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Playing in the Sun: Check Out Our Shiny New Player

July 21st, 2012 by Michelle Koh

Is it hot in here or is it just our new look?

Summer’s not quite over yet, but we just couldn’t wait until the fall TV premieres to share our brand new video player.

The new player is now a sleeker, chromeless and friendlier interface—and it puts the shows you love at center stage. We’ve been sweating the details so that you can enjoy this summer relaxing with your favorite show as you fire up that grill in the backyard.

The new 10-second rewind, for example, allows you to quickly jump back and re-watch punchlines until you’ve got ‘em memorized.  And when you pause the player to save your burgers from getting burnt to a crisp, we remind you of what you were watching and how much time is left to watch.

After your heroic stunt, think you might want to watch something else? You can easily browse more videos inside the player without stopping what you’re already watching with a new feature called Up Next.

We’ve also simplified settings by organizing them all in one place. Closed captions, pop-out player, and lower lights are all in one nifty spot. Not only that, but we select the best quality video for your bandwidth so you don’t have to worry about it.

When the show wraps up, what’s next is now a simpler decision—or no decision at all, if you like. Sit back and watch what we suggest or click through the player for something else you’ve been craving.

So relax with a cold beer or ice cream and your guiltiest pleasure on our new player. Make sure to let us know what you think!  We are always looking to do whatever we can to bring the best experience possible.

But you still have to buy the ice cream.

Last comment: about 14 hours ago 46 Comments
  • Hi Pat,

    I’m sorry for the trouble with our new player. Have you tried using a different browser like Google Chrome ( http://www.google.com/chrome ) to see if that makes a difference? If you still need assistance, please contact us directly at ( http://www.hulu.com/support ), where we’ll be better equipped to help.

    Thanks,
    Robert
    Hulu Support

  • Pat Ottobre says:

    New player maxes out my CPU and delivers poor performance I dont like it.

  • Joseph Collier says:

    I just emailed customer support regarding the lack of an autoplay control, I’d suggest everyone on here do the same especially if you are a paying customer. As a Hulu+ subscriber this is a deal breaker for me and I will be canceling my account until they fix this issue. This is the worse transition Hulu has ever made in my opinion. The new layout is garbage and the new player is sluggish and lacks features… LIKE AN AUTOPLAY TOGGLE.

    Also thanks to the new design they have made it near impossible for people to submit comments on blogs such as this buy adding a pop up toolbar at the bottom that hides the “leave comment” button. If you are using chrome and right click on the toolbar and choose inspect element, you can delete the code that generates the bar in order to access the “leave comment” button. I wouldn’t think Hulu did this intentionally but given their underhanded removal of the autoplay toggle i wouldn’t put it past them.

  • Rachel Robinson says:

    Bring back the recently added, please! It used to be so easy to see what had been added each day, and now it is impossible.

  • Ryan says:

    Please bring back the old version.
    Sorry Guys, you must not have field tested this new version much, because its crap.

  • Kirk says:

    Triple Yikes!
    Please bring back the geniuses responsible for the previous player. The new hires have a lot to learn from them. The old player was truly THE BEST in the business.

    Unfortunately, Shiny New Player, does not mean better in this situation.

  • Nikki says:

    Where is the search function in the pop out box? Or did you remove it? I hate having to close the pop up and reopen it with every show I want to watch. That’s really my only complaint. Bring back the search functionality in the pop out.

  • Wayne R says:

    Take all the negative comments below and add another disgruntled user to the list of each.
    Like:
    1) 10 second rewind is very useful
    2) Being able to pop-out from the video

    Dislike
    1) I don’t like how small the new player’s timeline is. I liked the wider area to click on.
    2) Why can I no longer customize the subtitles to my liking? It was much better the old way. Text size, color, and background color are important for closed captioning.
    3) Autoplay. Seriously, the autoplay is fixed now but it makes me think that Hulu didn’t actually consult users before creating this new player
    4) Not having the video selection interface as the current video is ending

    There was nothing really wrong with the old player. Perhaps an interface change would have been helpful, but the features themselves were good. Companies need to stop trying to prove something by “improving” things that aren’t broken. Listen to users first, Hulu.

  • B Movie says:

    Hulu,
    Firstly, THANK YOU for your quick response in dealing with the Autoplay feature! :-)

    I also wanted to add 2 more comments that I forgot to post the last time:

    1) The Video Buffer Meter — in the previous player it was visible on the main screen. I found that feature to be VERY HELPFUL! Whenever, I rewind or forward, I usually pause the video until the buffer is full again. It makes the playback experience smoother. Also, when I have an internet issue on my end, I easily notice it by seeing that the buffer is filling slower than normal.

    So if you do not plan to make the buffer visible again by default, then I at least wanted to suggest making it a user OPTION setting to have it visible or not.

    2) The timeline that is used to jump to a specific point in a video is now way too small. It is much harder to find the exact scene you are looking for in a video.

    Why not keep the timeline as big and wide as possible — since it disappears after a few seconds anyways???

    Thanks.

  • Hi Vixy,

    Thanks for posting. We’re happy that you like some of the new features. We’re actively looking to improve the site even more and definitely take feedback like yours to heart.

    As for the streaming issues you’ve experienced, I’d like you to try the steps below concerning Adobe Flash. If the steps below don’t work, please run a speed test ( speedtest.net ) of your connection. Once you’re on the site, you can find your speed by pressing Begin Test. What are the download and upload speeds in Mbps? What’s the ping?

    If you wouldn’t mind, reply at ( bit.ly/98aFEW ). That way, we can reply much faster.

    Thanks,
    Hulu Support

    • Try disabling “hardware acceleration” in Flash — Right-click on our video player and select Settings. Click the leftmost tab on the panel that appears (which is labeled as “Display”) and uncheck the box next to Enable Hardware Acceleration. When you’re through, close the panel and restart your browser.
    • Clear your Flash cache by visiting ( http://www.macromedia.com/support/documentation/en/flashplayer/help/settings_manager07.html ) and clicking Delete All Sites in the Website Storage Settings panel.
    • Make sure your video card drivers are up to date — To do this simply run a Mac or Windows system update. If your video card still needs updating, your video card manufacturer ( Ex: http://www.nvidia.com or http://www.ati.com ) will have driver support available, and will be the most qualified to help you with this process.

  • vixy says:

    I just wanted to be a somewhat less categorically negative voice here. I think there were some unfortunate choices made, and it’s a shame that most companies upgrade their interfaces seemingly without much input from the users beforehand, which is probably partly why people get so irate. But you fixed the autoplay problem, for which I am very grateful (if anyone reading this does not know yet, you can go into your account settings and there’s a button to enable/disable autoplay). I like the look of the new player and I like the text that appears when the player’s put in pause mode, nice to see how much time is left. I do agree that I miss seeing time elapsed, and that having a smaller timeline is not an improvement, and I think hulu should pay close attention to any feedback from hearing impaired or visually impaired people – always! – but the new features are not all bad. The 10-second rewind is terrific. Unlike the person who said he’d never use it, I use it ALL THE TIME! I am often doing something else while watching tv shows, and so I often want to go back and re-watch something I kind of missed, or maybe I got up to go get a cookie during the commercial break and the show came back and I missed some of it. This feature is great for me as a viewer.

    As for bandwidth/lag time issues, I can’t reliably comment on those because I have to clear up some general issues with my internet connection first, but things have definitely been slower for a few months, and a bit buggier (digital glitches and that thing where the image freezes and a third of half of the screen goes neon psychadelic, while the audio continues unabated… that doesn’t happen all that often but more now than it used to). But again, could be partly problems on my end, when I fix those if I’m still encountering playback problems I’ll let you know!
    Thanks hulu,
    vixy

  • Greg says:

    Well, 34 comments and all complaining about the reduced usability of the new player interface. Getting the point yet Hulu?

  • Hi Jessica,

    Thanks for posting. It sounds like you might be watching Enhanced episodes of Lost, which have this extra feature embedded. If that’s not the case, please contact us directly with more specific details about the issue. You can reach us via email through our support form ( http://www.hulu.com/support/support_form ).

    Thanks,
    Russ
    Hulu Support

  • Hi there,

    Thank you for posting. I apologize for the confusion. The pop-out option is located in the settings menu, accessible by hovering your mouse cursor over the gear icon in the bottom-right corner of the player. I hope this helps.

    As always, please feel free to contact us directly if you require additional assistance. You can reach us via email through our support form ( http://www.hulu.com/support/support_form ).

    Regards,
    Russ
    Hulu Support

  • Guybrush says:

    Where the heck is the pop-out button? Why do you keep moving this, it is the single best feature of Hulu, the ability to resize the goshdarn window. Please stop doing stupid things with your video player, and make it user friendly.

  • Magister Ludi says:

    Whoops! After registering my complaint about auto-auto-play, I loaded the forums and learned that in response to the negative feedback, you’ve added the ability to disable auto-play to the Settings tab on our profiles. Thanks, I really didn’t like auto-play.

  • Magister Ludi says:

    I don’t ordinarily read the blog, so I emailed to complain about the auto-auto-play and our inability to turn it off. I see many others have voiced the same complaint and it doesn’t appear anyone likes it. Hopefully, it will be gone soon.

  • Jessica says:

    I’ve been trying to look around and see if other people are having the same issue as me but haven’t found a thing! When I watch an episode from a tv show while I’m watching it there are little tid bits of stupid info about the show that pop up and constantly keep appearing during the duration of the show! So annoying and distracting and I can’t figure out how to turn it off! Things like “so and so feels like this about her situation” ughhhhh bunch of crap! Please help!!

  • serpentinne says:

    does it still have a custom clip option??

  • John B says:

    I would like to provide a bit of feedback on the new change as well:

    * The new pause screen is a nice touch. It obviously mimics Netflix’s recent change, but it’s still a welcome change.

    * The smaller size of the player controls is a bit obnoxious, and is NOT, from a usability standpoint, an improvement. It just looks nicer (and I would take function over form any day).

    * As so many have mentioned, the auto-play change is a disaster. I understand that you’ve responded to the complaints and intend to add back the ability to turn auto-play off permanently, but mentioning that hitting “Pause Auto-Play” will stop auto-play for 4 hours was embarrassing. You never should have mentioned that. It obviously had NOTHING to do with the complaints and is NOT EVEN CLOSE to a substitute for being able to turn off auto-play permanently. Be honest, you made this change to auto-play for YOUR benefit…not your viewer’s.

    * The movement and reduction of Closed Captioning options is ridiculous. Just to be clear, any time you REMOVE features it is NOT an improvement. As mentioned before, I believe you did this because fewer controls provides a cleaner looking interface…but your viewers want FUNCTION not FORM. Further, I don’t need CC, but I do like to have it on sometimes (like when my kids are sleeping and I don’t want to wake them with the television). Therefore, having the ability to quickly turn CC on and off was very useful. Now? Not useful at all.

    * The new 10 second rewind? I suppose it’s a decent function but one I’ll probably never use (and that space on the controller would be better suited to CC controls or Auto-Play controls).

    * The new “What’s up next” feature? Another decent function…but again…one I will probably never use.

    Let me summarize by saying you should not be bragging about this new player. If anything, you could say that you decided to go with a simpler player that offered fewer features, but is easier to use (and even that is questionable). I think this player has done more harm than good and I hope future changes are better thought out. Remember: Function over form.

    Finally, thank you for responding to the comments. Thank you for listening to what your users are saying. Many companies just do what they think is best without any regard for the end user. You have proven here, and with other issues in the past, that you do listen and work hard to make changes based on feedback. That’s rare and appreciated.

    Thank you for a great product that has enabled me to shut off my cable permanently. Despite my criticisms above, you guys rock!

    John

  • F.A. says:

    Hulu, I watch shows with my friends often. It’s one of the best things about online video. The ability to share a link, have friends sync up and press play. I don’t expect you to ever support this type of socializing. That’s okay.

    However, your new UI, like Netflix’s, seems to strive to make such things *harder* for us. What use to be a simple ‘Stop at 5′ no matter the length of the video is now a mad hunt to find a number and get there. There’s simply no reason I need to have two reminders of how much time is left, the one under the title when paused, and the one on the bar itself. I *do* however need to know how much time has elapsed, especially when your search bar goes by time elapsed and not time left. This sort of unintuitive functionality is detrimental to your product. A product already made difficult by the obscene broadcasting limits put on you by networks. Hopefully you’ll add a way to have Time Elapsed appear on the bar again. It’d be much appreciated.

  • rudanja says:

    Unfortunately the Captions are now small and white. It is impossible to read. With the previous player you had an option to have a black background with yellow text which means you can read subtitles so much easier. The new player might be “clever” but somehow the functionality, which is the blood of a media player, has been sacrificed.

  • B Movie says:

    Dear Hulu Code Jockeys,
    I have been on hulu for 4+ years now. Hell, I got rid of my cable because of hulu! So I am obviously a big fan.

    But I have to express disappointment with the new interface. It is arguably “prettier” than the previous one. But the usability has gone down! Many of the previous controls and options are harder to find; and are located in less intuitive places than before.

    The 2 features I miss the most are: 1) turning off autoplay — easily and permanently and 2) the time stamp of how much time has passed in a video. (Showing me how much time is left, is frankly useless information to me.)

    About a week or two ago, a blog by a former developer at Mozilla-Firefox made a splash in the tech news. He basically lamented that, when it comes to software upgrades, far too often developers are so passionate about their work — that they just assume that users will want their updates — even if it means changing a user interface that is familiar and still popular. Trying out the new hulu player and then seeing the comments on this blog reminded me of that story.

    I am not sure how much beta testing you do with users? But wouldn’t it have been better to get this kind of feedback before the release rather than after?

    At some point, a good interface is a good interface — and does not need constant, major tweaking.

    I understand that pleasing users while trying to make innovative updates is never easy. But as long as you are willing to make the changes that your customers are clamoring for — even if means reverting back to previous code — then I guess that is all we could ask for.
    Cheers.

  • Ian says:

    I really like the new interface, it looks a lot better and seems to be more reliable. I cannot stand the auto-play feature, though. I cannot express how annoying it is; I really like to watch nature shows as I go to sleep on hulu, and now I have no choice but to be woken up in the middle of the night to annoying shows that I never wanted to watch in the first place. If the disable autoplay feature is not returned soon I may lose patience and quit using hulu! I really like you guys, if I was less poor I would get hulu plus just to support you.

  • Ian says:

    One of the things I loved when I signed up as a Hulu beta tester five years ago was its great video player interface, especially the video seek function. Now that function has been diminished with the narrower timeline (as others have mentioned). The player now feels more like the TV networks’ players, the same players that drove me away from their websites and to consume more of my video content on Hulu.

    Hulu Ad Swap appears to have disappeared, the embed/share features of the old(er) players get further buried in the options below the player, and autofollow is now mandatory (though, from a business perspective, the goal is for increased video consumption, and autoplay is a good way to get the sheep to watch more than they had originally anticipated).

    While I doubt that Hulu will backpedal on any of these features that have been updated, due to the investment in developing the new player, it’d be nice. Though there could have been some legal issue that mandated the changes away from the features its users really liked.

  • PleaseFix says:

    Please turn auto play off. I like to watch in bed, so it’ll just play all night after I fall asleep. Must be needing to increase views. I’ll be over at Netflix until you fix this.

  • JohnG says:

    I have to add to the votes against the new player. Not only can we no longer autoplay, or see what time we are at in the show, but the option to reconnect when the show freezes is gone. If your “improvements” are to take away three or more features, then I’ll be switching back to Netflix.

  • M Smith says:

    Mandatory autoplay is horrendous — please fix ASAP. Controller is smaller and harder to negotiate.

  • sno says:

    Seriously, whoever thought it was a good idea to remove the option to permanently disable autoplay should be fired. Generally, I like the new interface, but the removal of the ability to disable autoplay makes what would have been a very slight improvement a complete utter disaster. Again, seriously, whoever thought it was a good idea, should be fired.

  • J says:

    10 seconds rewind? Really? Nice gimmik :)

  • peeved says:

    You’ve done exactly what myspace & then facebook did, screwed up something that was perfectly fine by making “improvements”. Might I suggest that you stop trying to justify your jobs by creating work for yourselves and ruining a perfectly good platform, and LEAVE WELL ENOUGH ALONE.

  • Joe Schmoe says:

    I’d WOULD like to pile on… This “improved” interface is nothing of the sort!!! In addition to seconding all of the previous complaints others have already covered quite well, I’d also like to point out that you made your controller smaller horizontally, and therefore less useful. When the controller spanned the entire bottom of the viewing area, jumping to a specific point in the video was much easier, since each pixel of the controller corresponded to a smaller segment of the video. Please bring back to old controller!!!

  • RN says:

    I’m also joining those who are unhappy with the new player. In addition to not being able to set autoplay to off, your queue or the show you’re watching (I found all three useful, depending upon viewing circumstances), you’ve done away with the closed captioning options! Now only one text size and one text style is available. What’s the point of making closed captioning available if you can’t read the text because the print is too small or there isn’t enough contrast from the background? Please bring back all of these options!

  • prepstexas says:

    The black background for Closed Caption is no longer available.. which is very frustrating. It has made the ability to watch shows and read the lines much more difficult. Please fix this madness! Would much rather you bring back the option of using the old player, which was quite efficient and effective. This new set up is really irks and bothers me on a number of levels.

  • FakeName says:

    How bizarre. You made it impossible to permanently stop Autoplay and you call it an improvement?

    Maybe Goodyear will come up with a new improved tire that I only have to inflate every 4 hours.

  • Mark says:

    I need to voice my concern about the new player as well. When I saw it, it was ok but nothing earth shattering. Then the auto-play kicked in. I turn off auto-play because I like to choose what I watch, not just have it play straight through. I also usually run out to the kitchen to get a snack, refresh my drink, etc while the credits roll knowing when I get back, I can pick what to watch next. This is in fact the way I discovered the new despised feature, walking back to my computer to find a show in my queue already 10 minutes in. The pause is not enough. I do not want auto-play on ever.

  • jhallgren says:

    Encountered the new player just now — NOT happy, unfortunately! I normally use full screen player on 2nd laptop due to eyesight issues and new vers doesn’t show what I need to see large enough for me to view it! :( The time remaining is now way TOO small a font size, for ex.

    I also do NOT like not having the time, timeline and total time visible at all times so that I can know exactly where I am in the program in terms of time. For example, If I get interrupted by a phone call or need to stop viewing for a bit and don’t have a chance to hit pause, I can’t as easily return to where I need to..when times and timeline were always shown, I could guess somewhat reasonably by position or make mental note of time (like I was at 23:xx of 43:25) and restart…I also could leave cursor on volume button so I could hit mute quickly which i can’t do now that controls only show on request.
    So PLEASE give option to show times and timeline in large enough fonts in that blank area at bottom so us visually impaired users can see it as we used to, ok?

    Have not run into auto-play issue yet but knowing it will be problem via other comments was helpful. I never used auto-play as always used it as way to gettting a break between shows.

  • Brklyn Grl says:

    The pop-up option is too brief & the pause does NOT pause for 4 hours. As soon as we try to watch another video, it defaults back to ‘Autoplay On’. Others & myself have stated on all the countless threads that we want the option to turn it OFF like we were able to before, not just pause.

  • James says:

    I hate to pile on here, but I have to agree with many of the comments expressed so far. While I can appreciate the attempt to streamline the look and feel of the player, the result is sub-par. Hiding some of the controls so they are and extra click away goes against good design standards. Information that the old play made visible is now gone. And the worst is the removal of the ability to turn-off autoplay. Having to pause auto play after each video is pretty unbearable.

  • Hi all,

    RC—we’re sorry for the frustration with our Auto Play feature. Still, I have some good news: you can still turn Auto Play off temporarily. At the end of every video you watch on Hulu.com, there will be a popup that says “Pause Auto Play”. If you click this, Auto Play will be turned off for the next four hours of playback. I’m really sorry for the trouble. Rest assured we do take your feedback to heart and the ability to turn Auto Play on/off permanently will be reintroduced soon. I hope this helps! Thank you in advance for your patience.

    We truly appreciate the time you’ve taken to give us your feedback on our new interface. I hope we can use your feedback to further refine and improve our player!

    Thanks,
    Daniel
    Hulu Support

  • Hi xzvk,

    I’m sorry for your trouble with our new interface—please let us thoroughly troubleshoot this for you!

    http://hulu.tv/C

    I look forward to resolving this for you.

    Thanks,
    Daniel
    Hulu Support

  • J.S. says:

    Saw the new player yesterday, not an improvement in my opinion. Do not like the low, med, high, HD. Much better when we actually knew what rez it actually was, you know like Youtube still does. What are you guys going to do when you offer 1080p video as well make another change and add super HD? I’m actually genuinely confused as to why you spent time and money making this change. Feels more like change for change sake as opposed to any actual reason. And no burying the lower lights, CC and pop out under the “options” button which isn’t even on the main control UI does not count as easier or simpler.

  • jack says:

    it would be really nice if the new player showed what time you were currently at instead of (or in addition to) how much time you have left. I watch hulu with friends in other states and it’s much easier to sync times the old way.

  • rc says:

    So, you fixed something that wasn’t broken. And, you’ve made it harder to turn off the annoying autoplay feature.
    Good for you for trying to make it look like you’re actually doing something. And yes, that is sarcasm.
    I have an idea: give us, your customers, something we actually want, like better control over our accounts. There should be a permanent way to set turn auto play on or off as well as a way to permanently set the queue to list view or show group view.

  • xzvk says:

    The new interface seems to take more bandwidth, everything is laggier and I can’t go into fullscreen without a lot of lag. Maybe the option to revert to the old interface would be a good idea, or making a lite version.

  • anonymouse says:

    So, when will this new player be available exactly? I already have the ice cream :p

    (Also, the “enjoy this summer” link is broken, it has a trailing “%5D” in the url: http://www.hulu.com/spotlight/summer-entertaining%5D — this works fine: http://www.hulu.com/spotlight/summer-entertaining)

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