Wii Internet Channel

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Draft

1 Definition

The Internet Channel is a modified Opera browser for the Nintendo Wii and that connects through WIFI to the Internet. It supports the same web functionalities and standards that are included in the desktop versions of Opera, including CSS and JavaScript. On the other hand, it only seems to support Flash 7 (April 2008).

This web browser is not included when you buy the Wii. It will cost 500 Wii Points (about 5 Euros). E.g. in Switzerland you can buy 2000 points for CH 37.- in a shop. You also can buy points through the shopping channel with a credit card. (April 2008).

This page is for technical people, i.e. Wii-aware website designers, Flash and JavaScript programmers.

2 Browser features

3 Specifications

Basically, the Wii "Internet Channel" browser may be like Opera 9, including

  • Full HTML/XML support
  • CSS
  • SVG/SVGDOM
  • JavaScript (including Canvas)
  • The only "old" piece of software is the Flash plugin (Flash 7 compatible)

Disclaimer: This information may be wrong, I didn't try to look under the hood yet myself - Daniel K. Schneider 10:28, 17 April 2008 (UTC).

4 User interface

  • The Wiimote (main game controller) is used as a pointing device (like the mouse) and the "A" button is the normal "mouse-click". Most buttons do something (read on ...).

By default, most web pages hardly can be read since the resolution of a TV screen (and the resolution the Wii supports !) are really low. There are three solutions to this: problem.

  • Consult only pages made for small devices (e.g. PDA's, modern cell phones, Wii). A page that shows well is for instance the wiiportal.
  • Zoom out (with the +/- buttons) and use either the arrows to scroll or (better) the B button that has a nice interface with a directional arrow.
  • Consult the page in "vertical mode" (Hit the "2" button). Opera will reformat the contents of the page.

User input is fairly well done. No surprise here, since Opera managed to create web browsers that even work on a cell phone.

  • For user input (e.g. entering a web address or filling in an HTML form), the navigator will open an input window where one can select letters with the Wiimote. When filling in forms it will suggest words on which you may click (in several languages). Alternatively, you may hook up a USB keyboard to the console (not tested yet).
  • The keyboard for french language is AZERTY which is an insult to Swiss customers (didn't figure out how to change it to a Swiss keyboard that looks more like the US one)
  • On the bottom of the screen there is a navigation bar (back/forth, reload, search, bookmark, enter URL and channel home)
  • Options can be defined on the channel home page, e.g. screen width, wether you want the navigation bar on permanence or when you move the pointer or when you hit "i". etc.

Below are some pictures. I made them with my cell-phone and you can enlarge them.

  • The almost black border you can see in most pictures is the frame of TV screen (A digital good quality Samsung low resolution TV).
  • Enlarged, pictures are still 50% scaled down and 85% jpg quality. But you should get the idea that using a Wii to browse normal webpages is not that straight forward since most pages either need reformatting (vertical mode) or zooming + horizontal scrolling.
Edutechwiki - rather unreadable
A YouTube page - rather unreadable
Input window - well done (easier to use than the cell phone's SMS style)
Edutechwiki in vertical mode. Readable from the sofa, it's even a bit too big.
You Tube zoomed out - not readable
You Tube zoomed in - and moving with the B button

5 Links

5.1 Documentation at Opera

All technical information articles at Opera seem to be dead. Nintendo put an embargo on these. There doesn't seem to be any replacement. There are several theories about this, e.g. Nintendo doesn't want 3rd party developers to become too creative, the API may change again etc... (April 2008).

On the other hand, both Hullbreach (HTML/Canevas/JS) and WiiCade (FLash) SDK's seem to do well (not tested yet).

5.2 Websites optimized for Wii

  • wiiportal (A portal with a selection of various topics)

5.3 Hullbreach SDK

Hullbreach Wii Opera SDK seems to be very popular library for game programming for the Wii's Internet Channel. Daniel Gump develops this SDK for Hullbreach, a MMORPG game, but one can find small games made with with the SDK on the Web, e.g. Wii42.

“The Wii Opera SDK is a collection of optimized Javascript files created to aid in the development of games and software for the Internet Channel (the Nintendo Wii's Opera Web browser). The components of the Wii Opera SDK provide functionality in several areas useful for creating Wii-centric homebrew Web applications such as Wii Remote interaction, three-dimensional math, graphical primitive drawing, texture-mapping, and multiuser communication.” (Wii Opera SDK Wiki, retrieved 10:28, 17 April 2008 (UTC)).

5.4 WiiCade

WiiCade is a website designed to provide users of the Wii console with online games using the built-in Opera (Internet Channel) browser. This is a Flash API. “The WiiCade API was introduced to provide developers with the ability to access the buttons on the Wii Remote controller. Specifically, the API is capable of providing access to the Directional Pad and the A, B, +, -, 1, and 2 buttons. Access to these buttons is not hampered by the default actions in the Opera Browser, and the game can be configured to allow or disallow the Opera zoom functionality. Furthermore, the API provides support for the use of the Wii Remote controller in a sideways configuration.” (Wikipedia, retrieved 10:28, 17 April 2008 (UTC).

5.5 Wii official Opera Sdk

  •  ?

5.6 MarioToo Flash/WiimoteMote API

Dead ?

5.7 Various technical links

(including blog entries, forums)