Nintendo has announced that Nintendo TVii, the new television and video streaming service designed for the Wii U video game console, will be launched in the United States and Canada on December 20.
The new service pulls all of the user’s existing cable, satellite and video-on-demand services into one place. This could include Hulu Plus, Netflix or a Comcast cable package. The general idea is to create a unified interface and user experience, which means that you don’t have to constantly swap out set-top boxes or HDMI cables.
“You’ll never look at your TV the same way again,” Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America President and COO said. “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 also utilisizes some of the Wii U console’s unique social features, such as the Miiverse. For video games, this allows users to access a specific news feed related to the game, where players can add comments and draw pictures for one another in a safe environment. Presumably, the social network will now also cater for TV channels and perhaps individual shows and movies too.
In addition to the Miiverse, Nintendo has revealed today that you will also be able to post to Twitter and Facebook using the Wii U GamePad, which features a 6.2-inch resistive touchscreen. It joins the remote functionality already packed into the system, which allows you to control your TV and independent speaker setup using the controller.
While watching a program with Nintendo TVii, the Wii U GamePad can also be used to access additional information, such as cast details, movie reviews and sports data including live stats and scores. This is essentially mimicking the current trend of using a smartphone, tablet or latop in the living room in order to connect with other people or access further information online.
Nintendo is stressing that Wii U owners do not need any additional equipment to utilize these features. It is completely free, although of course you will need to have a subscription to the relevant TV and video on demand services to be able to access them.
When Nintendo TVii launches tomorrow in the Unites States and Canada, it will support cable and satellite providers in both regions, in addition to Amazon Instant Video and Hulu Plus subscription for the former. Netflix and Tivo support is expected in early 2013 for the United States, although it should be noted that there is already a dedicated Netflix app for the Wii U system.