Hulu quietly revealed on its web site Thursday that it is adding certain Roku digital media streamers to the list of devices supporting 4K Ultra HD and Dolby 5.1 surround sound enhancements streamed through its app.

Website Cord Cutters News recently reported that a reader noticed the streaming service had added Roku devices to its list of products that are now capable of playing back content in 4K and 5.1 channel surround sound.

Although for the past several years a number of step-up Roku devices and Roku TVs have supported 4K playback (with HDR10 high dynamic range in most cases) and 5.1 surround sound, Hulu apparently was not recognizing the devices in sending along 4K and 5.1 content where available.

Hulu said that Roku media players that will support the 4K streaming include: Roku and Roku Stick models 3810X, 3920X, 4400X and 46*0X.

In addition to Roku products, Hulu’s list of supporting 4K streaming devices now includes: Apple TV (5th generaltion and later); Android TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, LG TVs, and Xbox One gaming consoles.

According to the Hulu Help Center listing, title selections in its library are available in a variety of resolution levels and bit rates including:

Standard Definition (SD): 1.5 Mbps
High Definition (HD) 720p: 3 Mbps
High Definition (HD) 1080p: 6 Mbps
4K Ultra HD: 16 Mbps

The service is designed to detect the maximum resolution of the display on which the content is being viewed and the available bandwidth to deliver the most appropriate signal for smooth playback.

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“While Hulu’s library of 4K Ultra HD supported content continues to grow, at this time, it’s limited to a select list of programming, including most Hulu Originals,” according to the service’s posted statement. “HD programming can be watched on most supported devices with the latest Hulu app,” Hulu’s statement in its Help Center reads.

As for 5.1 surround sound, which has been available on certain titles since 2018, Roku products will have to be setup to recognize and play 5.1-enabled content streams from the device’s settings menu where the 5.1 compatibility setting is found. Once activated, the player will then stream 5.1 audio output signals to a connected 5.1-channel audio system, AVR, sound bar, etc. to take advantage of the multi-channel capability.

Devices that include 5.1-channel support from Hulu include the following:

Android TV (select models)
Fire TV (3rd generation and Cube) and Fire TV Stick 4K
LG TV (WebOS 3.0 and above)
Nintendo Switch
PlayStation 3
PlayStation 4
Roku and Roku Stick (select models)
Samsung TV (select models)
Vizo SmartCast TVs
Xbox One

By Greg Tarr

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