ruining your sleep?

What about when it’s not appropriate to be watching content, like at work, but it’s perfectly acceptable to have headphones on?

Related: Best Netflix shows

What about if you’re running super low on data but still want to enjoy some Netflix? Turning off the video is bound to ensure you’re consuming far less of that LTE or 5G goodness.

We can also see this idea will be useful for those with low vision or other visual impairments. For some of those folks, the visuals might not be entirely necessary at all.

However, the rollout could also suggest, Netflix has bigger plans outside of its current programming strategy.

With podcasting still undergoing unprecedented growth, could Netflix looking to be add video podcasts that could enable users to switch to audio only? So many big podcasters already carry a video version that airs on YouTube, for example.

This move would make plenty of sense from Netflix’s point of view, as it seeks to encourage users to spend as much time in the app as possible. This of course, is just speculation on our part.

There’s no news yet on when the feature will come to the iOS version of the app, but this is definitely one to watch.

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