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Wii gets TV guide channel, Wiimote becomes universal in Japan


Wii's 'Terebi no Tomo' Channel has launched in Japan, free for download from the Shop Channel. Better understood as 'TV Friend' Channel, the service, which was announced last November, provides users with an Electronic Program Guide (EPG) that updates over the internet from Japan's G-Guide service. While it might be a giant step backward for TiVo and DVR users, the new channel may be useful for elder Wii owners still stuck with ancient SD analog programming. EPG browsers can search by genre and keyword -- in 3D! -- and then 'stamp' programs of interest. These picks can then be shared with in-house users and coded Wii friends, and are used by Nintendo to give programs aggregated popularity scores. The service will also send out an alert to an email address specified during setup, 30 minutes prior to a stamped program's start time.

Additionally, while using the TV Friend Channel, the Wiimote will operate as a semi-functional universal remote, capable of changing channels, adjusting volume, and switching between the Wii and TV inputs. The 'hack' is accomplished with the sensor bar, which sends out an IR signal compatible with your display. The signal is bounced off a wall (or your head or whatever) and ideally lands on your TV's IR port. There's a faceless female voice that guides you through the IR calibration process via the Wiimote speaker (we knew it had a purpose!), just in case your screen goes dark ... and stays that way. Hey, it's free, remember?

[Via Engadget Japanese; thanks to Ittousai for translating!]

Gallery: TV Friend Channel (Wii) | 15 Photos

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