Appledystopia: Independent Technology News

Apple TV 5.2.1: Worth Upgrading?

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Hulu Plus adds subtitles for Apple TV

Hulu Plus finally has subtitles. When your show starts, hold down the middle select button on the remote. This will show an options panel where you can turn on subtitles, as well as activate other AirPlay speakers. I find it indispensable when I am watching certain British shows. It’s also handy if you can’t turn up your TV and don’t want to wear headphones. Unfortunately, I found the subtitles to be a bit buggy. After turning them on, I experienced synchronization issues with audio, video and the subtitles. When this occurs, simply rewind the video a few seconds and resume playing. When the video reloads, it will be in sync. Unfortunately, this happened three times while watching a 30 minute video.

The subtitle settings are global. Once you turn them on, they are on for all the programs you watch, until you turn them off again. This seems to be a bug. If you make a setting change on a specific video, that setting change should not persist across all videos. If the feature is to work that way, the setting should be under the “settings” menu, and not under “options” for each video. Despite these user interface flaws and sync issues, I still appreciate the addition of subtitles. I’m sure Hulu will fix these issues in an upcoming release.

Hulu Plus series menu for Apple TV

A new “resume show/play latest” feature has been added to the series menu. When you browse the series menu for a show, you can quickly start playing an episode from either the newest episode (if you haven’t watched the series yet) or where you left off. If you finished episode 3 of season 1, for example, “resume show” shows episode 4 of season 1, even if the series page shows season 2 listings. This isn’t perfect, however. When I finished an episode, I found that “resume show” would show that same episode until I left the series page and returned. They need to refresh the menu when the show ends and returns back to the series menu. I also think that the series page should not default to the latest season of a series. I think most people want to start a series from the first season. Perhaps their usability research revealed different results than my “common sense” hunch. The “resume show” feature makes this less annoying, but the user experience can be improved. (continue…)

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