The battle for the living room just received a new competitor. Nintendo will launch its TVii (pronounced TV) service in North America via the new Wii U gaming console on Thursday. It has been delayed over a month, but officials hope the delay was worth the wait for end users.
The Wii U launched on November 18th and is the manufacturers first HD gaming system. It features a GamePad that will be used as a universal remote. Nintendo will attempt to tie in all services into one console. TVii will pull streaming services, cable or satellite box content and your DVR into a single universal searchable application. Streaming services Hulu Plus, YouTube and Amazon Instant Video are available at launch with Netflix and TiVo joining the party in early 2013.
After using the console, “you’ll never look at your TV the same way again. Nintendo TVii shows how the integrated second screen of the GamePad can also transform and enhance the TV viewing experience.” Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said.
Universal search is a major feature that Nintendo is bringing to the table. Google TV has boasted this feature, but the content and services have not yet aligned. Users can also look for content based on actors or directors while checking up to date reviews for those movies. Roku offers a streaming box that recently deployed a universal search channel that will explore all of your installed services for what you are looking for.
Another feature Nintendo is boasting out of the gate is on the social side. Highlights of professional and college football and basketball games will be posted just after they occur. Wii U users can share status updates on Twitter, Facebook and the Nintendo social network, Miiverse. Nielson recently announced they have a new service dubbed, The Neilson Twitter TV rating. It will give advertisers real time statistics for understanding the audience at a social level. It’s no secret that Twitter is now a key element for many viewers of live sports and network television. Having this feature built in to the Wii U along with the ability to pull live sports scores is a major bonus for the social viewer.
How did Nintendo jump from the Wii with it’s limited Netflix interface to a full feature service on the Wii U? A partnership from i.TV has pulled everything together. CEO Brad Pelo and Nintendo launched the service as a joint effort. The company brought existing relationships with all the cable and satellite providers along with TiVO. In North America, these relationships are as valuable as the software to make the technology function. This will not be an exclusive deal, but no other console is as far along as Nintendo.