Back when Nintendo first announced the Nintendo TVii service on the Wii U, I wasn’t terribly impressed. So, I can control my TV with the Wii U, big deal. Like many other things that Nintendo has released throughout the years, it wasn’t until I got my hands on the feature that I really understood the potential it held.
In my home, I don’t subscribe to any particular TV service. I have Netflix and Hulu Plus to satiate my home entertainment needs, but no specific cable packages. I still get a very small selection of TV channels, the basics like NBC, CBS and Fox, but I rarely use them, so it’s hard to remember what is assigned to each network.
When I first powered on the Nintendo TVii app, it asked me what kind of TV I owned and then automatically set itself up as a universal remote. I didn’t even need to give it a specific model or anything, I just told it the brand and it did the rest. After that, it asked me where I was and what kind of cable package I was using. Thankfully, “nothing in particular” was a selectable option. I then told it what my favorite TV shows were and that was the whole setup process.
One of the things that is particularly awesome about using the Nintendo TVii app lies with using the Wii U gamepad. You can power on the gamepad without even bringing the TV into the picture just yet. You can navigate to the app, look through what shows are live on TV and decide if the TV is even worth turning on. Once you pick something you like, the gamepad will turn the TV on and automatically change the channel. If something that you want to see isn’t live on TV, the menu will also show you what episodes are available to watch on Netflix or Hulu as well.
If the new strategy for home consoles is to become the one box you need for your living room, this is a huge step in the right direction for Nintendo. It takes all those services that we’re already using and combines your options into one interface. Pair that with it being possibly the most user-friendly universal remote ever designed and you’ve got one heck of a service that I’m already using quite a bit at home.
The Wii U, like any other console at launch, has been a bit of a slow burn at the outset, but I can see the beginnings of some great things for it in the future. The hard part about being an early adopter is managing your patience for everything to line up just right. With features like Nintendo TVii dropping, it’s only a matter of time before the Wii U is a must-own system.