Friday, November 16, 2012

YouTube App Comes to Wii (Updated)

For all the talk of WiiSports selling the public to the Wii, one of the Wii's early killer-apps was the Internet Channel and it's YouTube support making it the earliest current-gen console to allow people to watch YouTube via their consoles on their TV.

As the internet has evolved and formats advanced, the Internet Browser struggled to keep pace.   The release of a TV friendly YouTube XL page by Google in 2009 designed specifically for console viewing of YouTube acted as a stop-gap for awhile.  More recent viewing of YouTube on the Wii via the browser has shown it's limitations, with very low resolution feeds and choppy framerates.

In recent years, YouTube has slowly rolled out it's apps on other consoles. With the Xbox 360 getting its own YouTube app in December 2011 followed by the PS3 in August of 2012.  The release of the Wii app today rounds out YouTube on the 'big three' consoles.

It appears the App is currently for the US-only, with rollouts to other countries in the coming months.  There is an easy workaround for Canadians (at least).  As my Wii is registered for Canadian use, I switched my country to US and I was allowed to download the app.

Linking the Wii YouTube App to my YouTube account was easy.  The Wii App generated a code and directed me to a page on YouTube. All I had to do was log into my PC, key in the string and YouTube did the rest.  In a manner of seconds, It had imported my playlists, favorites and subscriptions.

The interface is slick, and moves surprisingly fast.  Video quality will naturally vary depending on source content.  Old videos that are sub 480p will still look as they are.  However, videos in HD or 480p looks very good in the Wii app.  Not only is the framerate much improved from YouTube XL (it appears to be running at 30fps), the video quality is very much in the same ballpark as Netflix videos played on the Wii.

A nice surprise for Wii owners this late in the game, but it also shows Nintendo is still allowing Wii support for interested parties.

Fun Fact: YouTube App is published by Google and Licensed by Nintendo and is not a Nintendo product.  

YouTube's official announcement of the app on their YouTube blog.

Additional Thoughts:  (11-16)

  • Before linking your account, the default menu provides some basic categories such as Gaming, Politics, Trending.  These categories go away after linking to your YouTube account, replaced with your subscriptions instead.   It would be nice to have a separate screen for these categories as it encourages browsing rather than viewing through set-lists.
  • There are no Like/Dislike options ; Although comments is not necessary  I think including Like/Dislike would be nice.
  • Netflix videos are synced to when you last watched. I could watch up to a point on my PC, and switch over to my Wii or 3DS and continue where I left off.  The Wii app doesn't have this option.  Not a huge issue, but nice for longer videos.

No comments: