Hulu Live TV Service Gets Detailed Ahead of Launch

At some point in the near future, Hulu will launch its live TV streaming feature, which it initially announced in May of last year.

At the time, it was confirmed that the service would launch the new feature sometime in the early part of 2017, but no specific date was circled on the calendar at the time. While Hulu still doesn’t have a launch date, it has subsequently signed deals from content providers like ABC, Disney, and, most recently, inked deals with CBS. That nails down most of the major content a service like Hulu’s would need to get off the ground, so a public launch could be right around the corner.

Mashable was able to get some eyes-on time with the upcoming service, as Hulu showed off how it will work on iOS and on the TV with its brand new user interface, which combines Hulu’s existing and live content into one place. Hulu showed off an experience that’s “personal, personal, personal,” where there will be different profiles for specific family members that need it.

Each of those profiles will have their own “Lineup,” which is a compilation of all the content that Hulu has determined is most important to that specific user. That content will include both live and on-demand material. For example, telling Hulu that you’re a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles NFL team will show that team’s game if it’s happening live. Favorites, and recorded shows (a cloud DVR feature is said to be an add-on feature) will also be part of the Lineup.

To figure out what a user likes, the new Hulu service will ask a series of questions to determine what kind of shows and movies you like to watch. Genres, specific shows, and even networks will be included in the quizzes, all meant to work out a personal experience for each user.

The Lineup is just part of the new menu, though. After that, users will find TV, Movies, News, and Networks. Each of the categories will aggregate content, and move it to the top, based on your past watching experiences and preferences. The new Hulu UI aims to bring together both Hulu’s “old content,” and seamlessly meld it with the new live streaming content.

“The demo I got of Hulu’s new UI was canned, so I didn’t get a chance to navigate it myself. From the looks of it, Hulu has done a good job of mixing together live and on-demand content into a single interface, although it’s questionable if they ever should have been mixed in the first place.”

Hulu is including notifications as well, but they will only be available for sports teams to start. Specifically, if you tell the new Hulu which team you like, and they have a game starting, Hulu will let you know so you can tune in and watch it. At the same time, notifications will also pop up if your favorite team’s game is getting “particularly exciting,” letting you jump into the action to see what’s going on.

“To help make sure you don’t miss live TV moments that you might want to see, Hulu is introducing new kinds of mobile notifications. If you’ve highlighted a specific sports team, it’ll alert you if a game is starting. And if a game is getting particularly exciting, you’ll get an alert, too (a third-party company, Thuuz, has developed an algorithm for exactly this). Notifications are only for sports right now, but Hulu plans to introduce them for breaking news and when your favorite shows “expire.””

The new live streaming service doesn’t have an exact launch date yet, but Hulu’s CEO, Mike Hopkins, has already said it will be available to customers for “under $40” per month when it does launch.

Are you looking forward to Hulu’s new live TV streaming feature?

[via Mashable]