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Hulu’s mobile and web apps get the new live TV guide, better recommendations and more

Hulu’s mobile and web apps are getting an upgrade. The company is introducing a series of new features to make the apps more personalized, as well as better support Hulu’s newer Live TV experience, among other things. It’s also adding HDMI support for iOS and improving the Chromecast option, so it’s easier to watch on a big screen – even if you don’t have a streaming media player, like Roku or Apple TV.

The changes were announced this afternoon by Hulu SVP, Head of Experience, Ben Smith, during his keynote address at The Pay TV Show event in Denver.

Some of the updates had already made their way to other platforms, and are now heading to mobile and web.

For example, last week Hulu launched its new live TV destination and guide on its TV platforms, like Apple TV, Fire TV, and game consoles, with plans to roll out to more living room devices soon.

Today, Hulu says that live TV destination and guide will come to mobile, as well. The guide, which resembles the traditional TV guide you’d find on a cable box, is a much easier way of seeing what’s on now, as well as the upcoming programming in the next 24 hours. You can change channels from the guide, too.

It’s interesting that most of the live TV services are returning to the traditional grid-like guide format. Sling TV added this feature last year, and YouTube TV launched with its own live TV guide that lets you flip through what’s on by scrolling up and down in a vertical fashion. And DirecTV Now’s upgrades, announced yesterday, also included a redesign allowing you to watch your current stream while browsing channels.

In addition to the live TV guide, Hulu now works in portrait mode, so you can browse programming while streaming. While in the on-demand library, you’ll get recommendations on what to watch while in portrait mode. You can turn the phone horizontal when you’re ready to watch.

The scrubbing function has been improved, too, as it now shows a preview of the frame so you can return to the exact spot. This was a huge frustration, in fact – Hulu tried to be clever with scrubbing where it darkened part of the screen as you dragged your finger, but it was very hard to figure out where to stop. It’s one of those things that seems like a minor detail, but when a company gets a lot of them wrong, in aggregate, it leads to a poor experience.


Meanwhile, Hulu’s apps are adding new features that help you improve its recommendations: “Stop Suggesting” and “Remove” from Watch history. The former was introduced briefly during Hulu’s Upfronts presentation earlier this month, after being originally teased as coming soon at CES. Essentially, the goal here is to give Hulu another means of learning your interests – in this case, an explicit signal that you don’t want to be recommended a particular show.

And you if you’ve ever accidentally shared your account with another person whose tastes differ, you can remove programming from your watch history so it will stop influencing your recommendations.

Finally, Hulu is adding features that make it easier for mobile users to stream content on their TV, when they don’t have a media player or connected TV, with the Hulu app. The iOS app will support HDMI output, and Chromecast supports the new portrait player and channel surfing mode.

The changes aren’t arriving today, but will begin to roll out next week, Hulu says.

Live TV subscribers will see them first at next week, followed by Hulu’s on-demand subscribers over the course of the summer.

On mobile, however, the changes will hit Android and iOS next week for all.

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A simple solution to end the encryption debate

Criminals and terrorists, like millions of others, rely on smartphone encryption to protect the information on their mobile devices. But unlike most of us, the data on their phones could endanger lives and pose a great threat to national security.

The challenge for law enforcement, and for us as a society, is how to reconcile the advantages of gaining access to the plans of dangerous individuals with the cost of opening a door to the lives of everyone else. It is the modern manifestation of the age-old conflict between privacy versus security, playing out in our pockets and palms.

One-size-fits all technological solutions, like a manufacturer-built universal backdoor tool for smartphones, likely create more dangers than they prevent. While no solution will be perfect, the best ways to square data access with security concerns require a more nuanced approach that rely on non-technological procedures.

The FBI has increasingly pressed the case that criminals and terrorists use smartphone security measures to avoid detection and investigation, arguing for a technological, cryptographic solution to stop these bad actors from “going dark.” In fact, there are recent reports that the Executive Branch is engaged in discussions to compel manufacturers to build technological tools so law enforcement can read otherwise-encrypted data on smartphones.

But the FBI is also tasked with protecting our nation against cyber threats. Encryption has a critical role in protecting our digital systems against compromises by hackers and thieves. And of course, a centralized data access tool would be a prime target for hackers and criminals. As recent events prove – from the 2016 elections to the recent ransomware attack against government computers in Atlanta – the problem will likely only become worse. Anything that weakens our cyber defenses will only make it more challenging for authorities to balance these “dual mandates” of cybersecurity and law enforcement access.

There is also the problem of internal threats: when they have access to customer data, service providers themselves can misuse or sell it without permission. Once someone’s data is out of their control, they have very limited means to protect it against exploitation. The current, growing scandal around the data harvesting practices on social networking platforms illustrates this risk. Indeed, our company Symphony Communications, a strongly encrypted messaging platform, was formed in the wake of a data misuse scandal by a service provider in the financial services sector.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

So how do we help law enforcement without making data privacy even thornier than it already is? A potential solution is through a non-technological method, sensitive to the needs of all parties involved, that can sometimes solve the tension between government access and data protection while preventing abuse by service providers.

Agreements between some of our clients and the New York State Department of Financial Services (“NYSDFS”), proved popular enough that FBI Director Wray recently pointed to them as a model of “responsible encryption” that solves the problem of “going dark” without compromising robust encryption critical to our nation’s business infrastructure.

The solution requires storage of encryption keys — the codes needed to decrypt data — with third party custodians. Those custodians would not keep these client’s encryption keys. Rather, they give the access tool to clients, and then clients can choose how to use it and to whom they wish to give access. A core component of strong digital security is that a service provider should not have access to client’s unencrypted data nor control over a client’s encryption keys.

The distinction is crucial. This solution is not technological, like backdoor access built by manufacturers or service providers, but a human solution built around customer control.  Such arrangements provide robust protection from criminals hacking the service, but they also prevent customer data harvesting by service providers.

Where clients choose their own custodians, they may subject those custodians to their own, rigorous security requirements. The clients can even split their encryption keys into multiple pieces distributed over different third parties, so that no one custodian can access a client’s data without the cooperation of the others.

This solution protects against hacking and espionage while safeguarding against the misuse of customer content by the service provider. But it is not a model that supports service provider or manufacturer built back doors; our approach keeps the encryption key control in clients’ hands, not ours or the government’s.

A custodial mechanism that utilizes customer-selected third parties is not the answer to every part of the cybersecurity and privacy dilemma. Indeed, it is hard to imagine that this dilemma will submit to a single solution, especially a purely technological one. Our experience shows that reasonable, effective solutions can exist. Technological features are core to such solutions, but just as critical are non-technological considerations. Advancing purely technical answers – no matter how inventive – without working through the checks, balances and risks of implementation would be a mistake.

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Delhi Max Hospital twin baby case: Police seek legal opinion after DMC rules out hospital's negligence

A senior officer, privy to the probe, said they were studying the report to ascertain the future course of action.

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More than two child rape cases daily in Delhi, experts call for policy for rehabilitation

Till April 30, 282 cases of child rape were reported as opposed to 278 last year during the same period.

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