Blog Post

YouTube Introduces “TV Website” For Nintendo Wii and Sony PS3

youtube-tv-website-for-wiiYouTube just announced the beta launch of a “TV Website” that will be rolled out initially with the Internet channels on the Nintendo Wii and Sony (s sne) PS3 video game consoles. (If you have either game system, type in on your console’s web browser to check it out.) Google (s GOOG) says it aims to offer a version of YouTube for TV owners with an Internet hookup, transforming the service into a “lean-back, 10-foot television viewing experience.” Internet-enabled videogame consoles have become pervasive (41 million households have them already, according to a recent Diffusion Group report, and 148 million households are forecast to have them by 2012), so we can expect to see way more services like this for console owners.

So how’s YouTube doing with this first attempt? I just fired up my Wii to give it a test drive, and here’s my quick take:

watching-youtube-on-the-wiiThe YouTube site has been optimized for the TV, stripped down to its bare essentials; that’s good. I especially like how video thumbnails “pop up” when you move your Wiimote cursor over them. It seems as though the “high quality” viewing option that you often get on the web version isn’t available (I couldn’t access it for videos I know have it), and that’s not so good — especially since you’re supposed to be watching from your couch.

You can log into your YouTube account to see videos you’ve uploaded or that were recommended by your contacts, but there doesn’t seem to be a way to access your account’s messaging system. You can search for videos by keyword, but I couldn’t find a way to filter out the results based on view count, rating, etc. And this may be false causality, but while a YouTube video was playing and I hit “Back” on my Wii’s Opera browser, the screen froze and the entire console locked up — an extremely rare occurrence.

All in all, then, it’s a potentially fun YouTube feature that has a lot of room for improvement. (Then again, that’s why they call it beta.) It’s pretty good for casual viewing if you’re not too picky about what you watch, but right now, I’d say your better bet is Stumbleupon’s video channel for the Wii. At the moment, the best way to use YouTube’s “TV Website” might be to create a playlist of videos on your PC first. Then, when you’ve got your popcorn ready, sit down and watch them from your couch.

16 Responses to “YouTube Introduces “TV Website” For Nintendo Wii and Sony PS3”

  1. The videos aren’t in HD because unfortunately, the Wii isn’t an HD console. If I remember correctly, it’s… 480p?

    This isn’t much of a problem in games, seeing how you can justify jaggies with better gameplay, but you really can’t find an excuse when it’s Youtube you’re talking about.

    That said, I’m used to watching videos in as low as 240p due to my slow net connection, so this shouldn’t be much of an issue for me.

  2. I don’t think this works really that well for TV viewing – it’s just too difficult to see the screen properly from your armchair. I suppose usability will get better as things develop though.

  3. i actually never knew about the TV version for the Wii (maybe thats because i dont use it anymore) however, its good to know that i can start to use it for vids just like the PS3, to a lesser extent of course.

  4. Currently, it lacks a lot of things for ‘couch-viewing’; however, they will figure it all out. That is why they call it a ‘beta.’ What excites me about it, is we are continually moving in the right direction to having one or two consoles controlling content from any source I want, whether it be user generated content from the web, professional tv, webinars, video games, blue-ray. that is the future of this stuff, and as a content creator myself, that is exciting!

  5. I personally can;t get into viewing youtube on my Wii or PS3. I’ve tried it, and I just don;t like what i see on such a high quality setup, and no i would not consider the Wii in HD high quality.

    I guess there would need to be a easier way to jump into the video instead of me navigating to it. Normally I receive links to videos and I view them, rarely do i roam around YouTube looking for them. These new experiences will be useful when needed but until there is a way to have them go viral within the game system, sharing links between friends on the PS3, or from Home, which i currently don’t use. Not sure how this can be done on the Wii since users are basically locked out, a Wii channel that allows users to connect and share videos would be cool, but I would need to go into that app to receive such a notification, unless this is tied to the message system within the main UI.

    Using these apps as a point of retrieval, say if you saved the video in your youtube account for later viewing, but I think it’s safe to say thats a rare usage, unless it;s one of those rare clips that you just have to see again.

    THis will be further defined over time, but until there is a way for me to easily jump to a video from the recommendation of some source that is easy to receive, I don’t see it being too big. But I’m sure that will change soon enough.

  6. Im hoping that sites like YouTube ,Hulu or Joost for example will end up creating dedicated channels on the Wii with WiiWare via a revenue share agreement with Nintendo .The Wii browser has not been updated in quite a while and only supports Flash 7 and with all the video services planed for the Wii this year in Japan it might not be in Nintendos best interest to update when the browser when they can get developers to create content for it Wiiware platform where it can make even more money form the cash cow that is the Wii.

    In Japan Fujisoft has created a low resource video player for devices and will launch its Everybodys Theatre for Wii in Japan on january 27th on Wiiware as a pay per view video streaming service .The ULEXIT video player can play H.264 and ACC and supports DRM .