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Media Wii Entertainment Games

Streaming Video Service Coming To the Wii 103

Gamasutra reports that Nintendo is partnering with a company called Dentsu to "distribute original streaming video programming via the Wii, with a 2009 launch confirmed in Japan, and an eye towards a later Western launch." According to a press statement, some of the videos will be free, and some will cost money. This will help to answer concerns that the Wii was lagging behind the other major consoles in video content.
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Streaming Video Service Coming To the Wii

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 27, 2008 @04:33AM (#26240279)
  • Can't you already do this with the Opera browser for the Wii?

    I know I can get on Youtube/Veoh/etc and watch stuff.

    How can a pay service compete with that?

    • by Myopic ( 18616 )

      It could compete in lots of ways. You can't think of any? It could compete on content, format, quality, convenience...

    • Re:Wait, what? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by BikeHelmet ( 1437881 ) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @06:57AM (#26240699) Journal

      I think a service like Hulu could compete quite successfully. "Pay" services(Hulu is actually ad-supported) usually have better quality video than free services, and earlier access to content.

      You can always torrent high-quality vids, but I don't see that feature making it into the official firmware. Free ad-supported 480p streams is the next best thing.

      And besides, many people don't mind paying a bit for the convenience these services bring, especially if they have good steaming quality.

      I imagine if they had something like Hulu available on the Wii, then it'd be really popular. It certainly beats youtube when it comes to quality and availability of copyrighted content.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by funkatron ( 912521 )
        Hulu still need to kick their legal team out of the server room. The technology exists to stream video to my location so why should lawyers be allowed to fuck it up?
        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          You're forgetting that it's that same legal team that got the content into the server room in the first place.

        • Well, hard to speculate without you saying what your location is :).

          I've worked with digital content distribution in a variety of markets.

          But Hulu absolutely needs to do georestriction, since all content licensing contracts with the studios are for specific regions (USA for Hulu, of course). And don't blame this on the studios themselves; the movies are financed by partners in different region pre-paying for exclusive rights. So in many cases the USA-based studios don't have any right to distribute that con

      • Anyone know what the Wii hardware is capable of for a video experience. As a SD device, it could do 480p60 or 576p50 at best. But the processor is basically a semi souped-up 800 MHz G3, right? My old 800 MHz G4 couldn't play back 480p30 High Profile H.264 and the AltiVec SIMD that the Wii lacks is a big help for that.

        Perhaps the ATI video card inherited some DXVA features?

        There's some DVD playback, so we know MPEG-2 works, and I could imagine VC-1 or MPEG-4 part 2 (divx/xvid) working for 480p24. But unless

        • h.264 is a pig of a format, on playback at least. Dirac scales better, xvid plays better. What the heck is up with the h.264 hype?

          I don't think the Wii will have a problem if this is properly coded, and it might even be done in assembly code to push it even further. I'm sure you could also use the GPU for this sort of thing, don't think OpenCL would be hard even on a GPU like that.

          • by Goaway ( 82658 )

            What the heck is up with the h.264 hype?

            Higher quality at lower bitrate? Is there something about that which is difficult to understand?

            • The cost is incredible, though. Yes, it's awesome, I love it. It's a pig though, when compared to other formats.

              I guess it's an inherit tradeoff, that when space and bitrate drop, to keep the same quality you need to up intensity.

              • Yep. H.264 met its goals well. It's just that high performance software playback wasn't one of them :). Baseline profile isn't too bad, but Main and HIgh allow the CABAC entropy coding mode, which isn't amenable to either parallel or GPU processing (unless the video was encoded as independent slices).

                I'm biased, but I like VC-1's mix of performance and quality. It's about half the complexity of H.264 (and hence about twice that of MPEG-2), but is within 15% of the bandwidth efficiency of H.264 even at very

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by captjc ( 453680 )

      Mostly, but I don't know about everyone else, but when I watch any video of a decent length (usually more then 10 minutes), I get "memory buffer full" (or something like that) errors.

      I want to know how they plan on caching the videos when with a few (one to three) Wiiware / VC games and a average amount of savefiles practically fills up the Wiis memory. I don't even want to think about what would happen if you are a VC junkie or play Rock Band / Guitar Hero with DLC. Caching to the ram gives less than 88MB

      • You can play Guitar Hero DLC from an SD card, but yeah, I agree with you that this doesn't really sound like something that fits in with the Wii universe. Unlike the HD consoles, both of which set out to be media centers. When the Wii launched they were explicit that they did not want it to be one, which is why it doesn't play DVD movies even though it has a DVD drive.

        • which is why it doesn't play DVD movies even though it has a DVD drive.

          Which is nice in a way, to be honest; the Wii's DVD drive goes at a steady pace and so should have a longer life time (not to mention the flash storage).

          It really makes me rage though that VC titles won't run off SD cards. I know they're worried about AverageDick loading his piratebay ROMs on an SD card into his Wii, but geez you'd think at this point they could figure out some form of minor-to-moderate encryption/checksum system to only allow Wii-bought games to run and let everyone go home happy...

          • The DRM is not an issue. Virtual console games are encrypted and tied to the Wii they were bought on. You can copy them to an SD card, you just have to copy them back onto the Wii to actually play them, which seems quite silly.
            • Not to mention they choose some half assed slow hardware, cheap as chips, dodgy serial connection that is slower than a 1996 Win95 box with USB1 on a P75.

              They should have called the shots and made em all USB2 in 2008, even tho that would leave millions of older Wiis slow versions.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I tested a bunch of streaming/converting solutions that all involved watching low-quality videos through the Opera browser. They were all slow, pixelated and frequently ran out of memory.

        I then installed the Homebrew Channel on the Wii (using the Twilight Hack, no hardware modification). It was dead simple to install, and now I watch all my divx and xvid videos through mplayer (wii version). It works great, although from what I've read the processor chokes on HD content (most video torrents I get are 720

  • Advertising (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Dentsu is Japan's largest advertising company, with a 55% share of the ad market. If they are teaming with them, the 'some of the content is free' and 'original programming' in the quote should be taken as 'ad sponsored' or 'ads'.

  • Quality of the video output on Wii really sucks, it doesn't even have an HDMI output, and its component output is worse than any other piece of equipment I have. How are they going to compete with other services, especially in Japan, where 1125i output is the norm for years?
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Quality of the video output on Wii really sucks

      It's called Standard Definition, which is well beyond good enough for most people and is what most people have.

      • by dmesg0 ( 1342071 ) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @07:07AM (#26240717)
        First, it's worse than any upscaling DVD or even most progressive scan DVDs.

        Second, in Japan HDTV is more common than anywhere else (tens of millions subscribers), and free ISDB translations started in 2003. Once you are used to HDTV, it's hard to go back to SDTV.

        • by grumbel ( 592662 )

          The output of the Wii is far worse when it comes to games (no anti-aliasing, no motion blur) then it would be with video, yet people still buy the thing like crazy. So I doubt that it would matter much. Anyway, I think the bigger problem would be storage, Wii's 512MB are tiny, you would have to stream everything and you couldn't even buffer a larger part of the movie temporary.

    • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @10:00AM (#26241207)

      You do realize in United States 1080i has ben the norm for years too. And just recently TVs are now 1080p 55 Pixels height (about the size of an Icon) isn't that much of an advancement. It is more on what the broadcast standards are in the area. Most people can't tell the difference between 480i and 720p and 1080i and 1080p for you to tell the difference between 1080i and 1125i you would be watching the pixels more then the movie, and have a really good eye for detail.

      The Wii is no XBox or PS3 but it does have enough juice to do the job. The 480i which is the same as most DVD players output. Which gives a rather clear picture. It is no Blueray but it is clean and clear and you can see what is happening without it looking like you are watching life threw a screen. The Wii just needs to decode video in real time, that is the heavy processing. But it is just 2d stuff. Most legal streaming media is at 480 or less even if you have a box that can handle HDTV the size of the data is still to big to get on the internet or most connections.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        1125i and 1080i are the same thing. OP is just using different terminology. Much like 480i is actually 525i but has some extra lines that aren't used, 1125i is the actual, full range of scan lines in HDTV of which 1080 are actively used.

        It's just a difference in terminology. In fact, if you look in the manuals for TVs that talk about 1125i, they'll usually say something like "Supported resolutions: 1125i (1080i)." I've only ever heard of the term being used in Japan. Apparently one of the old analog HD

  • by n3tcat ( 664243 ) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @08:19AM (#26240895)

    I mean really this seems like the most obvious feature the wii should have had by default. They are targeting the families that can't afford bigger systems, and they apparently wanted a smaller system that didnt take a ton of space.

    so by eliminating the family dvd player, they accomplish both...

    so why didn't they?

    • by DigitalCrackPipe ( 626884 ) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @12:15PM (#26241895)

      They are targeting the families that can't afford bigger systems

      Not as their main focus. There's a huge segment of their market that doesn't want a 360 or PS3. The focus of the Wii is different, and it covers demographics that aren't touched or satisfied at all by the other systems.

      I could afford all three if I gamed enough to feel like spending the money. The Wii got me to buy my first console in over a decade. It's been worth the money.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Why no DVD player? Licensing the code to be able to play DVD's means the price goes up. Problems with the code in the DVD player to handle odd DVD's, cost goes up. Support calls because guys with scratched DVDs complain the Wii can't play them. Support calls because a new copy protection scheme is incompatible with the Wii. RMA's as a result of the same issue. RMA's because the Wii's general use goes up significantly as a DVD player and wears out quicker. The expectations of a $250 unit are somewhat

  • Sad (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ZekoMal ( 1404259 )
    It's sad, how desperate the Sony and Xbox360 fanboys are to prove that the Wii is falling behind.

    Nevermind that the Wii has some online gameplay (keep in mind that most of the online gameplay games available to PS3 and Xbox360 are war/sports games), that it has had free internet browsing almost from the beginning, with a good enough zoom to get almost full screen video on youtube with great streaming; it's not -HD-, so it clearly sucks.

    I laugh at this. I really do. I didn't buy a game system to -cough-

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      I simply laugh in the face of the ps3 and Xbox360 fanbois.

      They claim this and that...

      I point out it's no problem to buy a xbox360 or Ps3 on xmas eve, yet a Wii and Wiifit have been sold out everywhere for over a month and will continue to be sold out till mid january.

      The Wii outsells the other two combined without effort... It's crusing them hard and it makes the fanbois panic.

      My parents and inlaws like to play the Wii. That in it's self makes it a success that the Ps3 and Xbox360 will never EVER get near

All laws are simulations of reality. -- John C. Lilly