According to multiple sources Nintendo is releasing an update to the system software of its Wii U console on December 20th that will add the promised TVii functionality.
Beyond the simple TV remote capabilities that the Wii U came with, TVii will offer integration of cable, sattelite and video on demand in one place. It will also integrate the social aspect as demonstrated during the Wii U launch event in September, letting you share your reactions to TV shows on Miiverse, facebook and twitter. Unfortunately Netflix isn't yet integrated into the mix, but it will be at some point in 2013.
Let's hope the update download doesn't take too long, although I suspect their servers might be busy with demand tomorrow. I will be testing it out and letting you know how it works with my particular over the air (OTA) antenna setup.
Here's the press release from Nintendo:
Nintendo Makes TV Smart and Social – Nintendo TVii Launches Dec. 20
New Wii U Service Gives Every Member of the Family His or Her Own Personalized, Easy-to-Use Second-Screen Viewing Experience
REDMOND, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The company that changed how we play is about to change how we watch. On Dec. 20, Nintendo will introduce Nintendo TVii, a free, integrated service for the recently launched Wii U console that combines what you watch and how you watch into one seamless, second-screen experience on the revolutionary new Wii U GamePad controller.
The rapid increase in both the quality and availability of video entertainment content – hundreds of satellite and cable channels, a seemingly endless amount of video-on-demand options – has made finding something to watch a complex and occasionally frustrating process. The solution to this problem is coming from perhaps an unexpected place: a video game console.
"After Dec. 20, you'll never look at your TV the same way again," said Nintendo of America President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime. "Wii U owners have already experienced the transformative effect that the GamePad has on game play and social interaction. Nintendo TVii shows how the integrated second screen of the GamePad can also transform and enhance the TV viewing experience. Welcome to the new world of TVii."
Nintendo TVii maximizes Wii U owners' current cable, satellite and video-on-demand services by pulling all of their available content sources – such as a Comcast cable package or Hulu Plus subscription – into one place. This empowers Wii U owners to focus on what they want to watch and not how they want to watch. And once users find the show, sporting event or movie they want, they press an icon and Nintendo TVii does the rest.
In addition to greatly simplifying finding and watching video content, Nintendo TVii also includes a series of social features that enable Wii U owners to share experiences and exciting moments with friends as they are happening on live TV. People can engage with others by commenting and sharing on Miiverse, Facebook and Twitter. Or they can comment, post or tweet about an incredible touchdown, a remarkable performance or a shocking plot twist, all using the personal screen of the Wii U GamePad.
Nintendo TVii requires no additional equipment and can be enjoyed with very little setup, demonstrating what's possible when the second screen is truly integrated with the TV. Wii U owners can also discover more information about what they're watching by easily accessing information on the GamePad via an Internet connection, including cast details, movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes and sports data such as live stats and scores.
Nintendo TVii launches in the United States and Canada on Dec. 20. At launch, the service will support cable and satellite providers in both regions, as well as direct integration with Amazon Instant Video and Hulu Plus subscriptions in the United States. Further integration with Netflix subscriptions and TiVo are expected in early 2013 in the United States. Wii U owners with a Netflix subscription can still access the Netflix application from the Wii U system's main menu and enjoy their favorite content accordingly.
All elements of the Nintendo TVii service are included in the purchase price of the Wii U system. Users will define which services they currently subscribe to – including the channel lineup in their cable package and video-on-demand service subscriptions – as part of the setup process.
Nintendo TVii observes the Wii U system parental controls, and additional options specific to the Nintendo TVii features can be chosen in the Nintendo TVii settings. Every member of the family can create a different viewing profile. For more information about this and other features, visit http://www.nintendo.com/wiiu.
About Nintendo: The worldwide pioneer in the creation of interactive entertainment, Nintendo Co., Ltd., of Kyoto, Japan, manufactures and markets hardware and software for its Wii U™ and Wii™ home consoles, and Nintendo 3DS™ and Nintendo DS™ families of portable systems. Since 1983, when it launched the Nintendo Entertainment System™, Nintendo has sold more than 4 billion video games and more than 637 million hardware units globally, including the current-generation Wii U, Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo 3DS XL, as well as the Game Boy™, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi™ and Nintendo DSi XL™, Super NES™, Nintendo 64™, Nintendo GameCube™ and Wii systems. It has also created industry icons that have become well-known, household names such as Mario™, Donkey Kong™, Metroid™, Zelda™ and Pokémon™. A wholly owned subsidiary, Nintendo of America Inc., based in Redmond, Wash., serves as headquarters for Nintendo's operations in the Western Hemisphere. For more information about Nintendo, please visit the company's website at http://www.nintendo.com.