It's been a year since the launch of Hulu TV, the service's attempt to take on the likes of Sling TV. And to celebrate, Hulu is unveiling a few new features to make finding shows simpler, along with some updates for Chromecast owners and people who connect HDMI cables to their iOS devices. While there's nothing truly groundbreaking, the upgrades will solve some common issues for Hulu users.
Hulu TV subscribers will be able to jump back into their live shows on mobile by clicking the lightning bolt icon in the navigation bar. The company's mobile apps are also getting a live TV guide to see what's on, as well as a portrait player to let you preview each channel. If you want to jump into a full screen view, you just have to rotate your phone horizontally.
Additionally, Hulu is expanding its Chromecast integration to include that portrait player. You'll be able to cast shows to Chromecast devices, as usual, but you can also browse live TV simultaneously with the new guide. As for that iOS HDMI feature, it's a response to feedback Hulu has gotten from its more dedicated customers. It turns out plenty of people simply want to plug their iPhones or iPads into hotel TVs while traveling.
You'll also have more control over what's recommended to you from Hulu's algorithm, thanks to the ability to stop suggesting specific shows. You can also remove content from your watch history entirely, which is useful if you've found yourself in the middle of a strange new show after falling asleep on the couch. A Hulu rep admitted there were complaints after the company launched a refreshed interface last year, and noted that it'll work harder to alert users of upcoming changes.
Unfortunately, Hulu TV hasn't resolved its huge programming gaps from launch. Viacom networks like MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon are still missing, along with AMC. That means Hulu TV subscribers won't have access to The Walking Dead, one of the most popular shows on television. The company says it's working hard to expand its broadcast coverage in more markets, but it doesn't have any updates on those missing channels.
Similarly, Hulu doesn't have much to say about expanding 4K streaming, something it's offered on game consoles like the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One S since 2016. A representative says the company is focused on perfecting its 1080p experience, which is what most customers will be seeing. While that's understandable, it also means Apple TV users still don't have access to The Handmaid's Tale and other original shows in 4K. Coupled with Hulu's lack of HDR entirely, the service is clearly lagging behind Netflix and Amazon Prime when it comes to streaming technology.