Hulu released a new, chromeless video player on Saturday, in an effort to improve the viewing experience for users of its web site. The new player is designed to give viewers easier access to their settings, and has also added a 10-second rewind feature to enable viewers to quickly skip back and re-watch their favorite moments of a program.
The new player groups all of a video’s settings — facial recognition, closed captioning, and the like — all in one place, and the player automatically detects and adjusts video quality based on the available bandwidth. And when you pause a video, the player highlights program and episode information, along with how much time is left in the show or movie you’re watching.
When shows finish, Hulu now lets you choose from a group of comparable shows to watch next, or lets users auto-play the next selection, making the experience more like watching TV uninterrupted. For instance, at the end of an episode of The Office, I was recommended new episodes of fellow NBC comedies Parks And Recreation and Community.
But one of the most important new features is the 10-second rewind feature, which lets users quickly skip back and re-watch certain moments of a show — for instance, if there was a funny joke, or if they maybe missed a crucial line in a drama. Being able to skip back without pausing or scrubbing the timeline of the video player is pretty cool.
Even though Hulu’s focused on expanding availability of its content on tablets and connected TV devices, it still get a sizable audience on its website. Video players on the web have come a long way over the years, and Hulu’s interface just continues to improve. I mean, can you believe the Hulu player used to look like this? It looks positively clunky by comparison.