Hulu Overhauls Web Player, Says They'll Stick With Flash For Now

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News Posted: Sat, May 15 2010 8:09 PM
We're still waiting for this so-called Hulu Plus subscription to gointo effect, but while everything's still free, we'll try to pretendthat Hulu is just updating their video player out of the kindness oftheir heart. There's no certain indication that this overhaul isleading up to a paid option for select "premium" content, and it's niceto see a company such as Hulu making it easier for consumers to enjoycontent. The company has rolled out a slew of new improvements to theirvideo player this week, with a few changes in particular really settingthe bar high for everyone else to match.

The new player is not only more streamlined, but it's actually largerand less convoluted. A lot of behind the scenes changes have happenedas well; using ActionScript 3, Hulu's new player utilizes adaptivebitrate streaming. This allows the player to shift video bitrates andresolution up and down continually to match the user’s bandwidth, whichprovides a better overall user experience. The menu also allows you toforce the player to stream at a fixed resolution of 480p, 360p, or288p, if you'd rather.


There's also the addition of volume normalization, a closed captioningdisplay, and a few of the more interesting features that involvesearching. Seek Preview allows users to hover their mouse over acertain spot in the video and see a brief glimpse of what's there; thishelps users nail the right spot more often, rather than just pokingaround and having to wait through ads to see if they fast forwarded tothe right spot. Furthermore, there's a new Heat Map feature that letsusers see where specifically that other viewers have frequented,enabling you to better guess those "awesome parts" to jump to. Both ofthese are surprising additions; Hulu makes money from ads, which areviewed more if users watch more. Helping users skip to the places theylike could undermine that, but we're guessing that Hulu assumes moreusers will join in now that the experience is better, which should morethan offset the difference.

Hulu closed out the news post with a note on HTML5. HTML5 has been allthe rage of late, as it's a video format supported by Apple and theiriPod touch, iPad and iPhone. It's an alternative to Flash, but Hulu'snot buying in. The company says, basically, that HTML5 isn't advancedenough to handle everything they need it to. Hulu does more thandeliver video; they also log views, send information to advertisers,etc. Basically, they're sticking with Flash partly due to contractobligations. They're still watching developments in the space, though,so don't count HTML5 out yet.

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I noticed this when I was watching the new Family Guy yesterday. I like it better.

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News:
Hulu closed out the news post with a note on HTML5. HTML5 has been allthe rage of late, as it's a video format supported by Apple and theiriPod touch, iPad and iPhone. It's an alternative to Flash, but Hulu'snot buying in. The company says, basically, that HTML5 isn't advancedenough to handle everything they need it to. Hulu does more thandeliver video; they also log views, send information to advertisers,etc. Basically, they're sticking with Flash partly due to contractobligations. They're still watching developments in the space, though,so don't count HTML5 out yet.

Even if it wasn't for contract obligations I think waiting on HTML5 is just fine. I think changing over to HTML5 right now will leave more people out in the cold than it will add with iPad support.

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3vi1 replied on Fri, May 21 2010 9:11 AM

>> The company says, basically, that HTML5 isn't advanced enough to handle everything they need it to.

i.e.: "It would make it impossible for us to lock Boxee users, or any other browser, out arbitrarily. And we can't do that, because it would make Mark Cuban cry."

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

++++++++++++[>++++>+++++++++>+++>+<<<<-]>+++.>++++++++++.-------------.+++.>---.>--.

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