HBO Max Announces Completion of New User Feature Rollout

HBO Max announced it has completed the rollout of a new user experience on desktop, iOS and Android mobile devices, and Amazon Fire tablets, where available globally.

The new app delivers “highly requested new features from HBO Max fans and marks the conclusion of moving all HBO Max apps to a new, more performant tech stack, a process that started with replacing connected TV applications in September,” according to HBO Max.

New features available in the updated HBO Max mobile and desktop application include:

  • shuffle button functionality expansion to mobile devices, a feature — previously only available on the desktop and CTV experiences — that gives users the ability to randomize the first episode that plays for select series on the platform;
  • SharePlay support for iPhone and iPad users (U.S. only), whereby subscribers in the United States with an ad-free plan and an iPhone or iPad can now use SharePlay to watch HBO Max programs in sync with friends and family while on a FaceTime call;
  • a dedicated home for downloaded content with improved performance and stability;
  • tablet support for both landscape and portrait orientations;
  • an enhanced screen reader experience with improved navigation elements and functionality;
  • the ability to split screens with other apps on any behavior-supported mobile device;
  • updated, intuitive navigation;
  • new design and visual styling; and
  • Chromecast stability improvements.

 

“We are delighted to introduce the revamped HBO Max mobile and desktop apps,” Kamyar Keshmiri, SVP or product design, Warner Bros. Discovery Streaming, said in a statement. “The changes give our users more of the features they care most about, along with improved navigation and a more immersive canvas for storytelling, helping them click play on their favorite content faster and with less friction.”

Amazon Rolling Out Updated Prime Video User Interface App

Starting this week, Amazon Prime Video is rolling out a new, redesigned user interface within the app on connected living room devices, including Fire TV, as well as on the Android app. The new look will be available to all Prime Video customers worldwide this summer, with iOS and Web to follow. 

The main navigation menu is being simplified, enabling users to more easily browse movies, TV shows, sports, and premium channels. For living room apps, the new navigation menu has been relocated to the side of the screen for improved access. The app will launch with six primary pages: Home, Store, Find, Live TV, Free with Ads, and My Stuff. Users will also have sub-navigation options to more easily browse by content or offer type, e.g., “Movies” or “TV shows” or “Sports” on Home and “Channels” or “Rent or Buy” on Store. 

With the arrival of “NFL Thursday Night Football” this fall, Amazon is making the game easier to find for the average consumer. Amazon Home devices will contain a “Sports” sub-navigation menu. Also, the new Live TV page functions as a hub for streaming stations, including live sports and events. The content is presented in a user-friendly program guide so customers can easily view everything that is currently on-air and find out when future programming will begin.

The “Sports” menu boasts a cinematic experience with dedicated carousels to showcase the leagues and teams of interest to each viewer. The page will also feature sports documentaries and additional content, like replays and popular sports videos to keep you engaged with your favorite teams. 

In addition to “Thursday Night Football,” Prime members can access live sports through subscriptions on Paramount+ or MLB.TV 

The updated Prime Video app comes with new carousels that not only present videos with richer and more cinematic imagery, but also enable users to more quickly find something to stream. For example, the “Top 10 Chart” showcases popular and trending content on Prime Video. The “Super Carousel,” with its larger, poster-style artwork, allows featured titles, such as Amazon Originals and Exclusives and Prime Video Cinema, to stand out against all other titles.   

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The app’s new design features make it easier for customers to tell what content is included with their Prime membership vs. what is available for purchase. It employ new visual cues to clearly indicate which videos are included for the user (marked with a blue checkmark icon) and which are available to rent, buy, or subscribe (marked with a shopping bag icon). And, near the top of Home within the “My Subscriptions” row, you can access all videos included with your Prime membership with only a single click.  

The redesigned “Find” page simplifies the search experience giving you the option to search for a specific title or explore different genres and collections. Search suggestions are shown live as you type, and users can filter results by genre or 4K UHD.

 

Hulu Adds ‘Like’ and ‘Dislike’ Buttons to Content

Hulu Oct. 16 announced it is adding a Netflix-like perk for viewers interested rating content negatively or positively. The like/dislike buttons give viewers the opportunity to provide Hulu direct feedback on content recommendations.

When a viewer “likes” a show or movie, Hulu will suggest similar titles and TV shows. Conversely, if  programming is “disliked,” a show or movie will disappear from the subscriber’s screen.

“We’re beginning to roll out this feature today on Hulu.com, Amazon Fire TV devices, XboxOne, Nintendo Switch, select LG, Samsung, and Android TVs, VIZIO SmartCast TVs, and Chromecast, with other devices coming soon,” Jason Wong, director, product management, said in a statement.

Hulu is also upping user personalization to the home page, including displaying the most relevant content collections and ordering them based on the subscriber’s preferences.

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“As we roll this out, our viewers will not only be able to find their favorite shows and movies faster, but also see more diverse and relevant collections,” Wong wrote. “For animation fans, we’ll show the collection of animation programs higher on their home page, and for those who never watch kids content, we’ll order the kids collection lower on the page.”

Hulu’s improved search functions include accepting sentence abbreviations and spell check. Wong said that during testing of spell check, the software was able to identify and correct over 1,500 unique misspellings for “The Handmaid’s Tale”.

“We’ll be rolling out even more improvements to our recommendation engine to build collections tied to what you watched in the past and refine suggestions for upcoming content,” he wrote.