Hulu Plus Update Blocks iPad 2 video Mirroring

Posted by at 2:54 pm on May 2, 2011

The lastest update of Hulu Plus, version 2.3, on the App Store brought with it the return of a missing feature, and the removal of another, angering iPad 2 owners. While the latest version sports the return of the “resume” button to the interface, and also features a simplified login, tabbed search results and a dedicated Criterion menu, iPad 2 owners have quickly discovered that the app now blocks HDMI mirroring, a feature still retained in v2.2.

To add insult to injury, the app now posts a message to iPad users that the company is “working hard to add support for [HDMI mirroring],” even calling it “a great feature.” Apart from an undefined mention of “iPad 2-specific improvements,” no mention of the mirror blocking is brought up in the app’s description. Users who have already upgraded are warning others to stick with v2.2 for the time being.

The lack of explanation may suggest that the problem is actually a bug and that the company did not intend for the blocking to take place. The program would have already had similar blocking messages implanted in the code for the app in case users tried to connect unauthorized devices (like a DVD-recorder) to capture the output. It is possible that the blocking of iPad HDMI mirroring is inadvertent, but so far the company has offered no explanation.

Video mirroring using the HDMI connector for the iPad 2 is supposed to be application independent, meaning it should work for all applications (and even displays the iOS desktop itself, a long-requested feature). The OS feature that allowed video mirroring already blocked connections to capture cards and other digital-capture devices if the content being played was DRM-protected, but with Apple making it a system-wide feature, there was always the possibility that some streaming service operators such as Hulu, HBO and Netflix would block their content from being seen on unauthorized external devices such as televisions.

The Hulu Plus app itself is free and works with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, but requires and $8 per month subscription.

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