Hulu is rolling out a new home screen to Apple TV and Roku users


Hulu had already received these recommendations; think of things like "martial arts movies", "teen dramas", "Oscar winning movies", etc. But the company has a few tricks to make its system stand out a bit from the other options. The most obvious for viewers will be that each "tray" can display tiles of different sizes. There is a smaller default size, a larger one that displays more information about the recommendation, and a full size banner for more emphasis.

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The different sizes provide a much needed visual break to keep you from getting some "scrolling fatigue". If you've ever gone through endless lists in Netflix or Amazon Prime, you'll know the feeling. I haven't used the new Hulu interface yet, but I can say in the demo that I got that the various sizes helped to go a little cross while browsing.

Hulu doesn't just use different sizes to break the scroll – they will be used in different contexts depending on the benefits of the content. For example, your "Keep Watching" tray usually has small thumbnails so you can see more shows than you are already watching. On the other hand, a tray inviting you to discover new drama series might have medium squares, so the art is bigger and there is more room for information on why you are getting this recommendation.

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Likewise, the large full-screen tiles are used for something that Hulu calls "high confidence" recommendations – which could be something very trendy, or something personalized depending on the history of your watch. As Product Management Director Jason Wong said, these recommendations are as likely to be an in-depth show or a niche film as something that is watched by many viewers.

As for the recommendations that appear in Hulu platforms, the company naturally uses both human editors and algorithmic recommendations. But the company also makes recommendations organized by man but assisted by machine in one fell swoop. That means putting in some human recommendations and letting the algorithm take over – but the algorithm will also customize it based on your personal preferences. The goal is basically to make everyone's Hulu home page different, even if you receive the same category of recommendations.

The last change Hulu is making is subtle but clever. The top navigation bar has been significantly simplified, with simple headers to browse all movies, TV shows, or sports (as well as tabs for the home page and your collection). Previously, the categories of movies and TV shows were buried among other collections that Hulu has shown viewers, so having an easy high-level navigation option to access them is a smart change.

Hulu says these changes will be rolled out for Roku and Apple TV over the next two months, and the company has said it will also roll out more changes to the experience throughout the year, although they are not specific on what we should be looking at right now. Unfortunately for users of Hulu on other platforms, it is not yet known when the new user interface will arrive. But Hulu specifically mentioned aligning its user interface with other products like ESPN + and Disney +, both of which are available alongside Hulu in a bundle. Given that the company is looking to align itself with these other products, it looks like Hulu will be motivated to release this update as soon as possible.


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