Nintendo TVii to launch Dec. 20 in Canada, U.S.

In this Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012 file photo, people demonstrate the Nintendo's Wii U GamePad and console in New …

On Thursday, those who have snagged a Nintendo Wii U ahead of the holiday rush will be able to test out the new Nintendo TVii, the digital media integration service unveiled back in September.

In an announcement this morning, Nintendo of America announced that the Nintendo TVii service would finally be going live after being delayed from its initial December 8 launch, Engadget reports.

The service will allow users to use the Wii U’s GamePad as a remote control for your television. The system integrates control of the user’s cable or satellite service with instant video services including Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and Hulu Plus. Users can search through all of the available programming options and select what they want to watch, all on the touchscreen of the GamePad instead of flipping through with a remote.

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Nintendo TVii requires no additional equipment and uses the IR blaster built into the GamePad to control the television. The user defines the channels they have access to through their cable or satellite subscription during the setup process, PC World explains, as well as setting up any online media services they have access to.

In addition to simplifying the television watching experience, as Nintendo says, users can also use the GamePad to engage with others during live television on Facebook, Twitter, or on Miiverse.

When Nintendo TVii goes live on December 20, it will support cable and satellite services, as well as Amazon Instant Video and Hulu Plus in the United States. Netflix and TiVo services won’t be integrated with Nintendo TVii until ‘early 2013,’ although Netflix subscribers will still be able to access the service via the Wii U’s main menu.

While the GamePad control is new, a similar service has been offered by Google TV in the U.S. and Canada for some time now. Google TV became available in Canada in late August, and to access it, users have to buy a Google TV-enabled set-top box, like the Sony Internet Player (the first Google TV device to be available north of the border). The player comes with a special remote that includes a touchpad and backlit keyboard. Like with Nintendo TVii, Google TV lets you search through the content available to you via cable/satellite, Netflix, or around the web.

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Xbox 360 owners have also had access to a similar service for some time now through Xbox LIVE. Xbox LIVE connects users to a number of different digital media delivery services including Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, HBO Go, EPIX, ESPN, TMX, Zune Video, CNET TV, Crackle, MLB.TV, Last.fm, UFC, VEVO and more. Unlike Nintendo TVii and Google TV, however, there’s no cable or satellite integration.

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