Game Consoles Boost TV Reach

Game Consoles Boost TV Reach

Jockeying for control of the TV screen, Nintendo and Microsoft have added new ways to find and watch video content through their popular game consoles.

Nintendo last week (Dec. 20) launched a service for its new Wii U game console in North Amer ica designed to let users find programming in pay TV listings and online video sources, and control their cable or satellite set-tops. The TVii (pronounced “TV”) service merges multiple content sources, letting Wii U owners use the GamePad touchscreen controller to find and launch video content.

TVii supports cable and satellite providers in both regions, as well as direct integration with Amazon Instant Video and Hulu Plus subscriptions in the U.S. The company didn’t provide a complete list of pay TV providers and settops TVii is supposed to work with.

After using TVii, according to Nintendo of America president and chief operating officer Reggie Fils-Aime, “you’ll never look at your TV the same way again.” The company originally planned to debut the feature when the Wii U went on sale Nov. 18. Meanwhile, Verizon Communications and Microsoft launched an upgraded Xbox 360 app that expands the lineup to 75 live channels, bringing it to parity with the iPad and LG Electronics’ connected TV.

Also last week, Microsoft released Xbox apps for the AOL On Network — which provides 420,000 short-form videos — as well as for Vimeo and Snag- Films. All told, Microsoft has more than 75 entertainment apps in play worldwide, including one to watch Comcast Xfinity on-demand titles.