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Friday, December 21, 2012

Nintendo's Wii U TV "app" needs "cr" in front

I'm glad I bought my Wii U to play a Mario game. If I had actually known and cared about the so-called "TV integration", I would have been mighty disappointed. For one thing, it wasn't there on launch day. It only just got turned on. Since this seems to have happened without any sort of software update (from what I could see), I wonder if this was some server-side change. In other words, this thing is probably just a glorified web browser.

Let's say you've been waiting on this thing. The big day is here, Mayans notwithstanding, and you power on your device to look at the new toy. It asks you for your zip code and after you hand it over, you get a screen with a row of buttons across the top, arranged horizontally:

AT&T U-Verse (which as far as I can tell, isn't sold here), Bell TV (???), Broadcast TV (plausible), C-Band Providers (what year is this?), and something else which is mostly off screen. Initially, none of them are selected. There's a little scroll bar thing at the bottom, but tapping and trying to drag it does nothing. Neither of the joysticks on the game pad do anything, either.

Finally, out of desperation, I figure Comcast probably will be right after C-Band, so maybe I got lucky, and I pick the one which is only partially visible. Strangely, it lets me pick it!

Bad tvii interface

Here you can see my options: "Package 1", "Package 2", and "Not sure". The only distinguishing element is the number of channels they seem to offer. If you pick that third option, it basically says "go for the one with more channels" and leaves you at that. Wonderful.

Next, you are told to pick your favorite TV shows. Look at this interface. It's the same thing as before, only with shiny pictures.

TV show picker

Again, the scroll bar thing does nothing (but now it's curiously bigger, like there are fewer options overall), and the joysticks do nothing either. I decide to just press on without picking anything.

Later screens ask for stuff about favorite sports (uh, none?) and favorite movies, and I carry on, again choosing nothing. For my efforts, I am rewarded with a bunch of recommendations which can't be based on anything more than my location, a useless grid, and a bunch of other pointless fluff.

It's at this point I realize I need to start taking some pictures of the nastier bits of this so I can write a snarky post about it. It looks like this will be just another piece of the UI which wastes space forever. I'm guessing they had some kind of deadline and rushed out a pointless, broken thing just for the sake of making that date.

I also find myself realizing that I don't really want them to know anything about my viewing habits. I can't possibly see how it would improve my life at all, and it would just serve to feed the advertising monster. What else are all of those questions about favorite this and favorite that all about, anyway? Is it so it can tell me when something's on right now? It's not going to bug me in the middle of a game, is it?

How many people still watch shows when they actually air?