Although it doesn't play DVDs and Blu-rays or stream content from your PC to your TV, the Wii does offer options for streaming feature films and TV shows and for watching short digital videos and clips. Nintendo's diminutive, games-focused console needs an active Wi-Fi connection to take advantage of streaming services -- access the “Connection Settings” option under the Wii System Settings menu to make sure you're in business.
Downloadable as separate Channels from the Wii Shop Channel, the various streaming video services on Wii serve as your best bet for watching movies. The Wii versions of Netflix and Hulu Plus each offer vast libraries of instantly watchable feature films, documentaries and television shows, as does Amazon Instant Video. The latter option also gives you the option to rent movies on-demand for a one-time fee. The Wii's YouTube app hosts millions of short user-generated video clips and user-created shows. Unfortunately, the Wii version of YouTube does not support paid content, such as movie rentals.
By inserting an SD card into your Wii and opening the Photo Channel, you can view digital movies in .MOV and .AVI formats. If you've updated your console to Wii Menu version 4.0 or later -- which you can do by accessing the Settings menu and then choosing “Wii System Settings” and “Wii System Update” -- the Wii supports SD cards with a capacity of up to 32GB. The console is compatible with standard SD cards, SDHC cards, miniSD cards and microSD cards, though the latter two must have adapters to work with the Wii's standard-sized SD card slot.
Subscription and Limitations
While each video-focused Channel is free to download, Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Instant Video each require paid subscriptions for viewing streaming content. Each service also offers a limited free trial period, however, so you can get a feel for the programming without paying up-front. Once subscribed, you can also use these apps for watching movies on other devices, such as your computer, smartphone or other game consoles. The Wii Mini does not support online functionality and does not feature SD card compatibility, so streaming video and digital video playback are not available.
More to Know
To get the most out of watching movies on your Wii, choose the resolution that corresponds to your TV by adjusting the “TV Resolution” settings found under the “Screen” section of the Wii's System Settings menu. If you have a standard TV, choose the 480i option. Connect your Wii to an EDTV or HDTV with component cables and choose the 480p option for a crisper picture. To ensure that the picture fits your screen properly, choose “Widescreen Settings” under the “Screen” menu and select the “Widescreen” or “Standard” options, depending on the shape of your screen. While after-market modifications can make the Wii DVD- and PC-streaming-compatible, these modifications are not condoned by Nintendo and will void your Wii's warranty.
- Netflix: Using Netflix on Your Nintendo Wii
- Netflix: Choose the Plan That's Right for You
- Hulu: Watch TV and Movies Via Xbox, PS3, Wii and More
- Amazon: Amazon Instant Video on Wii
- Amazon: Amazon Prime Free Trial
- Google: YouTube on Wii
- Google: Paid Content on Game Consoles
- Nintendo: Support: Which File Types Are Compatible with the Photo Channel?
- Nintendo: Support: What SD Cards Are Compatible?
- Nintendo: Wii Operations Manual
- Photo Credit Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images
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