Hulu Recommits to Flash

11:00 AM -- Web video site Hulu LLC unveiled a slew of updates to its video player yesterday -- and declared its loyalty to Flash.

Hulu announced, among other things, that it has made its player 25 percent larger; added adaptive bit-rate streaming; unleashed a feature called the "Heat Map," which lets users see what the most-watched sections of a video are; and introduced a "new ad personalization feature" called Ad Tailor. But the part of the announcement that stuck out the most was the video site's recommitment to Adobe Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: ADBE)'s Flash.

Flash has recently taken some criticism after Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs famously exiled it from the iPad, calling Adobe "lazy" and touting the advantages of HTML5 instead. But in regard to HTML5, Hulu VP of product Eugene Wei had this to say in the company's blog:

    We continue to monitor developments on HTML5, but as of now it doesn't yet meet all of our customers' needs. Our player doesn’t just simply stream video, it must also secure the content, handle reporting for our advertisers, render the video using a high performance codec to ensure premium visual quality, communicate back with the server to determine how long to buffer and what bitrate to stream, and dozens of other things that aren’t necessarily visible to the end user. Not all video sites have these needs, but for our business these are all important and often contractual requirements.

Meanwhile competitors like CBS are embracing HTML5, in order to reach iPad users.

In other news:

  • Last week, due to a bug, Twitter Inc. users were able to force others to Follow them on the site. So whom did they choose as Followers? While high-brow figures like Barack Obama and Bill Gates were popular choices, it turns out more users were interested in Oprah, Lady Gaga, and Justin Bieber (a.k.a., the holy trinity).

  • Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) is considering developing a tablet computer to compete with the iPad, Bloomberg reports. However, Mike Abary, senior vice president of Sony's Information Technology Products unit, said the company is still "not convinced there is a large enough market to justify bringing out a tablet."

    — Erin Barker, Digital Content Reporter, Light Reading Cable

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