The Internet TV service said Tuesday that it has added support for the Chromecast streaming device to the latest version of its Hulu Plus app. Chromecast is a compact, $35 device designed to bring online video to the TV.
This feature allows Hulu Plus subscribers to use their smartphones or tablets like a remote control, finding current episodes of such new fall shows as ABC's "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." or NBC's "Sleepy Hollow" and pressing the "Cast" button to send the video to their TVs.
The announcement comes as researcher Parks Associates released the results of a new survey that revealed Chromecast owners were using the streaming device as a work-around to watch current TV hows on their living-room TVs through the free version of the Hulu service.
TV viewing is one of the features of the paid version of Hulu, which costs $8 a month.
It is unclear whether Chromecast owners would still be able to use the circumvention technique Parks Associates identified — using their laptops and Google's Chrome browser to find a TV episode on the free Hulu site and transfer the streamed video to their TVs — without paying for a subscription to Hulu Plus.
[Updated 7:56 a.m. PDT, Oct. 2: Chromecast allows users to send anything within the Chrome browser — video, music or photos — to their TV screens. The same would be true for any video accessed through the free Hulu site, though the Hulu Plus app would afford a better experience, according to a person with knowledge of the situation who was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.]
Representatives for Google and Hulu could not be immediately reached for comment.
A new report from media analyst Richard Greenfield notes that the inexpensive Chromecast device is the top-selling device in the electronics category on Amazon.com.