For some strange reason, Hulu on Android TV has been stuck in the early 2000s as the highest quality that users can stream is only 720p. Even as Hulu on other platforms supports up to 4K streams, Android TV was left behind. The good news now is that they are taking a tiny step forward as Hulu will now be able to stream 1080p quality content on Android TV devices. The bad news is that 4K is still nowhere to be found, although maybe it will roll out in a few years when we’ve moved on to something bigger than 4K.
According to Android Central, there was no big announcement from Hulu but users of the NVIDIA Shield (2019) have started sharing that they’re seeing 1080p support on their devices. A recent update of the Hulu app on Android TV may be responsible for this surprise. But there are some devices, like the 2017 version of the NVIDIA Shield, that are still stuck on 720p so this may not be applicable to all devices.
It really is strange that it’s only now that Android TV has gotten support for 1080p on Hulu app and 4K is not yet even on the table. Given that Hulu supports 1080p on Chromecast with Google TV, it is especially weird since this new Google TV runs a skinned version of Android TV. No explanation has really been given about this anomaly so Hulu subscribers have had to “suffer” through lower quality of streams when their TVs are capable of streaming up to 4K.
Now as to when 4K will actually arrive, don’t hold your breath. Given that it’s taken them this long to run 1080p, we might get a few more years. That’s unfortunate since a lot of content now have 4K available. Who knows, Hulu might eventually surprise us and bring it earlier than expected but given their track record, at least when it comes to Android TV, don’t expect too much. Or get a different smart TV platform if it’s important to you.
For now, if you’re on Android TV, update the Hulu app if it hasn’t updated already. We don’t know though which specific devices will support 1080p so this should be fun.