Nintendo Wii and Access to the Internet

What is the Wii?

The Nintendo Wii is a games console that hardly needs introduction, its novel feature (and possibly the reason for its success) is that the game controller is wireless. With the wireless controller, Wii games encourage the game players to get off the sofa and interact with the game using whole body movements, instead of the traditional "thumb only" movements.

Tha standard Wii output is composite video plus left and right stereo lines via RCA plugs (yellow, white and red). An RCA to SCART adapter is also supplied. There is no HDMI output, although there is an cable available that generates component video.

The fundamental interest for this tv-true review is that the Wii has built-in wireless capability allowing access to the internet using a free browser available by download.

How to connect the Wii to the Internet ?

The Wii has built-in internet wireless capability. From the main screen, select the "Wii" button on the lower left, then select the "Wii Settings", scroll to the second page and select the "Internet" menu item. From the "Internet" menu the "Connection Settings" item allows you to configure the Wii with your home IP and wireless security settings (WEP or WPA). If you prefer wired internet access you can use one of the two available USB sockets of the Wii by purchasing the Wii LAN Adapter (a non-Nintendo USB to ethernet adapter probably would not work).

Wireless or wired, you will then be able to access the Wii Shop Channel. From the Shop Channel, select the download of the "Internet Channel", unlike other items on the Wii Shop Channel this download is free. The Internet Channel is a web browser for the Wii (built by Opera). After the web browser is downloaded (approx 15 minutes), the Internet Channel appears on your Wii's menu of channels.

There is also a BBC iPlayer channel available for free download from the Wii Shop Channel, this gives UK internet users direct access to the BBC iPlayer content without going through the Opera browser.

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The Wii browser is designed for accessing the internet using the Wii controller from the ten foot distance. Page links and buttons are easily selected with the A button. The browser can scroll the pages in two directions at once using the B button. Clicking into text fields brings up an on-screen keyboard with auto word complete. Pages can be zoomed in and out using the + and - buttons. The browser bar for managing favourites and entering web addresses can be configured to auto hide.

Prior to September 2009, the Wii browser could only play Flash 7 content (sufficient for viewing YouTube and the BBC iPlayer) but now the Wii Internet Channel is built with Adobe Flash Lite 3.1 support giving it a much wider capability for accessing modern flash content on the internet.

Opera have made a good job of creating a TV centric web browser. This browser, coupled with the fact that the Wii is a near noiseless, low power consumption "ready to go" device, makes the Wii an ideal tv-true platform for accessing the internet in your living room.

Resource links

The following web sites detect that you are visiting the site using a Wii and so adjust the page to be Wii/TV compatible:

Other links

Wii Media Centers

Stream videos, music and photos from your PC to the Wii:

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