The new interface of the Nintendo Wii is organized into "channels", each containing different services and functions. The English version of wii.com gives a nice summary of the initial channels. Here's what they do:
- The Disc channel is simply for playing games based off of optical media, i.e. Wii or Gamecube discs. Nothing fancy here.
- The Mii channel allows a player to create his or her own digital avatar. These avatars will most likely be your online "identity", but will also appear in certain software, such as Wii Sports.
- The Photo channel is a channel that allows you to view and share digital photos and movies from an external source. The Wii also contains an iPhoto-like functionality, allowing you to touch up, alter, and distort your photos to your heart's content.
- The Forecast channel will give you a look at local weather. You can also zoom out in a very Google Earth-esque fashion, and view data for pretty much anywhere in the world.
- The News channel is for, well, news. Various topics will be broken down into topical categories for your viewing pleasure. Remember, this and the weather service are free of charge.
- The Wii Shop channel is, as expected, the online marketplace for the Wii. You'll mainly be in here buying games for the Virtual Console, but you can also purchase Opera's web browser and whatever else Nintendo decides to charge. Hopefully, extra multiplayer maps and the like will remain free, but we suppose that's up to the publisher.
- The Virtual Console channels are the channels that allow you to play games from any of the various systems supported: NES, SNES, N64, Sega Genesis, and the TurboGrafx-16.
- The Internet channel allows one to surf the internet. However, this is not free; an Opera browser must be purchased for a currently unknown price. However, the browser supports Adobe Flash, AJAX software, and essentially every feature a major browser should; it's a nice step up from the DS version.
- The Message Board channel allows users to post messages on various boards, and send messages or photos directly to PCs or cell phones. This is also the service through which games will be updated and patched.