Nintendo's TVii app launches in the U.S. and Canada on Thursday, Nintendo announced this morning. But the free app won't initially include everything originally promised.
Thursday's software update will not come with the ability to program or access content stored on a DVR, according to Nintendo. The app, already delayed from the launch, also won't include Netflix or Tivo program guide support. Those are both coming next year. Netflix will still be accessible on the Wii U through it's own app.
What the service will include is an online interactive guide to TV, Hulu Plus and Amazon Instant Video programming with the ability to search for programming details online and share comments through social networks. The app was made in conjunction with i.TV.
Because the Wii U's Gamepad already serves as a remote, the new service will also allow users to find a show across the multitude of services, touch their selection and have the Gamepad get them to what they want to watch. Or as the Nintendo press release so succinctly puts it "this empowers Wii U owners to focus on what they want to watch and not how they want to watch."
"After Dec. 20, you'll never look at your TV the same way again," said Nintendo of America President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime. "Wii U owners have already experienced the transformative effect that the GamePad has on game play and social interaction. Nintendo TVii shows how the integrated second screen of the GamePad can also transform and enhance the TV viewing experience. Welcome to the new world of TVii."
The integration of social communities like Facebook, Twitter and the Wii U's own Miiverse means that users could in theory chat live about a show with friends in a public space.
While Nintendo originally mentioned being able to access Wikipedia and the Internet Movie Database from the app, the press release mentions neither. According to the release Wii U owners can "also discover more information about what they're watching by easily accessing information on the GamePad via an Internet connection, including cast details, movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes and sports data such as live stats and scores."
We've reached out to Nintendo for more clarity on what services will be included in TVii at launch.