Wii Internet Browser Now Free
Nintendo finally realizes that no one pays for their surfing
By James Renovitch,
3:38PM, Wed. Sep. 2, 2009
Yesterday Nintendo made the wise decision to make their web browser free to download. Long story short, it's a free download, so download it. You never know when you might need to see Beyoncé's "Put a Ring on It" video on YouTube in the middle of a Wii Fit workout.
For a review of Wii's browser and my tragic history with gaming-system surfing click through.
Wii's Opera-powered browser, in addition to now being free, was also recently updated with a new version of Flash. What that means for you is that now you can use the Wii to watch YouTube clips. Hulu and most other video streaming is still useless. You might recognize Opera as your smart-phone browser, but Nintendo has used it on their DS and Wii systems to remarkably few complaints. It helps that the Wiimote acts like a mouse (unlike the Xbox and PS3 controllers) making navigation and typing easier. My main complaint – and it's the same complaint with so many things Wii produces – is that the interface looks made for a toddler with its cartoony bubbles and sounds taken straight from Pop-Up Video. All said and done, it's better than either of the pricier systems' browsers (Xbox doesn't even have built-in wireless let alone a browser).
On a more personal note, I'm one of those guys who can say, "I don't have cable," as if I'm too good for television. More than that, I don't even have broadcast channels (thanks to the switchover to digital this past summer). That way I get all the snobby accolades of transcending a dullard's medium while still watching hours and hours of Gilmore Girls and CHiPs reruns on my television. (Are they called reruns if you watch them online?). How do I do it? My PS3 broswer.
When I ditched my cable and made the switch to internet television I was worried that my impressive TV habit would crumble under the weight of having to watch shows on my laptop screen. Until I remembered my PS3 came with a browser and wireless internet that I had already set up. Before long I had the entire Hulu library at my disposal right there on my TV where it belongs, and it was good.
A month later Hulu began blocking videos from being streamed to PS3s for reasons that are still unclear. Rumors began flying about Microsoft (the maker of PS3's competition the Xbox) being in bed with the networks. All that Hulu would say about it is that they are "focused on the free streaming experience on the computer," adding unapologetically, "it is possible that a change on our end broke your setup."
Sadly, Wii's free and improved browser still doesn't support Hulu. This looks like a weakness in the browser not necessarily an intentional block from Hulu however. Till Hulu and my PS3 start cooperating, I'm stuck with Sling.com (aka Hulu-lite).