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Netflix Streaming Coming to the Wii This Spring

by Jared Rosenberg - January 12, 2010, 11:51 pm PST
Total comments: 48 Source: New York Times

Netflix's instant video streaming service will soon be available on the Wii.

Nintendo and Netflix will announce on Wednesday that the movie rental company's streaming video service is heading to the Wii this spring. Over 17,000 television shows and films will be available for instant viewing on the Wii once the service becomes available.

To access instant streaming a free Netflix software disc will need to be inserted into the Wii console. Because the Wii lacks the processing power for streaming HD video, Wii owners will only have access to standard-definition video content using the upcoming service. The online video service will be available to Netflix subscribers who pay at least $9 dollars a month.

Netflix's chief executive Reed Hastings stated that the rental company's, "growth in the last two years has been propelled in large part by our investments in streaming content and in the streaming platform." Furthermore, he believes that, "when the Wii application ships, it's going to really open up a large additional opportunity."

In addition, Hastings mentioned that bringing Netflix to the Wii was not a simple task because of the system's unique architecture. Bringing instant streaming to the Wii took, "a long time of experimentation and refinement."

Reggie Fils-Aime, President and CEO of Nintendo of America commented that the partnership with Netflix, "is a continuation of an effort to bring more and more entertainment to consumers who interact with the Wii."

Talkback

BlackNMild2k1January 13, 2010

Now if Nintendo could work out a way to allow Netflix to stream over to Europe and Canada they would probably sell Wiis just for that feature alone.

ShyGuyJanuary 13, 2010

I am happy about this.

Chozo GhostJanuary 13, 2010

I would be more excited about this if the videos I watched on the Nintendo channel didn't keep stopping because of my crappy internet speed. It would be extremely frustrating to have that happen over a 2 hour movie...

BlackNMild2k1January 13, 2010

Netflix has a 10 minute buffer on the computer.
But as you already know, it's you internet connection and not the Wii.

Nintendo Channel works silky smooth and very quick on both Wiis that I frequent.

So can we order the disc on Netflix.com yet?

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJanuary 13, 2010

No, but they'll e-mail you when you can... http://www.netflix.com/NRDInfo/Wii

I already have a better version of this feature on four other machines, BUT it's a smart move by Netflix and Nintendo. Hopefully they'll implement a more full-featured version on Wii HD.

NinGurl69 *hugglesJanuary 13, 2010

Nintendo will need another channel to explain how to make the Netflix in your Internet work, after explaining how to make your Internet work, after explaining how to load the channel that will explain to you there's a channel that explains how to make your Internet work.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJanuary 13, 2010

You know, I've seen this story picked up on several sites - and there seems to be a lot of negative comments about the lack of HD on the Wii.

Wasn't it only a few years ago we were watching our movies on VCRs in below-standard definition?  The Wii can display in ED - which is just as good as many, many DVD players on the market today.  If you have your on a secondary TV, say, in the kids' room, it's probably hooked up to something that only displays 720p anyway.

Is 480p really just unwatchable anymore?  Am I going to have to sit these youngin's in front of a VCR and make them watch my old VHS tapes?

NinGurl69 *hugglesJanuary 13, 2010

Approximately 10 years ago, for me.  I discovered DivX ;-) Movie Piracy (TM), which was a step below true DVD source but still better than VHS.

The simple fact is, Nintendo Channel quality is still beneath that of VHS, and is only catching up to YouTube before they implemented "better definition" videos.

If you have a great TV, then yes, watching a regular DVD can be a chore.  I have an HD 27" set and I have no problem whatsoever watching a DVD on my TV.  However, my uncle-in-law has a gorgeous 42" Samsung, and I saw him playing Transformers 2 on DVD when I was there for Christmas, and it looked bad unless you were watching from 2 rooms away. 

The faster the TVs improve, the worse the Wii looks on those TVs. 

For the sake of expediting my review of Silent Hill on Wii, I moved my Wii to a spare room where I have my old 27" 4:3 CRT set that I got in 2005 and replaced in 2008.  I was surprised to find that even at 480i, the Wii looks better on that TV than it does on my newer Phillips HDTV.  It looks crisper.  I'm thinking of keeping my Wii in there permanently.

NinGurl69 *hugglesJanuary 13, 2010

"The faster the TVs improve, the worse the Wii looks on those TVs."

One of the diseases of the current tech industry.  Making old-spec content look worse is NOT an improvement.

Disease is a bit of a loaded term, but sure I'll agree that it's not a net positive.

BlackNMild2k1January 13, 2010

Some HDTVs handle SD signals just fine. Must be your TV.

vuduJanuary 13, 2010

Quote from: NWR_DrewMG

If you have a great TV, then yes, watching a regular DVD can be a chore.  I have an HD 27" set and I have no problem whatsoever watching a DVD on my TV.  However, my uncle-in-law has a gorgeous 42" Samsung, and I saw him playing Transformers 2 on DVD when I was there for Christmas, and it looked bad unless you were watching from 2 rooms away. 

I have a 48" Panasonic and I still watch DVDs and SD television on it all the time.  Hell, I still don't have a Blu-ray player yet.  Maybe your eyes are just more discerning than mine.

BlackNMild2k1January 13, 2010

Quote from: Jonnyboy117

I already have a better version of this feature on four other machines, BUT it's a smart move by Netflix and Nintendo. Hopefully they'll implement a more full-featured version on Wii HD.

I really don't think there is gonna be some incremental upgrade of a WiiHD.  WiiHD will most likely be Wii2 and not till atleast late 2011.

Nintendo: No Wii Successor Anytime Soon

Quote:

Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime says don’t count on Nintendo introducing an update to its hit Wii videogame console, or new system, in the coming months.

Sony and Microsoft plan to challenge rival Nintendo’s dominance of the current console generation with add-ons they hope will deliver a more sophisticated take on motion control than the motion-sensing technology in the three-year-old Wii. But Fils-Aime, in an interview with Bloomberg BusinessWeek, said: "We are confident the Wii home entertainment console has a very long life in front of it.”

The Japanese videogame maker is betting that upcoming installments of its franchise hits Metroid Prime and Super Mario will reinvigorate the red-hot sales that kept the console in short supply for the first two years of its life.


Nintendo in October issued its first profit warning in six years as sales slowed sharply and the strength of the Yen, relative to the currencies of the U.S. dollar and other countries where it sells its products, sapped profits.

Industry watchers and analysts have been speculating for months that Nintendo is prepping an update to the Wii that offers more sophisticated high-definition gaming. Sony, which already has HD gaming on its PlayStation 3, this year also plans to release software that will allow PS3 owners to watch movies and play games in 3-D. The PS3 has seen a surge in sales after Sony cut the price of its base model and introduced a slimmer version of the game system.

Nintendo on Jan. 13 hoped to counter recent moves by Sony and Microsoft to transform their consoles from gaming consoles into home entertainment platforms by announcing that it will let members this spring stream Netflix movies and TV episodes to the televisions via the Wii console.

To watch content, Wii users will need a special “instant-streaming” disc that Netflix will mail out to members who request a copy. They will then be able to use the Wii’s motion controller to navigate through their Netflix account and pick what they want to watch.

Microsoft has long offered the ability to stream Netflix through the Xbox 360 as part of a premium service plan in its Xbox Live online platform, while Sony recently began delivering the same service under similar conditions to the Nintendo agreement.

With the outcome of this generation’s console wars still very much in doubt as each manufacturer races to up the ante, many analysts believe it’s only a matter of time before Nintendo is forced to add new technology instead of new software to the Wii.

Fils-Aime suggested no such announcement would be make at the upcoming Game Developers Conference in March in San Francisco but did not elaborate on the type of announcements Nintendo will make at the annual gaming confab, the E3 Expo, in mid-June.

or they could announce it at E3, but I think this year will be about the DS2, not the WiiHD.

NinGurl69 *hugglesJanuary 13, 2010

Nintendo still needs to deliver games, first and foremost.

Quote from: BlackNMild2k1

Some HDTVs handle SD signals just fine. Must be your TV.

I never meant to imply that my newer TV made the Wii look BAD, just that my older TV made it look better.  It's something I didn't really notice until I went back to the older set for completely unrelated reasons.

That said, as much as Nintendo likes to pretend HD isn't popular yet, you cannot buy the kind of TV I switched to (4:3 CRT SDTV) in a store even if you wanted to. They just don't sell them anymore.  Anyone who buys a new TV is going to buy an HDTV these days, and even folks like my parents are getting the 40" models when previously they saw no need to get one that was that big.  It's becoming more and more common, and if many of these TV's aren't handling the Wii's signal well, eventually it will become a problem.  Hopefully by the time that happens, Nintendo will have released a new console that is better equipped to deal with the problem.

ShyGuyJanuary 13, 2010

I should really try this blu ray thing now that I have a PS3...

Quote from: BlackNMild2k1

WiiHD will most likely be Wii2 and not till atleast late 2011.

Same thing.

BlackNMild2k1January 13, 2010

Quote from: Jonnyboy117

Quote from: BlackNMild2k1

WiiHD will most likely be Wii2 and not till atleast late 2011.

Same thing.

Depends on who you ask.
Some seem to think that WiiHD is some DSi like upgrade for the Wii that allows for HD graphics(upscale? HD assets? HDMI output?) as a stop gap till Wii2.

Others think that WiiHD is the eventual Wii2 that wouldn't be released until the end of Nintendo's usual 5 year cycle (end of 2011). That includes a 1080p capable Wii that is 100% HD with full BC.

At this point, I don't think the 1st upgrade will make much sense (3million wiis sold in Dec. & NSMBW bumping sales in JPN), but things might look different a few month from now. As for now the Wii is selling fine and Nintendo does not want to splinter it's market just to appease the HD fanboys that aren't gonna buy a wii anyway or the 3rd parties that aren't gonna make games for it.

Oh my god! This is great! I TOTALLY wasn't expecting them to get this to work!

YAYYYY!!!

I watch SD Movies on my Computer all the time through netflix! I even... umm... have watched some from youtube... so call me blind or a luddite, but just getting some of my eclectic choices instantly streamed to me is just...just... wonderful!

Netflix was one of the biggest things I envied the other consoles for. I guess I can cross that off my list now though. ^_^

SundoulosJanuary 13, 2010

As someone who doesn't have an HD televison and doesn't have money to spend on either of the HD console twins, I'm very happy about this. 

vuduJanuary 13, 2010

As someone who wanted an excuse to buy a PS3 but can't justify the purchase of a new console for games alone, I'm not very happy about this.  :-\

TJ SpykeJanuary 13, 2010

Pretty much expected (especially after it was announced for the PS3), but I am happy. I stopped doing Netflix streaming because it's total crap that a 90 minute movie takes 3 hours to watch (because of how many times it stopped to buffer, even with my fast Internet connection).

BlackNMild2k1January 13, 2010

It is your computer or your connection. Netflix streaming works perfect on all 3 computers I've used it on.

You should try clearing your cache before playing a movie, upgrade your ram, use a different browser(works in IE, FF & Chrome) and check you internet connection. It could be a bad wireless signal if you are using a wireless router.

You can try these site to test you internet connection speed.
http://www.speedtest.net/
http://www.dslreports.com/stest
http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/

You need atleast a constant connection speed of 3mbs to get the highest quality video, if you speed fluctuates, then the quality will drop or the video will stop to buffer.

So basically it boils down to you either having a crappy computer an/or a crappy connection.
But I stream movies about 4-5 times a week and never have an issue with loading or buffering.

edit: right now I'm on a crappy laptop with a comcast wireless connection
10mbs down / 2.5mbs up - Netflix works flawlessly

This is pretty cool...I have my Wii hooked up to my SD CRT in the living room anyways.

Chozo GhostJanuary 13, 2010

I don't think it would be a problem if Nintendo created a Wii reviison (in fact, that would be a great idea), just so long as it doesn't break compatibility with any of the existing Wii games out there, and also as long as it doesn't enable new games that break compatibility with the old Wiis out there.

For that to work out this Wii revision would probably have to do its HD via upscale conversion only.

NinGurl69 *hugglesJanuary 13, 2010

HDTVs already have baseline upscalers for whatever you plug into it (otherwise the Wii picture would show up as a tiny box inside a vast black box).  A Wii that upscales wouldn't offer anything.  An HD-resolution Wii would be necessary to make a real difference.

TJ SpykeJanuary 13, 2010

Quote from: BlackNMild2k1

It is your computer or your connection. Netflix streaming works perfect on all 3 computers I've used it on.

I heard the streaming has improved with Netflix. The last time I did was about 2 years ago and I can guarantee that it was Netflix that was slow, not my computer or Internet connection.

Mop it upJanuary 13, 2010

This doesn't interest me, but I do wonder how popular this service will be on Wii. Because the secondary features of the Wii aren't really advertised, I'd assume that almost everybody who owns one bought it for games. Movie watchers probably already have the streaming service from some other device which does it better.

decoymanJanuary 14, 2010

I use Netflix streaming, and the one thing that I'd like is to be able to watch on my tv instead. I don't have a video out cable for my computer, and I'd honestly rather not deal with the hassle, so this'll be perfect for me. :D

kraken613January 14, 2010

You can't really judge something from how it worked 2 years ago! lol

I use Netflix probably at least 3-4 days a week to watch something.

TJ SpykeJanuary 14, 2010

Not that anyone cares, but Michael Pacter is predicting that Wii adoption rate of this will be low. We all know how often Pachter is wrong, and he made this prediction only a few hours after Netflix announced it.

BlackNMild2k1January 14, 2010

A low adoption rate on Wii could still be a much higher userbase than what we're seeing on the 360 and definitely the PS3.

Either way, it's a win for Netflix as even a 5% adoption rate = >1million subscribers who are either new or finding new places to watch their movies.

yoshi1001January 14, 2010

Oddly enough, this is the one thing that has finally gotten me interested in Netflix.

BlackNMild2k1January 14, 2010

I take it you don't watch DVD/BR movies very often, don't have a HDTV with PC/media center connected to it or don't have you computer in a position that is easy to watch from somewhere extremely comfortable to sit/lay (like your bed).

I really hoping to see some sort of video showing the setup and playback quality for the Wii version.

yoshi1001January 14, 2010

Quote from: BlackNMild2k1

I take it you don't watch DVD/BR movies very often, don't have a HDTV with PC/media center connected to it or don't have you computer in a position that is easy to watch from somewhere extremely comfortable to sit/lay (like your bed).

Actually, I do have a Blu-Ray player (just finished watching the original Turtles movie). I think that Netflix streaming on Wii just has that instant gratification/convience factor I've been missing.

BlackNMild2k1January 14, 2010

It is great, I stream all sorts of movies that I wouldn't have watched otherwise.
It's especially great when there is nothing on TV and nothing on the internet and you just want to lay down and watch something mildly entertaining.

The random movies (including New Releases) that come in the mail several times a week are also a HUGE bonus too. ;)

TJ SpykeJanuary 14, 2010

I wonder if Netflix has stopped punishing their most loyal customers. When I stopped subscribing in June 2008, they would punish people who rented a lot of movies from them (they would do this by having movies sent farther away. For example, if you lived in Dallas, Texas and rent too many movies in a month, they will start shipping movies from someplace like Pittsburgh or Seattle so that it takes longer for you to get your movies and longer for them to get them back). I would go from 4 or 5 discs a weeks to about 1 at the end of the month because they would send me discs from the other side of the country.

Speaking of Blu-ray Disc, I know most Netflix customers are still upset that Netflix charges an extra $1 a month to be able to even have access to BD movies.

BlackNMild2k1January 14, 2010

Maybe they sent them from further away because your local dispensary only had so many copies and out sourced you supply to a different dispensary?

As far as BRDs, they are much more expensive than DVD's so it only makes sense that the would charge more to access them. and $1 a month is hardly something to bitch about when you are getting the version that cost $10 more at the store.

TJ SpykeJanuary 14, 2010

This would happen every month, and ranged from niche titles to big titles. This is (or at least was at the time) a wide-spread complaint among Netflix customers. I know why they did it (because the fewer titles a customer rents, the more money the company makes. So they hate when customers rent a lot of movies).

The main complaint is that they did not charge extra for Blu-ray Discs until after Toshiba announced it was ending the HD DVD format. Up until that point Netflix let customers get Blu-rau Discs and HD DVDs along with DVDs. A few months after HD DVD ended, Netflix announced they would start requiring that $1 surcharge to get be able to rent BD's (BTW, that is the official abbreviation according to the Blu-ray Disc Association, not "BRD"). It's bad enough companies are screwing the few consumers who are actually interested in Blu-ray Disc (NO movie should ever be $25, yet alone the $35 some movies cost on BD, even $20 is too much for a movie).

BlackNMild2k1January 14, 2010

But wouldn't that $1 charge held off in hopes of competition driving cost down?
As soon as it was clear BDs  were the winner and HDDVD was out of the race, Netflix knew there was no hope in lower prices coming anytime soon.

Not to mention the kind of breaks Netflix probably got from both camps to push HD disc rentals in hopes of getting people to upgrade their players and support the format. If HDDVD was giving Netflix a discount and BD wasn't then it would look bad for BD if it had cost more to rent those and not HDDVDs when they were basically delivering the same quality content.

StratosJanuary 15, 2010

I'm happy it's coming. I'm getting tired of sitting at my computer watching streamed movies.

I'm curious to see how the Wii will stream a longer movie. The system has less than a gig of RAM, and a lot of that space is being taken up by VC games or channels. Will I have to "clean the fridge" every time I want to stream a movie, or do I just not understand how streaming works?

NinGurl69 *hugglesJanuary 15, 2010

Onbord Flash is not RAM.  Wii has like 640K of Hi-Memory.

BlackNMild2k1January 15, 2010

I've streamed some decent length good quality videos on the Nintendo Channel without issue.
If those continue to play without a so much as a problem and you have a steady internet connection over 2mbs streaming on Wii shouldn't be a problem either.

It's nice to have a 10 minute buffer on the computer just incase your connection stutters or your computer hiccups, but it's not necessary with a fast and steady connection and quick/efficient video processing.

& I'm pretty sure that when you insert the Netflix disc it shuts down all things the Wii doesn't need to run the program. That should give almost 100% id the Wii resources towards running the videos.

brian577January 15, 2010

Quote from: NinGurl69

Onbord Flash is not RAM.  Wii has like 640K of Hi-Memory.

More like 88MB

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