Lumped in with the excitement for the Wii U at Nintendo‘s live event today was a demo of a previously glossed-over detail of Wii U. With the launch of Wii U, every console will come pre-installed with Nintendo TVii, a service that has no extra charge and no monthly fee. It lumps together all of your video from your favorite subscription services and makes it all accessible directly from the Wii U GamePad.
Zach Fountain discussed the three parts of watching with Nintendo TVii: Find, which is as simple as looking at your customized favorites section on your GamePad for something that looks interesting, Watch, which is rather self-explanatory, and Engage, which is the part where you connect directly to your friends on social platforms to discuss the show while you watch.
You’ll know that the experience you are currently having is personalized for you by taking a look at the GamePad’s screen, in the upper left corner the Mii of the person whose tastes and habits are currently tailoring the experience is visible. There are four categories which filter your results and one optional view setting. Popular shows what is trending right now in TV shows, either among your friends or just in the general population, Live will show you what is happening on TV channels right now, Recommended is a smattering of recommendations for you from past viewing habits and also recommendations that are sent directly from your friends, Channels will give you an array of channels to choose from, and Grid will arrange everything in a nice gridded format for easy sorting.
Once you have found something you are interested in, you simply tap on the show, and the GamePad will display the episodes of that show that are currently available, and when the next episode will be airing. In the bottom portion of the screen on individual shows/movies, there are four controls: Add favorite, Set Recording, Faves (where you can see what your friends have added to favorites) and Share/Recommend. When browsing movies, there is built in movie information where you can read reviews and watch a trailer directly on the GamePad while something else is streaming on the TV. When browsing in the sports category, each icon is separated into two halves, one for each team and the display of that team’s score. When using the search functionality, Nintendo TVii reaps results from all of your streaming subscriptions and even your DVR. Compatible services shown today were Netflix, Hulu +, Amazon Instant Video, TiVo, and regular TV programming. Your Favorites will show you what is currently on, what is going to be coming on and what is recording on your DVR based on selections you personalize as your favorites.
While watching your favorite TV shows, the GamePad displays thumbnails of key events in the show with a short description, keeping you up to speed on what is going on if you missed part of the episode either before you began watching or if you had to run to the kitchen for some more beer, whoops, I mean milk, kids. Below each thumbnail is a space for you to type snarky commentary and share it amongst your friends in real time on the GamePad display, so even if you are not in the same room or even the same state, you can still annoy your buddies from far away. Nintendo TVii is going to be included with all Wii U consoles for no extra charge and no monthly fee. Take that, Hulu.