Shackpets | Available on iOS and Google Play Store

Nintendo TVii: using old-school solutions to make something new

After seeing a demonstration of the Nintendo TVii service, it's easy to see how Nintendo is making it all possible. It employs surprisingly low-tech, old-school solutions to create something new.

3

Perhaps the biggest surprise from yesterday's Wii U press conference was Nintendo TVii. Nintendo has never aggressively pursued non-gaming pursuits, so offering a video-on-demand service that combines live TV and DVR services all for free seemed a bit... atypical, to say the least. However, after seeing a demonstration of the service, it's easy to see how Nintendo is making TVii possible. It employs surprisingly low-tech, old-school solutions to create something new.

The biggest piece of the puzzle was how TVii would offer live television. Considering the strict restrictions imposed by cable and satellite networks, it would seem strange that Nintendo was getting the red carpet treatment. Indeed, Nintendo bypasses the need to collaborate with these providers because live TV is not an IPTV service.

Instead, TVii is a glorified TV Guide. By connecting to the internet, TVii can access up-to-date programming schedules. When you initially set up TVii, you'll have to input the requisite information to get the correct channel and content listing. For example, if you're using Time Warner Cable in New York City, you simply input that information into the Wii U.

In order to access live TV, the Wii U utilizes one of the oldest tricks in the book: IR. As previously mentioned, the GamePad can function as a universal television remote. Once you identify your television and input that information into the GamePad, TVii will let you simply connect to the correct channel to watch live TV.

Thinking about the technology powering it, there's nothing "revolutionary" about TVii. However, it certainly makes finding movie and television content easier. TVii will become an even more useful service once Nintendo adds more content providers to the mix. (And don't worry, if you want to exclude services you don't subscribe to from your search results, you can.) Given the clever low-tech nature of Nintendo TVii, it's no surprise that Nintendo is able to offer it free with no subscription fees.

Andrew Yoon was previously a games journalist creating content at Shacknews.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    September 14, 2012 10:00 AM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Nintendo TVii: using old-school solutions to make something new.

    After seeing a demonstration of the Nintendo TVii service, it's easy to see how Nintendo is making it all possible. It employs surprisingly low-tech, old-school solutions to create something new.

    • reply
      September 14, 2012 10:48 AM

      Interesting. So the video feed from Live TV will not display on the Gamepad (I figured there might be some connection that allows for it). What about the DVR? Can that be displayed on the Gamepad? It seemed to be implied that it would. That adds to the bigger question as to if Netflix, HuluPlus and Amazon VOD/Prime will display on the pad.

      The system will also reportedly have a browser that has HTML5 support. Can this also be viewable on the Gamepad only?

    • reply
      September 14, 2012 12:13 PM

      Will this thing get network tv? Antenna in my apartment sucks so that'd be kinda cool.

      • reply
        September 14, 2012 12:20 PM

        It's not a replacement for TV. It enhances your experience with your current provider. In some ways, similar to SmartGlass.

    • reply
      September 14, 2012 1:10 PM

      Ok, this makes sense. It doesn't help me at all though.

      Looks like I'm still doing Hulu and torrents well into the future.

Hello, Meet Lola