Earlier this week, Hulu flew onto the Nintendo Switch eShop out of scenic nowhere. A lot of folks were clamoring for video apps like Hulu and Netflix to come to Switch ever since the system first released back in March.
Now that Hulu has hit the Switch, it does seem likely that we should expect more apps like Netflix and maybe even YouTube to follow along sooner rather than later. But there’s still a question that needs to be asked: why did it take so long for Hulu to come to the Switch?
That question was answered by Julian Eggebrecht – the VP of Tech over at Hulu (and also the president of the Factor 5 game studio). Mr. Eggebrecht was recently invited to sit down with the IGN Nintendo Voice Chat crew during their latest podcast (#381), where he discussed various topics including what has been holding back video streaming services like Hulu and others from coming to the Switch. Basically, the functionality has been in the Switch from the very beginning, but there was a DRM component in the Switch’s HDMI signal that needed to be enabled first and Nintendo didn’t do that until recently.
Here’s the full explanation from Mr. Eggebrecht:
“Why not at launch—that was a political decision by Nintendo to a certain degree, but also a technical one. They really wanted to focus on the game side of things on one hand, and secondly, [they] were really only able to provide the basic technical functionality that you would need to make the greatest games on the new console. One of the things that were missing, until recently, was one tiny little bit of encryption that most of the professional video services unfortunately need, and once that was unblocked for us it was not a problem to get the whole thing going. We had the streaming actually, and most of the [other] tech done quite a while ago. “
“This is on the very basic HDMI connector level. There are certain things which games don’t need necessarily, but which a service like Hulu, and also I assume Netflix and Amazon, needs just in terms of Digital Rights Protection. It was always in the hardware in the Switch, [but] simply wasn’t enabled yet.”
So there you have it. The Switch has always been capable of video streaming, but Nintendo seemed to deliberately be holding these services back to deal with other priorities first. From Eggebrecht’s statement, it does seem highly likely that other video streaming services will hit the system before the year is out.
Are you happy to finally have video streaming on Switch, or did you really not care about the functionality, to begin with?
[Eggebrecht’s explanation is at the begins at the 34:38 mark of IGN’s Nintendo Voice Chat podcast]