Don't let Hulu's seemingly negative remarks about their opinions of HTML 5 get in the way of appreciating the many and welcome updates in their new Hulu player. The new player adds a bevy of features that rival most if not all of the embedded streaming media sites on the Internet.
- Some basic design changes - The viewing has been increased to 720 x 400 pixels, a 25% increase. When playing a video, all controls and buttons are automatically hidden. Some of the buttons, such as Full Screen, Next Video, and Auto-Play have been shuffled around.
- Adaptive Bitrate Streaming - Instead of choosing the bitrate of the video manually, Hulu will measure your bandwidth on the fly, and adjust the bitrate as required.
- Ad Volume Normalization - No more ads bursting your eardrums and waking up the neighbors. Hulu will look at the volume of the media, and the volume of the ad, and adjust the volume of the latter to more closely match the former, reducing jarring volume shifts at commercial breaks.
- Preview Thumbnail - Hover your mouse over any place in the timeline, and a preview of what is playing at that moment appears.
- Credit View - If there is not content after the credits, the player will show a "recommended videos" list alongside the video. You can go back to full credits if you want.
- Heat Map - The Heat Map is a cool little feature that shows how popular each section of a long form (i.e. feature length) video is, letting you skip to the parts everyone seems to like more.
- Ad Tailor - Every ad will ask you about its relevancy to you. Data will be used to shape advertising choices in the future.
While it may not be the HTML 5 player that many people were hoping for, it definitely feels like a definite step in the right direction.