Amazon is further expanding its embedded device strategy with news that it has launched the Amazon Instant Video app for Nintendo's new and so far steady-selling Wii U gaming/connected home console, giving customers a library of 140,000 movies and TV episodes available to purchase or rent, and more than 30 thousand movies and TV episodes to stream for free.
The gaming system launched stateside on Nov. 18, and the company hopes to use the console to become a living room hub that goes far beyond gameplay, including video, an online game store, Miiverse social networking, video chat and a Web browser.
Over-the-top (OTT) video partners, which also include Hulu (News - Alert) Plus and Netflix, are one key to that. The company is banking on something it’s calling the Nintendo Tvii portal, due to be upgraded to full functionality on the platform in the first quarter of next year, which essentially aims to offer a hybrid TV experience for users – similar to what Google (News - Alert) TV attempted to accomplish, aggregating video sources into one content discovery and programming interface.
In TVii’s case, it will bring OTT services like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Amazon Instant Video and so on, together with content from TiVo set-top DVRs, and cable/IPTV (News - Alert)/satellite pay-TV programming, into one searchable user interface.
In the meantime, Amazon app, available from the Wii U home screen or Nintendo's Wii U eShop, is filling the gap. It offers a few interesting features, too, like making use of the console’s nifty touchscreen GamePad controller. Viewers can browse for titles or even play back video on the GamePad’s 6+-inch screen.
The app also offers content discovery help in the form of Recently Watched, Watchlist, Genre Recommendations and More Like This functions.
Also, Parental Controls and Kid Zone features allow parents to manage access to age-appropriate content and navigate specific categories to find family-friendly programming by age.
The Video Library leverages the Amazon ecosystem, and gives customers access to purchases from Amazon Instant Video on the Wii, or any of the hundreds of other devices enabled for Amazon Instant Video, regardless of where and how it was purchased.
A user can start a video on a Kindle Fire, pick it up on the Wii U and finish it on an iPad.
"We're constantly working to create the best streaming video experience for our customers, and to do that it's essential to provide access on as many devices as possible," said Anthony Bay, vice president of Worldwide Digital Video for Amazon.com (News - Alert). "The Amazon Instant Video app on Wii U gives customers more ways to enjoy video in the comfort of their home. In addition, new features in the app allow kids and parents to easily discover family-friendly programming for all age groups."Tara Seals has over thirteen years of experience as a journalist. Her areas of expertise cover the waterfront of the service provider segment, especially mobile networks, devices and applications; and video infrastructure, content and broadcast models.
Edited by Braden Becker