Last Tuesday, Apple quietly updated its Apple TV with the addition of Hulu Plus. It was reported that the video streaming service appeared on the company’s TV set-top box home screen without the need for a software update.
That being said, existing Hulu Plus users can log in to access their account, while new users are offered a free one-week trial. The video streaming service joins Netflix, MLB.TV, the NBA, NHL, Vimeo, YouTube, and WSJ Live as third-party content providers available for Apple TV. Also included in the list is the iTunes content that is available for sale or rental.
Hulu Plus on iOS Devices
The Hulu Plus service debuted on iPhone and iPad in mid-2010 with a $7.99-per-month service. It allows users to access back episodes of popular shows like Family Guy, Modern Family, and Glee on their mobile devices.
Apple has continuously added new applications on its Apple TV even though the service doesn’t have a dedicated App Store. On March 2011, the company added streaming services for MLB and NBA games, along with the 5.1-sound support for Nextflix. It was followed with the addition of NHL games, Wall Street Journal Live, Photo Stream, AirPlay Mirroring, and iTunes Trailer last October.
With the release of iOS 6 this fall, it is expected that Apple TV will expand its functionality. In fact, a developer preview of the upcoming mobile software showed that users can reorder the icons on the TV set-top box.
This function is the same for those who are using the feature on their iPhone or iPad. All that a user needs to do is hold down the “select” button on Apple’s remote, and the chosen icon will start to wiggle. After that, a user can drag the icon to a custom location on the TV screen. As of the moment, pressing down the select button will put the device to sleep.
Meanwhile, an enhanced AirPlay control was also added on the third beta of iOS 6 for Apple TV. This feature doesn’t only make the TV set-top box a device that receives media, it also allows users to stream audio to external AirPlay-capable speakers.
For this to work, the device will detect an AirPlay-enabled speaker on a user’s home network, and it will be available to select for sound output. It enables the device to send audio from any content such as video. Currently, AppleTV only has the ability to receive content, while its existing AirPlay settings can only turn the feature on and off and set a password.