Hulu streaming gets a boost on Android TV apps – but is it good enough?

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If you're watching Hulu on a Nvidia Shield set-top box, or a Sony Android TV, then you now have the choice to stream Hulu shows and films in glorious... Full HD.

The Android TV app for Hulu was previously restricted to a maximum HD resolution (1280 x 720), but as of March 23 it has been capable of Full HD (1980 x 1080) streaming instead. This applies to the 2019 Nvidia Shield TV, the Shield TV and Shield TV Pro iterations released in 2020, and Sony Bravia TVs running Android TV (likely 2017 or 2018 models onwards).

While Hulu is available on a host of devices, the number that support 4K streaming on the service is limited. Prior to the upgrade on Sony TVs and Nvidia Shield, this was limited to the Apple TV (5th Gen), Chromecast Ultra, Chromecast with Google TV, Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, LG TVs (2017 onwards), Roku streaming devices, Vizio SmartCast TVs, Xbox One S / Xbox One X, and the next-gen Xbox Series S / Xbox Series X consoles. (Sorry, PS5.)

Hulu has yet to make a formal announcement about the matter, or even display the changes in its support pages, possibly suggesting a troubleshooting period – or a lack of desire to shout about such a small enhancement.

The days of yore

Hulu subscribers watching on a Nvidia Shield TV, Shield TV Pro, or recent Sony TV like the A8H OLED, may well be pleased at experiencing a boost to their streaming resolution.

But in a world of 4K TVs, it's not the most thrilling upgrade, and speaks to the incomplete hardware support for 4K resolution that still plagues the market today.

Hulu doesn't have a huge number of 4K content, mind, other than its slate of original TV shows – Handmaid's Tale, for one. But as 4K becomes more prolific across the likes of Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney Plus, it's going to be harder to sit with HD or even Full HD. What use is all that detail from filmmakers and production studios if the devices in your home can only display a fraction of it?

It's worth noting that modern 4K upscaling techniques mean even HD or Full HD content can display in 3840 x 2160 on an Ultra HD display, though the quality of this upscaling will vary depending on the processor of the television you're using. A high-end Sony Bravia OLED will likely fare pretty well, though a cheap TV from some supermarket brand may struggle.

Via The Verge

Henry St Leger

Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.