Since yesterday morning, Wii owners can browse the Internet on their TV comfortably slouched on their couch. Unfortunately, the experience is not yet as smooth as we could have hoped.
Wii owners were alerted of the news by the blue glow on the console disc tray (notifying users of new console updates). It's the second time this week that Nintento pushes an update to their users. Monday, we received the very fun Weather Forecast feature, and yesterday the long awaited Web Browser enabling us to surf the Internet with our Wii.
After a rather long download (5 to 10 minutes), a new channel appears in the Wii main menu: a trial version of Opera.
Opera is an Internet browser, like Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox, the piece of software that lets you navigate through the pages of the World Wide Web. Opera has been around for years on computers but its popularity has increased only recently with its use on the Nintendo DS (portable console) and now, the Nintendo Wii.
Now let's talk about the experience of browsing the Internet with the Wii: it's fun, but it's far from being flawless. By clicking on the Internet Channel, the user is taken to a first page showing 3 items: Favorites, Go To Address, and Help. Moving the cursor is very easy using the Wiimote and although it's not as convenient as traditional mouse, it's definitely usable. Scrolling is done by pressing a trigger on the controller and moving the Wiimote up or down. However, it's a whole other story when you have to type in an address: a virtual keyboard appears at the bottom of the screen and you have to move your cursor on each key. This is very tedious and I quickly forgot about typing this article on the Wii. Hopefully, wireless keyboards will show up soon to solve this issue.
The web pages are displayed properly but it is sometimes difficult to read any text on the TV if you are not sitting very close to it. Nintendo addressed the issue by offering a zoom option activated by pressing a button on the Wiimote. It is still annoying to have to switch between zoom and normal mode to read anything.
Some websites are difficult to browse on the console, and one actually crashed my Wii requiring a reboot of the system. An exception to this is YouTube: the website works surprisingly well and it's a pleasure to browse and watch the videos on a real TV rather than a computer screen. I personally used to very rarely watch TV but YouTube on the Wii may be what will bring me back in front of the traditional tube and waste countless hours.
Having the Internet in the living room and being able to browse it from your couch with your friends or family is a great new feature added to the Wii. The experience is not flawless yet, but let's keep in mind that the browser delivered by Nintendo is only a trial version; some of the glitches will most likely be fixed in the next updates. I am definitely looking forward to it.
Copyright © 2010 Ariel
Wii gets on the Web
Copyright © 2010 Ariel
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