Nintendo is entering the TV realm with tomorrow’s launch of its Nintendo TVii, which is a free, integrated service that works on the recently launched Wii U console.
Nintendo said TVii works by scanning a Wii U user’s current video content provider – be it cable, satellite or an over-the-top service such as Hulu Plus – and then putting the show or movie information on a Wii U GamePad controller that acts as a remote.
Once users find the show, sporting event or movie they want, they press an icon. While Xbox has long provisioned video services on its game console, including Comcast’s Xfinity on Xbox offering, TVii is Nintendo’s effort to get into the video game market.
“After Dec. 20, you’ll never look at your TV the same way again,” said Nintendo of America President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime. “Wii U owners have already experienced the transformative effect that the GamePad has on game play and social interaction. Nintendo TVii shows how the integrated second screen of the GamePad can also transform and enhance the TV viewing experience. Welcome to the new world of TVii.”
Nintendo TVii will launch in the United States and Canada. At launch, the service will support cable and satellite providers in both regions, as well as direct integration with Amazon Instant Video and Hulu Plus subscriptions in the United States. Further integration with Netflix subscriptions and TiVo are expected in early 2013 in the United States. Wii U owners with a Netflix subscription can still access the Netflix application from the Wii U system’s main menu and enjoy their favorite content accordingly.
While TVii seems to be aimed at traditional video providers’ Achilles’ heel of content search and display, it also includes social media functions. Users can engage with each other by commenting and sharing on Miiverse, Facebook and Twitter. They can also comment, post or tweet using the personal screen of the Wii U GamePad.
Nintendo TVii employs the Wii U system parental controls, and additional options specific to the Nintendo TVii features can be chosen in the Nintendo TVii settings. As for personalization, every member of a family can create a different viewing profile.