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New Site Features

November 24th, 2008 by Rebecca Harper Editor

Our Beijing team has been working behind the scenes on a special detail that appears when you search for an actor on Hulu. Whenever possible, our database shows that particular star’s face in each of the tailored search result images — what we call “adaptive thumbnails.” Our Hulu How-To Videos section features a video walk-through of this feature, but here I’ve done a search for “Kristen Wiig,” SNL‘s new it-girl.

Actor Search: Kristen Wiig

Search for another actor, and the same thing happens: The results will display thumbnail images that feature the new star — even if both actors appear in the same videos. Here’s what happens when you search for another SNL cast member, Blizzard Man himself, Andy Samberg.

Actor Search: Andy Samberg

Our search team has focused their efforts on Hulu’s most popular actor queries, but they’ll continue to expand coverage over time. And if you feel like you’re not getting the videos you expected, each of our search pages features a handy feedback form at the bottom of the results.

This is just one way we’ve made it easier to find the specific video you’re looking for on Hulu. A visit to our home page, hulu.com, reveals another way to get to the shows, movies or clips you want more quickly. Our QuickView feature displays video information whenever you hover your mouse over a video thumbnail image, episode title or show name on Hulu. You’ll get specific, video-related information — the video’s title and its duration, air date, rating and average user rating, plus a short description — when your mouse pauses over the video title or thumbnail image; hovering over a show or movie title will provide a QuickView of the series description.

Hulu QuickView

It’s a neat feature that a lot of our users have asked for, and we hope it helps you determine which video is the one you’re after next time you’re browsing the site. For the rest of the week, Hulu for the Holidays will focus on movies with star power. Tomorrow ‘s title features Robert Redford behind the camera — and familiar (if you read the tabloids, anyway) face playing a lead role.

Rebecca (),

Last comment: Dec 1st 2008 3 Comments
  • Michael says:

    I will have to agree with the fish. Sure, those things are nice, but I wouldn’t call them necessary. You guys need to be focusing on big-issue items. I have noticed the problem with stuttering very often, especially when i switch to high-definition content. I don’t know what you do to play your content, but there should be some sort of behind-the-scenes buffering thats a little more efficient.

    Also, Windows Media Center is probably the most logical and widely used interface for watching TV on the PC. Why you guys have not introduced a Media Center plug-in yet is beyond me.

  • Trout says:

    I wish you would focus more on basic features – such as STUTTER FREE playback instead of this extra stuff. Your site continues to stutter and choke video (1 second playback for 3 seconds stop) on every computer and network I try. It’s maddening. I like the site in theory, but your site is the only one – out of Fox.com, abc.com, southparkstudios.com, thedailyshow.com, youtube.com, etc. that has this problem. These all play fine for me, only Hulu continues to have such problems.
    Please fix this huge basic issue, lower your bandwidth requirements or whatever is going on, before tackling any more of these extra features people barely notice.


  • Sarah says:

    I discovered the “adaptive actor search” last week and wrote about it on my blog (although I called it “dynamic thumbnails”) – http://sarahcpr.com/2008/11/18/dynamic-thumbnails-on-hulu/

    Can you tell us more about how this is done behind the scenes?

    Keep up the great work!