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.

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