With the advent of online streaming, one of the biggest names in the ever popular TV and film watching format, Hulu, is set to bring some new changes to the game.
The outlet has announced a collection of new changes, including a new Hulu player, more customization, and new personalized recommendations. The biggest changes come in the form of the new player, lovingly called Project Voltron.
The new player now allows for adaptive bitrate streaming (so for those who tend to have playback issues, your prayers have now been answered), ad volume normalization (calming down those commercials that are often times exponentially louder than the show you are watching), an ad rating system allowing for personalized ads, and a bigger player, that is 25% larger than the previous iteration.
However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Two other features have also been added, and will make Hulu even more streamlined. First, viewers will now be able to more accurately search and seek within a show, with the new seek preview feature. Also, for those who want to find new moments within a respective episode, there is now a heat map that is able to be seen in a drop down window, showing viewers the most and least popular moments within the show.
For those interested, Hulu now has a video on the website that gives a tour of just what is new within the video player.
Not all news is good news on the Hulu front however.
One of the most talked about advancements in online video watching, HTML5, will not be supported by Hulu. Hulu had the following to say about the format:
We continue to monitor developments on HTML5, but as of now it doesn’t yet meet all of our customers’ needs. Our player doesn’t just simply stream video, it must also secure the content, handle reporting for our advertisers, render the video using a high performance codec to ensure premium visual quality, communicate back with the server to determine how long to buffer and what bitrate to stream, and dozens of other things that aren’t necessarily visible to the end user. Not all video sites have these needs, but for our business these are all important and often contractual requirements.
That’s not to say these features won’t be added to HTML5 in the future (or be easier to implement). Technology is a fast-moving space and we’re constantly evaluating which tools will best allow us to fulfill our mission for as many of our customers as possible.
The main stopping point is the idea that HTML5 doesn’t support DRM, which if used by Hulu, could very well destroy their business model. The lack of DRM support would leave the door open to people saving shows to their computers, and thus affecting the advertisers and studios who agree to distribute via the site.