Hulu Plus Surprises with Google Chromecast Integration
Hulu announced that its mobile apps now support Google Chromecast, which helps silence the doubters of Google's TV streaming device, and gives Chromecast a prestigious partner. The move is a surprise, as Google hasn't yet released the final Chromecast SDK, but, as Hulu noted on its blog, its team has been working closely with the Chromecast developers.
StreamingMedia.com reviewed Google Chromecast last week, and noted that it's easy and convenient, but lacks content compared to Roku boxes or the Apple TV. At the time, Chromecast could only stream content from Netflix, YouTube, Google Play, and a Chrome browser when used with a computer. Hulu Plus support is a sizable win.
To use Hulu Plus with Chromecast, Chromecast owners will need to download updated Android or iPad apps. Hulu says that iPhone support will come soon.
With an updated app, Hulu Plus subscribers will be able to control a Hulu Plus stream from their smartphone or tablet. They can pause playback, jump back 10 seconds, or browse for new content while a movie or TV show plays on their TV. Controls are available in the app or in the device's lock screen or notification tray.
Will Amazon support come next? Or AOL, Facebook, or Yahoo? Chromecast will need many similar announcements to feel like a full platform.
In related news, Parks Associates released a report today showing that 34 percent of Chromecast owners use the device to stream Hulu content to their televisions every day. Half of those are streaming free content, which Hulu doesn't make available for TV viewing. The report was prepared before Hulu announced Chromecast app support. The news is surprising, as these people are using the Chrome browser on a desktop or notebook computer to call up and stream video, and content sent from the Chrome browser isn't high quality, as with a supported app. The report shows that Chromecast is helping viewers sidestep usage restrictions put in place by content owners.
The number two subscription video-on-demand service might cut its heavy video ad load to improve the viewing experience.
DASH is bringing cost savings to Hulu, and quality of service improvements to its subscribers. No wonder Hulu has plans to bring it to more platforms.
While Chromecast functionality has been limited so far, that will quickly change. Uses could go far beyond what set-top boxes allow.
DASH is in place today, Hulu says; HEVC will need to wait until there's hardware support on mobile devices to prevent battery drain.
Chromecast is no longer just for Netflix, HBO, and YouTube, as several additional apps announce they've added support.
Using Chromecast is dead simple and a pleasure, but there isn't yet much it can do. How much will that change when the SDK is finally released?