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Hulu rolls out new "sleeker" look for its video player

Popular video-streaming service Hulu has launched an updated web video player featuring a "sleeker, chromeless, and friendlier interface."

The new web player features a 10 second rewind feature that lets viewers quickly jump back with a single click and listen to punchlines again, or catch something they missed. A new feature called "Up Next" allows for browsing through videos inside the player without stopping what you're already watching.

In addition, the new player aims to make it easier to access closed captioning, resolution options, and other video settings, which Hulu reorganised into a single location. Hulu also automatically selects the best video quality for your bandwidth, so you don't have to trouble yourself with manually selecting an option.

"We've been sweating the details so that you can enjoy this summer relaxing with your favorite show as you fire up that grill in the backyard," Hulu's senior user experience designer, Michelle Ko, wrote in a blog post Saturday. "And when you pause the player to save your burgers from getting burnt to a crisp, we remind you of what you were watching and how much time is left to watch."

The updates are now live for all Hulu users. Some have been less than thrilled with the update, however, after discovering they can no longer permanently disable autoplay, a feature that starts the next video in a series automatically.

"While I can appreciate the attempt to streamline the look and feel of the player, the result is sub-par," user James wrote in a comment on Hulu's blog. "Hiding some of the controls so they are an extra click away goes against good design standards. Information that the old play made visible is now gone. And the worst is the removal of the ability to turn-off autoplay."

In response, a Hulu support advocate said users can still disable autoplay for four hours at a time, and added that the company soon plans to reintroduce the ability to permanently turn it off.

Hulu has been bolstering its original programming lately The company back in April launched its first original, scripted series, and in March inked a deal with FremantleMedia Enterprises to distribute its shows across a variety of platforms, including traditional TV. Also, US talk show host Larry King earlier this month came out of retirement to host a new online show airing on Hulu called Larry King Now.

Netflix rolled out a similar redesign of its web player in May and refreshed its iOS app in June, while Sky launched an online TV service earlier in the month.