Hulu is the latest company to go all-out on Chromecast-like multiscreen features: Hulu Plus subscribers can now access the video service through their Android (S GOOG) and iOS (S AAPL) devices on Microsoft’s (S MSFT) Xbox One as well as Sony’s (S SNE) PS3 and PS4. Support for additional devices will follow in the coming months, according to a blog post, in which Hulu Senior Development Lead Mitch Walker described the feature this way:
“Simply launch the Hulu Plus app on your iOS or Android mobile device, and your gaming console system will be detected directly through the app. Once detected, a “cast” button will appear on your mobile phone or tablet and you can pair it with your living room device.”
Users can then cast videos directly from their mobile device to their game console, and also control playback much in the same way they would if they were going to watch the video on the mobile device itself.
Check out a video demo of the new feature below:
Those are pretty much the same type of features that Hulu launched on Google’s Chromecast streaming stick, but in this case, it isn’t using Google’s Cast SDK. Instead, Hulu is relying on technology it built in-house.
The added engineering effort explains why relatively few companies have taken Chromecast-like remote control features beyond Chromecast itself. With the exception of this new Hulu launch, YouTube (S GOOG) and Netflix (S NFLX) are the only big publishers that have brought cast capabilities to devices like Roku as well as Blu-Ray players, game consoles and smart TVs.
YouTube’s and Netflix’s efforts are in part based on DIAL, a multiscreen discovery protocol that was jointly developed by both companies. Hulu didn’t use DIAL for the ability to cast to game consoles, but will implement the protocol to add the same functionality to additional devices in the coming months, according to a spokesperson.
LG recently proposed a new open multiscreen SDK to simplify the use of DIAL for other publishers that don’t have the same engineering resources.
This post was updated at 11:25am with additional details on the technology used by Hulu to bring casting to game consoles.