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Hulu Planning Major Upgrades

It has been a big day for Hulu. Earlier this week the online TV provider announced that it would continue to support Flash instead of switching to HTML5, but that announcement was just one of several changes that Hulu is making (or not making as the case may be).

On Hulu’s blog, VP of product Eugene Wei outlined the changes. Strangely, the post has been removed, but a cached version of the original survives.

Most of the changes are on the technical side to increase the experience of watching video, which means that when they work properly, you will never see them. But there are a few changes users will notice right away. Here’s a breakdown:

Adaptive Bitrate Streaming

When you begin the playback of a video, Hulu will now determine your internet quality, and buffer the video accordingly on the fly. If the connection is slow, you can lower the quality to improve the reliability and improve the watching experience.

Ad Volume Normalization

Ads and TVs shows do not have a standard that they all adhere to, so sometimes an ad can come across as annoyingly loud. This change put all the sound between the video and the ads at the same level.

Closed Captioning Display

Hulu has added two new closed caption options. The white lettering for the closed captions now available might stand out on certain backgrounds, so Hulu has introduced yellow and black boxed captions as well to improve visibility.

Seek Preview

Now when you place the cursor further down in the player timeline, a thumbnail of the image from that point of the video will pop up. Moving the video stream back and forth can cause multiple ad breaks, so this will give you a quick preview of the rest of the video without interfering with the playback.

Heat Map

Now, underneath the video, a series of bars will show viewers which sections of the videos were the most watched. Users can then jump to that section by clicking the bar.

A Bigger, Sleeker Player

The most noticeable change will be the size of the viewer. At its default setting, the viewer will now be 25% larger. It will also feature some cosmetic changes as well.

Introducing Ad Tailor

A new bar at the top of the video player will appear during ads asking if you felt the ad was relevant. You can’t skip ads on Hulu, but at least now you can tailor them to things you might at least be interested in.

More Customization

The three main pages, the main Hulu homepage, the TV homepage, and the Movies homepage will get a slight facelift.

Personalized Recommendations

Hulu will also begin to offer users personalized recommendations. The recommendations will be based on the previews of videos you have watched while logged in.

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