Hulu may have finally nailed down a launch date for its live TV service, though an exact date is still proving elusive.
According to TechCrunch, which recently divulged the reported pricing for the service, Hulu is telling employees to expect the service to launch in mid-May. However, that could mean any time within the first, second or third week of that month. But the report suggested that May is definitely a go, which will make good on Hulu’s plans to launch the service in the spring.
In addition to its live TV service, Hulu intends to debut a redesigned user interface. Early reports about the revamped user interface make mention of the Lineup, which is a personalized landing page. According to Mashable, users will have to answer a series of questions about their entertainment preferences before they can access the launch screen. The Lineup will vary depending on the user, but it will feature a combination of live, on-demand and recorded content.
The new Hulu live TV service also intends to offer alerts when live events (mainly sports for now) are reaching a particularly interesting point. Those alerts in the future will also let users know about breaking news and when titles are about to leave Hulu’s on-demand service.
Hulu is currently beta testing its live TV service and gathering feedback that will help it iron out bugs prior to launch.
In February, 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch said that Hulu is “very, very focused” on avoiding the same kind of snafus that plagued the launch of fellow virtual MVPD DirecTV Now.
“We’ve seen really good progress in terms of our ability to stream concurrent streams of live sports,” Murdoch said. “You never rule out teething problems and I think it’s instructive—or it’s worthwhile kind of just mentioning that some of these problems in streaming, particularly concurrent live events when everyone’s logging in at the same second, it’s nontrivial.”
Although Hulu has yet to set an official price for its basic live TV tier, reports have pegged it at $40 per month, while Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins has indicated it will be under $40 (though how much under is unclear).
Hulu’s live TV service will include linear feeds for a number of broadcast channels, cloud DVR and full access to the on-demand library (including Hulu originals) that comes with a typical $8-per-month Hulu subscription.
ABC/Disney, CBS and Fox have all reached terms with Hulu for inclusion of their broadcast channels and regional sports and cable networks. A deal with NBC has not yet been announced but reports suggested that NBC’s cable networks have shown up in early beta test versions of the service.
Hulu has also reached deals with Time Warner Inc. and A+E Networks to include their channels in the live service.
“As we begin to finalize our new live TV service, we’re pulling together the most valuable, well-rounded package of channels available for under $40,” said Hopkins in a statement. “We know the A+E Networks brand of award-winning storytelling is important to our viewers, and we’re very excited to add their networks to the core service we launch this spring.”