My heartfelt congratulations to those who have a Wii in their living room, and nothing else that connects to the Internet. With nary an Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Roku box, connected HDTV or Blu-ray player, these poor souls will finally be able to watch Netflix's streaming movie catalog from the television, starting this spring. Sure, it's hobbled by the Wii's 480p playback, and makes you insert a disc beforehand akin to the Playstation 3, but it's better than nothing.
Drawbacks aside, I refuse to believe that this is it for the Wii. There must be more in store on the multimedia front, because a selection of old and B movies isn't going to cut it. Netflix streaming is incomplete when it's not supported by on-demand video or some other kind of catalog.
That's why Roku is >no longer just a Netflix player, and why Nintendo's console competitors offer so much more as well. You can buy and rent movies and TV shows through Xbox Live and the Playstation Network. Xbox Live Gold subscribers can listen to endless music playlists with Last.fm. And of course, the Xbox 360 and PS3 play DVDs and Blu-ray discs, respectively.
The Wii's addition of Netflix makes the console seem lopsided. It's no longer strictly a gaming device, but a box of entertainment (I know, the Wii has news and weather channels, but that's just information). And that entertainment section has to grow.
My prediction? The >Wii's video channel, which debuted in Japan last year, is not too far off. It has Hollywood movies. It >has pay-per-view content from Warner and Disney, among others. It should be ready to roll by now. Dream scenario: Those Netflix discs will arrive along with a console update bearing a video store and some more Web channels, but maybe those poor Wii owners will pick up a more capable set-top box by then.
This story, "Wii Gets Netflix. Now What?" was originally published by Technologizer.