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Nintendo Releases DS TV in Japan

by Michael Flynn - November 23, 2007, 11:47 am EST
Total comments: 13 Source: J-Cast News

Website crashes under the weight of overwhelming demand.

In Japan this past Tuesday, Nintendo released their long-awaited TV tuner attachment for the Nintendo DS. Compatible with the original DS and the DS Lite, the tuner is a simple cartridge that picks up certain over-the-air broadcasts and displays them on the top screen of the handheld. The bottom screen is used to change channels and make notes. The same basic technology, called "1seg telecasting," is already available in over 15 million mobile phones in Japan.

As they have at times in the past, Nintendo seems to have underestimated demand for this new product. The company began taking pre-orders at 1 p.m. on November 8, and by 3 p.m. the website was down.

"As it was television (not game), we intended to begin accepting the orders quietly without prior announcement," said a Nintendo representative (as translated from Japanese). "We had not expected so many accesses [to the web page] would be made."

According to a survey by Famitsu, 18.5% of DS owners in Japan plan on buying the TV attachment. That equates to nearly four million people. Part of the demand can be attributed to Nintendo adding fun little extras to the service, like a map of Japan that shows where the TV pictures are taking place, or "tsubo TV", which shows viewers massage points for tired eyes.

DS TV currently sells at a price of 6,800 yen. There are no plans to release it in any other territory.


BlackNMild2k1November 23, 2007

If they sell 4 million of the TV tuners, plans to release it in other territories will be made soon.

Ian SaneNovember 23, 2007

I initially thought a DS TV would allow you to play DS games on a TV, which is what I really want (the Wii remote could act as the stylus).

Isn't it funny how we have surround sound systems and big screen TVs and yet people go nutso over listening to their music with sh!tty little headphones and watching video on tiny little 3 inch screens? Let's not forget the preference of doing this outside in public places where there's a billion noises and distractions everywhere.

This device is neat but I don't know if it would be worth it to release it outside Japan. Japan loves doing everything on their cell phone and I've read reports about how accessing the internet on PCs is rare compared to doing so with a cell phone. This interest with tiny screens is not so widespread over here. Plus it's over the air so it's all network TV with likely weak reception. I will admit that the market would like this more now than it did during the time of the Game Gear TV tuner.

I like how the botton screen is used to change channels and MAKE NOTES!! I know I'm always making tons of notes when I watch TV! It's like studying for a big test that never happens! Seriously though is that like a cultural thing? In Japan is it common to make notes while watching TV?

BlackNMild2k1November 23, 2007

but what if the notes are like a picto chat thing?
What if you are connected to your friends wirelessly while watching TV and can make commentary on the same shows while being in different places.

Ahhh, nevermind, thats too good of an idea to actually be implemented.

Well... that's a surprise!

Of course, from what I understand about the technology involved this wouldn't work anywhere except Japan.

IceColdNovember 23, 2007


I initially thought a DS TV would allow you to play DS games on a TV, which is what I really want (the Wii remote could act as the stylus).[
Well you'd lose the tactile feedback then. I think a better idea would be that both screens would be displayed on the TV, but you would draw on the DS screen.

Ian SaneNovember 23, 2007

"Well you'd lose the tactile feedback then. I think a better idea would be that both screens would be displayed on the TV, but you would draw on the DS screen."

That's a great idea. Let's have both options. The GB Player lets you use a GBA for the controller but also doesn't require a GBA to work.

By the way I was suggesting the remote work like a mouse with a little cursor and pressing A is like pressing the stylus on the screen. I'm sure purists would scream bloody murder and claim that that's not how DS games should be played. But I say that's what using a DS is for and anyone who wants to play DS games on a TV doesn't care about that little detail.

One issue with using the DS to control the games on the TV is that a lot of games would require you to look at the screen you're touching. With the remote you can see a cursor and know where you're aiming but you can't on a DS unless you look down. And if you're looking down at the screen then what was the point of outputing to a TV? But not all games would need that. Metroid Prime Hunters for example doesn't expect you to look at the bottom screen so it would work fine. Phantom Hourglass? You need to either look at the screen or use the remote and cursor on the TV.

KDR_11kNovember 23, 2007

Ian: You try to take your plasma TV and surround sound system with you on a commute, just make sure you post the video on Youtube.

KlapauciusNovember 24, 2007

What is it called in Japanese? I can't find it on Amazon.co.jp X_x
"DS TV" can't find it.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorNovember 24, 2007

I wonder how well something like this would do in the US. While I'd buy it, it wouldn't be very useful, as you can only pull like three stations with an antenna from here. I'm guessing with the Japanese population, their television stations are closer together....

LouieturkeyNovember 25, 2007

Right now, it's only available on Nintendo's Japanese website, so you wouldn't find it at amazon.

And how it would work here, they'd have to have a service and use either wifi or cell phone signals to get the stations. Not very practical, but I think it'd be the only way it'd work.

Dan LaserNovember 25, 2007

Play-Asia has it for sale, and in stock for about $90.

So if they were to release a TV Tuner in North America, would it have to be a completely different model in order to work with whatever service they were to use? Otherwise it would only pick up the basic channels (all four of them) with the antenna, right?

KDR_11kNovember 26, 2007

It uses some special network that's only present in Japan. If you imported it you would see exactly NOTHING.

CericNovember 26, 2007

Yep. It seems to be based off of Cellphone TV offerings.

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