Opera: Wii browser shows web works on TVs

Nintendo Wii - a key influence in web TV?
Nintendo Wii - a key influence in web TV?

Nintendo has been delighted with the web browser on the Wii, according to developer Opera, with the console experience proving that the internet can work on a television screen.

Opera may not have a huge share of the traditional web browser market, but it is a huge influence in the shift to internet connectivity from things other than computers, such as set top boxes, connected televisions and portable devices.

As well as providing internet and widget experiences on Sony Bravia televisions and Archos devices, it also developed the innovative Wii browser, which has been a huge hit for Nintendo, and helped keep the console competitive in the market.


Opera's director of products, Jean-Christophe Vuillot, told TechRadar that Nintendo had been delighted with the results.

"Nintendo has definitely been happy with the browser, said Vuillot. "I wasn't at the company when the project began but I think there were some uncertainties or worries about whether it would fly.

"You are talking about the full internet on a television screen, so there was some scepticism but Nintendo was courageous to go there and we were able to provide them with a product they were happy with and that provides the best end user experience

"When you see the results, you can say it's a success."

Browsing televisions?

A complete browser on a television is still very much a rarity, with middleware normally providing a simpler browsing or information arena that relies less on keyboards and is simpler for those with remote controls.

Although Opera is a key player in that middleware market, and is pushing widgets and applications that could have a major impact, Vuillot hopes that Nintendo's Wii browser can illustrate that full internet browsing is possible on the television screen.

"The Nintendo project was a custom project, it wasn't a standard SDK [Software Development Kit]. The Wii is a very proprietary environment, it is very specific but we did learn a lot working with Nintendo and the end result is a proof that, okay it's a gaming console with a Wiimote - which is a specific gaming device - but even so you may say that internet on TV is possible.

"If [the Wii browser] had been a failure then the whole IPTV industry would have been worried, but we succeeded and it showed that we could do it."

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.