Hulu has released a new app that turns the Apple Watch into a TV remote.
The app’s functionality is pretty standard, letting users play, rewind, pause, and toggle captions while watching Hulu on Chromecast, PS3, PS4, Xbox One, or, of course, Apple TV. Notably, it’s a little more cumbersome to use the app with Apple TV as users are required to first stream Hulu content on their iPhones before they can actually control it via the app; on the other digital TV services, the app just connects directly.
It’s an unfortunate example of the Apple Watch’s need to pair with an iPhone in order to function – an aspect of the device that Apple is reportedly aiming to eliminate in the next iteration of the Apple Watch, and that Samsung is wisely avoiding with its own forthcoming Gear A smartwatch.
But there’s another issue worth pointing out: Users will still need to select their Hulu content using another device, such as a remote. The Apple Watch app can’t stand alone, in other words, and so if a user is selecting content with, say, a Chromecast remote, there would seem to be little incentive to then start playing and pausing with the Apple Watch.
The app’s lack of any genuine utility is perhaps underscored by the fact that, as TechCrunch reports, Hulu let an intern build it. It wasn’t a priority. Still, the company is testing the waters and trying to see what’s possible and what’s of interest to Apple Watch users, and looking into remote control functionality is as good a place to start as any.