Skip Navigation

Nintendo Wii latest device to support BBC iPlayer
Wednesday 09 April 2008 18:01:01 by Andrew Ferguson

Irrespective of your views in the battle between the BBC iPlayer and the ISPs, its popularity amongst the public is driving its implementation onto more devices. The latest device to gain access to streamed iPlayer content is the Nintendo Wii. Anthony Rose in a BBC Internet Blog goes into the detail of iPlayer on the Wii.

The immediate thing that jumps out at you, is that the Internet Channel needs to be installed on the Wii at a cost of £3.50 (500 Wii points) for the iPlayer web site at to work. If demand for a Wii optimised iPlayer appears it is possible that this fee may be avoided by the BBC providing a dedicated Wii player.

One thing worth noting is that while the streaming iPlayer normally uses video encoded at 500Kbps, to keep the quality of video reasonable a bit rate of 820Kbps has had to be used. This means that a broadband line capable of sustaining 1Mbps speeds for the length of the streamed show will be needed.

The Nintendo Wii is different compared to iPhone, Mac, and PC for viewing content as it is very likely to be connected to a big screen TV in the lounge, so it will be interesting to see what the public reaction is to the quality of the video when viewed on a 26", 32" or even 40" screen sizes. The quality may well be preferable to that of a VHS recording of the show and without the need to remember to program the video recorder or PVR people will be able to see stuff that they would have otherwise missed. Remember it is of course possible to connect your Mac or PC to many modern TV's as most modern video cards support a DVI output which with the correct cable can be connected to a HDMI socket. The older standard was a S-Video output but this generally gives a much lower quality image than DVI.

The Nintendo Wii may look an odd choice, but in terms of units sold in the UK at some 2.6 million it is beating the XBox 360 which numbers around 2.1 million and the Sony PS3 with 1.2 million consoles.

Update 15th April 2008: It seems that the Sony Playstation 3 has not missed out on the iPlayer game, an enterprising sole has created a wrapper around the iPlayer website that allows you to play the flash video on your PS3. The site can be accessed from the PS3 web browser via

Unfortunately the video does not play back full screen, so hopefully this is something the BBC can solve when it finally releases a PS3 version. The low encoding rate becomes very obvious on a large screen particularly when a lot of movement happens, but if viewed from across a large lounge it is watchable if it is the only way of catching up on a lost show.


Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
quote"the Internet Channel needs to be installed on the Wii at a cost of £3.50 (500 Wii points)"
LOL only if you dont know what you are doing.
quote" it will be interesting to see what the public reaction is to the quality of the video when viewed on a 26", 32" or even 40" screen sizes."
Agreed, i like the idea, but i cant help but think the image quality based on the container format the wii uses for video will look poor at 800 odd K, that being said with some of the fun for all games the wii now has and this if its quality is goodi might have to consider getting one.
Posted by ian72 over 9 years ago
quote "LOL only if you dont know what you are doing"
Are you able to expand on that? I have a Wii but installed the Internet Channel when it was first released so I know that then it was free. I didn't know there was a charge for it these days - are you saying there isn't?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
There is an application that will allow you to create and also remove channels in the wii's menu system now manually. Not entirely sure on its legality, but you can find info on a few console forum boards about it
Posted by philg over 9 years ago
Well, I've tired the current "beta"? version on my Wii on a 40" telly and all I can say is... Don't bother!

First off, you cant make the video "full screen" the only option seems to be to use the built in opera Zoom function to make it as close to full screen as possible... And then its just poor!

Maybe if/when the provide a dedicated iPlayer channel with decent full screen quality it will be worth a try, until then I think I'll stick with my PC and 20" monitor lol!
Posted by philg over 9 years ago
Actually, having said that, it is better quality from the media PC plugged into the the same 40" telly so its not just a screen size/resolution problem - maybe its to do with the piss poor ancient flash version on the Wii after all.
Posted by comnut over 9 years ago
many have seen that, ages ago... just what do you expect for a system costing less than 200 new??? It does not uses the l;atest flash, you cannot choose the Video card, etc, etc...
Posted by comnut over 9 years ago
Games consoles are for games - using them for much more than this is only if you can stand the quality you have paid for.. Even 'ultra-cheap' PC's can be that bad!!
Posted by comnut over 9 years ago
you can get a great *new* laptop for 350 these days... or even a new PC for 100 less! If you already have a PC monitor, then adding a *new* PC for it is even cheaper...
Posted by nmg196 over 9 years ago
I've tried this on my Wii and the quality is very bad. It's certainly not as good as playing it in a browser on a PC, which in turn is nothing like as good as actually downloading the video file via the iPlayer software.

This is a great idea, but would only be of use if they produce a dedicated MPEG4 player for the Wii. Using the old Flash software on the Internet Channel does not produce watchable video - it's not even as good as YouTube.
You must be logged in to post comments. Click here to login.