Hulu shows off new player, no HTML 5

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.

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45 Comments

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I'm anxious for HTML5, I'd imagine once it's decided that H.264 will be the video format then Hulu may enter a testing phase, from there it will only be a matter of time. Of course everyone thought Betamax would beat VHS and HD-DVD would beat out Blu-Ray (lol).

Noticed the changes yesterday. Didn't really care for it, as it glitched up a couple times when trying to simply pause and play.

I don't see why they need HTML5 video.
Actually I don't see why ANYTHING needs HTML5 video.

Flash plugin works just fine.

Udedenkz said,
I don't see why they need HTML5 video.
Actually I don't see why ANYTHING needs HTML5 video.

Flash plugin works just fine.

But Apple says flash is rubbish, and Apple are right about everything, remember! (sniggers)

Udedenkz said,
I don't see why they need HTML5 video.
Actually I don't see why ANYTHING needs HTML5 video.

Flash plugin works just fine.

Because Flash is a closed-source plugin and is completely at the mercy of Adobe.

Silverskull said,
Because Flash is a closed-source plugin and is completely at the mercy of Adobe.

So it doesn't fit into the ecosystem of the iPhoneOS, a close-source environment completely at the mercy of Apple.

/"but the WEB should be open standards, the WEB!!!"

LaP said,
Hulu? That web site you can't use if you are outside USA ?

at least they don't region block their 30 second clips on youtube. yet.
+1 though.

LaP said,
Hulu? That web site you can't use if you are outside USA ?

Yup, that's the one. Obviously, getting access outside the USA is a high priority for them.

C_Guy said,

Yup, that's the one. Obviously, getting access outside the USA is a high priority for them.

Obviously not high enough, because the service is far from new, and they have been promising and not delivering international content for ages now.

Subject Delta said,

Obviously not high enough, because the service is far from new, and they have been promising and not delivering international content for ages now.

They are at the mercy of the content providers.

LaP said,
Hulu? That web site you can't use if you are outside USA ?
Use a proxy and you can have all the access you want. It's how I access the BBC.

Solid Knight said,

They are at the mercy of the content providers.

What Solid Knight said.

The idiotic whining of people outside the US who blame Hulu for the lack of international streaming is like the annoying buzzing of a fly you just can't seem to swat.

/waaaahhhh, stuff made in America might only be available in America, waaaahhhhhh

Edited by Joshie, May 15 2010, 3:18pm :

Joshie said,

What Solid Knight said.

The idiotic whining of people outside the US who blame Hulu for the lack of international streaming is like the annoying buzzing of a fly you just can't seem to swat.

/waaaahhhh, stuff made in America might only be available in America, waaaahhhhhh

Fortunately, most US TV is not worth watching. For the small portion that is, bittorrent does the job.

HTML 5 has way too many glitches at this point. Flash has performance issues. I'd almost rather see them try out Silverlight.

ew2x4 said,
HTML 5 has way too many glitches at this point. Flash has performance issues. I'd almost rather see them try out Silverlight.

+1

ew2x4 said,
HTML 5 has way too many glitches at this point. Flash has performance issues. I'd almost rather see them try out Silverlight.
Silverlight doesn't work well on Linux. I'd rather they didn't.

Silverskull said,
Silverlight doesn't work well on Linux. I'd rather they didn't.

linux has only around 1% market share so thats not a big deal tbh. I'm sure they will release a new version soon of silverlight.

Silverlight won't crash and will give better performance, its definately the best option. HTML5 has no DRM system and IE doesn't support it yet so they won't be switching to HTML5 anytime soon.

ew2x4 said,
HTML 5 has way too many glitches at this point. Flash has performance issues. I'd almost rather see them try out Silverlight.

only a handful of oses/browsers support silverlight so that would not be a good choice yet.

soldier1st said,

only a handful of oses/browsers support silverlight so that would not be a good choice yet.

Handful? Seriously? Get a clue mate.

96.78% of all computers are running an OS that Silverlight runs on (Win+Mac). Add another 1.05% is you include Linux with Moonlight. (OS Market Share Figures: http://www.netmarketshare.com/os-market-share.aspx?qprid=9)

As for Browsers, Silverlight 3 runs on IE 6, 7 and 8, Firefox 2 and 3, Safari 3 and 4 and Google Chrome. Those browsers alone account for 95.99% of all browser usage. (Browser Market Share Figures: http://marketshare.hitslink.co...r-market-share.aspx?qprid=0)

Yeah mate, 96.78% and 95.99% is a handful for sure :-x


Silverskull said,
Silverlight doesn't work well on Linux. I'd rather they didn't.

Admittedly development of Moonlight isn't all that great yet, but it runs very nicely for video streaming, I thought. I don't have much to go on--all I remember watching was the WP7 announcement thing earlier this year. But even just going with that, it streamed full-screen beautifully on a netbook running Ubuntu. Definitely better than the nightmare that is full-screen 480p Hulu on the same netbook.

As an aside, is are the latest Chrome builds running Flash better in Linux?

This may sound stupid. But I still don't find Hulu useful to use.. everytime i want to seach an episode of some sitcom or show, i only get results for 30 sec. previews...

Anyone know what that is?

Anyway.. I dont blame Hulu for no HTML 5.. who really uses it? and if they do.. how bigs that audience? UNLESS they make a special site for all apple, and andriod userss.

dimithrak said,
This may sound stupid. But I still don't find Hulu useful to use.. everytime i want to seach an episode of some sitcom or show, i only get results for 30 sec. previews...

Anyone know what that is?

Anyway.. I dont blame Hulu for no HTML 5.. who really uses it? and if they do.. how bigs that audience? UNLESS they make a special site for all apple, and andriod userss.

I would sure use HTML5... because Flash video (especially in fullscreen) sucks in Linux.

dimithrak said,
This may sound stupid. But I still don't find Hulu useful to use.. everytime i want to seach an episode of some sitcom or show, i only get results for 30 sec. previews...

Anyone know what that is?

Anyway.. I dont blame Hulu for no HTML 5.. who really uses it? and if they do.. how bigs that audience? UNLESS they make a special site for all apple, and andriod userss.

It could be your location (outside the US) or Hulu only has preview clips of that show.

Silverskull said,
I would sure use HTML5... because Flash video (especially in fullscreen) sucks in Linux.

Do you know why it suks in Linux ? And why HTML5 whouldn't necessary mean that it won't suck ?

dimithrak said,
This may sound stupid. But I still don't find Hulu useful to use.. everytime i want to seach an episode of some sitcom or show, i only get results for 30 sec. previews...

Exclude clips from your search. Look for episodes instead.

opensuse said,
Why would Hulu switch over to HTML5? Only a small percentage of people have a browser that supports it.

This is true. If anything, wait till Internet Explorer 9 comes out. I am using Internet Explorer 8 which does not support HTML5.

opensuse said,
Why would Hulu switch over to HTML5? Only a small percentage of people have a browser that supports it.

And there still is no defined video codec yet, so HTML5 would be a bit irresponsible at this point.

CalebTG said,

And there still is no defined video codec yet, so HTML5 would be a bit irresponsible at this point.

Everyone agrees on the codec except for FF.

And in the end MS said it's h264, which means it WILL be h264, as no one is gonna turn off that market.

Ryoken said,
Everyone agrees on the codec except for FF.

And in the end MS said it's h264, which means it WILL be h264, as no one is gonna turn off that market.


I think people are also waiting to see what Google does with VP8, since they can control the video codec that YouTube uses

Ryoken said,
Everyone agrees on the codec except for FF

That's however a big deal. Around 30% of the users today has a browser that supports the HTML video codec according to Hitslink. However, this statistic gets much worse if excepting Firefox, then we're talking of perhaps just 15% or less. This is a big problem for HTML5 adoption, as it's not really feasible to expect webmasters to encode all their videos in two different formats.

Edited by Northgrove, May 16 2010, 12:29pm :