Hulu Upgrades Mobile Apps With Live TV Guide, Vertical Video

Hulu will soon debut upgraded iOS and Android mobile apps with a new live TV program guide and a vertical video player that will let live TV viewers stream linear programming while browsing the channel guide. The streaming service’s iPhone and iPad apps will also get support for HDMI-out and Android apps will enjoy improved performance on Chromecast. Users will also be able to improve personal recommendations by deleting entries from watch history and removing certain kinds of programs.

Variety reports that the upgrade follows a “significant revamp” last year when Hulu first launched its live TV service. At that time, Hulu simply wanted to “present live TV as just another source for on-demand content, organizing it by shows, and omitting the traditional grid guide,” but, said Hulu vice president of product Richard Irving, “since then, a popular request had been to add the guide, and offer better access to live feeds.”

Hulu_Logo_2016

“Live TV is going to be one button away at all times,” he said, adding that mobile viewing had risen 84 percent year-over-year since the mobile app debuted.

Irving also noted that Hulu was “surprised by how many of the service’s users were mobile-first users.” “That was really the sort of aha-moment,” he said. “To an increasing amount of people, this is the primary way they are watching.” Hulu now has more than 20 million subscribers; a recently inked partnership with Spotify that gives them access to Spotify on-demand and Hulu’s ad-supported on-demand for $13 per month, could boost numbers.

The Verge reports that users’ ability to tweak recommendations include being able to “remove the series, movie or sports league from being recommended to you again” as well as remove items from viewing history. Netflix already has this feature. The icon on the mobile apps will take the user to the last live TV channel viewed, and the traditional grid guide is coming to smartphones over the summer.