In yet another piece of tech goodness that only Japan is getting for now, Nintendo is adding a TV channel to the Wii that includes an electronic programme guide (EPG) and which converts the Wiimote into a telly remote.

The completely free Terebi no Tomo (TV Pal) Channel can be added through the Wii Shopping Channel to bring a nifty EPG interface that rivals anything on an HD TV to the console.

Email reminders

Since there's no hard drive in the Wii, the EPG can't set up a recording, but it can do plenty more besides.

Most useful is probably the ability to assign lists of favourite shows to each Mii registered in the system, then to email that person on a phone or PC with a little reminder to stop playing Monkey Ball and tune in.

The EPG can also share a host of information about what friends and family have bookmarked and can even deliver real-time news via an onscreen ticker.

TV controller

Saving the best for last, we have the new ability of the Wiimote to double up as a TV remote controller. It works by using the regular Bluetooth link with the console to instruct the sensor bar atop the TV to change channel or adjust the volume.

This information is conveyed from the bar to the TV's infrared port by the rather clever solution of bouncing the IR signal off a nearby wall. There's even a setup wizard for positioning the bar to best effect.