Why Nintendo TVii might outperform Xbox Live and PSN’s as a media service

Microsoft and Sony have made great strides to turn their gaming systems into entertainment platforms. Xbox 360 got Netflix then the PS3 got Netflix, and then the PlayStation Network got Hulu and then Xbox Live got Hulu. For years they've traded services, mirroring each other nearly every step of the way while the Wii lagged behind, getting everything late. Yesterday, Nintendo finally unveiled its formal rebuttal to Sony and Microsoft's services: the interesting (albeit unfortunately-named) Nintendo TVii.

And, of course, the internet immediately began thinking of ways to make fun of the service, saying it was Nintendo struggling to play catch-up to its competitors, or that it was a worthless feature, or that it simply wasn't all that impressive. These people, though, are missing the point completely. Nintendo TVii isn’t Nintendo slapping media services into the Wii U--it’s Nintendo actually turning the Wii U into a complete, potentially superior service.

When it comes to being a media service, and strictly a media service, it looks like there's a good chance that it'll be the best one. Being able to use the GamePad’s screen instead of the television to navigate menus puts it ahead of Sony and Microsoft, and the fact that it’s more of a stand-alone program than what’s found on Xbox or PlayStation should make it easier to use for most--especially those uninterested in sorting through menus or searching through Xbox Live’s thousands of purchasable videos on Bing. This, alone, makes it stand out, but where it differs most is in what it actually does, and what it can be used for.

Once inside Nintendo TVii, you're looking not at Nintendo's version of Xbox Live, but its take on Roku or Google TV. Searching for a movie or a television show brings up results from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Wikipedia, and IMDB. Clicking on an episode of Breaking Bad will allow you to look at the show's Wiki or IMDB page, finding out more information before digging in. But it’s more than just streaming options--more important is that it also shows your cable provider's results, as well as giving you access to your Tivo.

Watch our interview with Nintendo about the feature

With this seemingly small addition, Nintendo TVii goes from media hub to super crazy universal remote, allowing you to DVR things with TiVo (and, hopefully, other DVR services in the future), tag movies as favorites on Netflix, and even set up different favorites. Having different profiles for each person adds a social element that none of these other systems have, letting you personalize your experience further by favoriting television series or movies without needing to make additional Xbox Live or PlayStation Network accounts. Forget trying to find your favorite shows on Comcast's archaic menus--my experience with the GamePad and Nintendo TVii made the process of finding shows to watch a breeze, truly updating the entertainment experience.

The ability to answer polls on the GamePad while watching is revolutionary in concept. Seriously. Sure, it might not be all that exciting for you, but imagining what effects it might have on the average TV watcher is incredible. It seems silly to vote on which character's halloween costume on Modern Family was the best, but imagine voting on a singer in American Idol or a person on Survivor right from your remote, or being able to follow everyone tweeting about a show as it happens.

Though this isn't implemented yet, it's easy to see some awesome, interactive elements being added in to shows. Seeing a football score ticker, or being able to watch replays on the screen would add usefulness to the service, turning it into a two-screen experience without needing to search around for websites to complain about things on. Sure, many of these elements could be completed by using an iPad or a laptop, but neither also functions as a remote for the TV.

So be snarky if you want, and scoff if you feel that's best. But, the next time you scroll past a dozen advertisements as you make your way into the Xbox 360's awful redesigned Netflix UI, remember that the Wii U is right around the corner, and it's about to become the best universal remote you'll ever own. Oh, and it'll eventually play Bayonetta 2, so there's that.

You know that kid at parties who talks too much? Drink in hand, way too enthusiastic, ponderously well-educated in topics no one in their right mind should know about? Loud? Well, that kid’s occasionally us. GR Editorials is a semi-regular feature where we share our informed insights on the news at hand. Sharp, funny, and finger-on-the-pulse, it’s the information you need to know even when you don’t know you need it.


Nintendo TVii


  • masterjoe123 - September 17, 2012 5:48 p.m.

    I really hope I can access this with my ridiculously limited Time Warner "Deluxe Cable Package"
  • diana-rice - September 17, 2012 12:52 p.m.

    I'm making $86 an hour working from home. I was shocked when my neighbour told me she was averaging $95 but I see how it works now. I feel so much freedom now that I'm my own boss. This is what I do,
  • Japanaman - September 17, 2012 10:45 a.m.

    Wii U = The Nintendo Ultra Entertainment System
  • OscarW - September 17, 2012 8:51 a.m.

    Yes, easily the best media service... *Hastily hides DVDs and Blu-rays* Seriously though, would have loved to use that tablet for BD-Live or Nintendo equivalent service. Would it really have cost them that much to add Blu-ray?
  • TheMariner - September 17, 2012 10:24 p.m.

    Considering Blu-ray is a Sony product, yeah probably.
  • OscarW - September 18, 2012 8:44 a.m.

    I think it's a standard rate. Looking around it seems that it's "$9.50 for a Blu-ray player, $14 for a Blu-ray recorder, 11¢ for a read-only disc, 12¢ for a recordable disc, and 15¢ for a rewritable disc". Take this, subtract cost of developing their own proprietary discs. It doesn't seem like it would be too much for them.
  • Burdmayn - September 17, 2012 8:36 a.m.

    The funny thing is that Nintendo had a similar service for the Wii, but it was only in Japan. Read a good book on the history of Nintendo and you'll see that they've had ideas and plans for services like this since the original NES. Anyone who think Nintendo is going to just die off within a few years obviously doesn't know much about their history.
  • radiodeaf - September 17, 2012 5:33 a.m.

    did it hurt to reach this conclusion? lol.... seriously, this is not a reason to buy a WiiU...
  • RonnyLive19881 - September 17, 2012 7:53 a.m.

    It's a perk. The system is already fantastic, I can't even afford all of the launch titles I want for it Lol I have to stick with Mario U and Zombiu at the moment.
  • Gorillaman23 - September 17, 2012 3:59 a.m.

    I'll probably end up using this to troll /sp/ while watching Super Bowl. But seriously, Nintendo needs to do something about those names. Adding two unnecessary Is to everything is, well, unnecessary.
  • JachAnen - September 17, 2012 1:34 a.m.

    Sorry, but that titel is all wrong. Ever since the first Playstation showed up, Nintendo have been outperformed in hardware and software (even design) by every competitor (even SEGA). The only reason they still exist is Mario and Link. And whatever they might think up, we know Sony or Microsoft (probably both) will think of something better. Sure this looks seems cool, but there is a 90% chance it is going to suck when we see it for ourselves. Only experienced that Kinect was able to be better from show to release. Everything else seemed to be a bad prototype/beta at release.
  • coujoir - September 17, 2012 2:15 a.m.

    Did you pull those facts from a legitimate source, or out of your ass? It's quite common knowledge that the N64 was more powerful than the Playstation, that the Gamecube was more powerful than the PS2, and that both the N64 and Wii innovated on hardware (controllers), which its competitors later picked up on (analogues and rumble on the N64 - dualshock, motion control on the Wii - Move and Kinect). The reason they exist is because the Wii tapped into a much bigger market than its competitors. Where they have failed since the N64 is on third party support - this is a legitimate point of concern, but it seems to be being addressed this time around with the publication of Bayonetta 2, alongside other big name games. If you are going to be blatantly partisan in your posts, at least check your facts.
  • Puppetbasher - September 17, 2012 8 a.m.

    I agree with all of your statement except about the Wii Motion Controller and Playstation Move. They both started development at around the same time, but Sony released their's a lot later than Nintendo. I'm not sure which is better though having only used the Wii controller without the motion plus.
  • wiz0791 - September 17, 2012 1:51 p.m.

    Your wrong actually , Last gen the Gamecube was more powerful then the PS2. They are still around for the simple fact that its Nintendo a driving force in the gaming industry the lead innovator.
  • tehtimeisnow - September 17, 2012 1:31 a.m.

    ha ah no i dout that cuz 360 alredy as the perfect media servece
  • SpiritTemple - September 17, 2012 2:50 a.m.

    I was just waiting for your comment, get on Gamesradar more!
  • Thedigitalg - September 17, 2012 1:52 p.m.

  • masterjoe123 - September 17, 2012 5:46 p.m.

    lol. Oh wait, you're serious? Let me laugh even harder. lololololol
  • TheMariner - September 17, 2012 10:27 p.m.

    Wait a second, so the iTroll is saying that the 360 has the perfect media service...?
  • beemoh - September 17, 2012 12:24 a.m.

    >It seems silly to vote on which character's halloween costume on Modern Family was the best, but imagine voting on a singer in American Idol or a person on Survivor right from your remote Thing is, they've tried online and mobile voting for reality shows in the UK- it didn't work. This might work for flavour polls, as a bit of fun for superfans, but wouldn't work as a voting mechanism for such shows.

Showing 1-20 of 37 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000