Not only are we still waiting for the TV Guide Channel that Japanese Wii users have been indulging in for the better part of two years, but now Variety is reporting that Nintendo has teamed up with a dozen corporate partners to tease us with a Japanese pay-per-view service for the console. Premiering last Saturday, Wii no Ma (Wii’s Room) currently has 120 titles, including episodes of Sesame Street and Pocket Monsters, available for prices ranging from ¥30 – ¥500 ($.35 – $5.63). According to Variety, titles can also be viewed on your Nintendo DSi handheld, a device known for its sonority and large, appealing display. No word yet on when we can enjoy a Stateside version, but we’ll let you know as soon as we hear something. In the meantime, there’s always PlayOn.
These two companies pooled their scientific and manufacturing efforts in order to finally break the curse of the open/closed circuit arc discharge and the unfortunate effects it has on our frail bodies. It would seem that a solution has indeed been found and the result is a new power bar and power plug custom-made for a 400V system with high-voltage direct current distribution.
Safety appears to have been the main concern of Fujitsu Component and NTT Facilities as they developed this product. Consequently, by simply throwing a switch, users will supposedly be able to make sure there’s no voltage generation between the terminals of the power plug unless an ICT device or other loading system is in use.
According to Coolest Gadgets, when someone uses such an apparatus, the power plug must go into the outlet, and then the mechanical switch is to be activated so that the internal contact doesn’t remain open. So, this switch is really important, as it allows users to perform the plugging and unplugging in complete safety (there’s no active voltage at the time), especially compared to the commonly used 100V and 200V AC systems.
The two companies took the safety issue a step further, preventing accidental unplugging or faulty insertion incidents. The plug comes with a special module for blocking arcs; by using magnetic force of a high density, it smothers the evilness of an arc occurring when somebody forgets to activate the mechanical switch before plugging something in. With twenty outlets on the same bar, users would indeed appreciate this. Also, because this system doesn’t have any complex mechanical innards or semiconductors, its power consumption needs are very frugal, close to zero, in fact. Still, the device is not yet ready for commercialization – that will happen sometime next year.
Nintendo has struck gold with its little Wii console. Although the device is years behind when it comes to performance and graphics, it still beats the heck out of the Xbox 360 and PS3. And while Microsoft is still successful with the 360, Sony is quite sad with its own poor strategic decisions regarding the PS3’s price to features ratio.
In the mean time, Nintendo is celebrating by never dropping the price on the Wii and releasing simple, yet playful accessories for their motion-based gaming system. Recently, the company has announced a future device called the Nintendo WiFi Network Adapter. Most of you might think “hey, wait a minute, doesn’t my Wii already have integrated WiFi?”. Sure it does, I’ve been using WiFi on Wii for a long time. So, what exactly is Nintendo cooking in its backyard?
Well, as opposed to the Xbox 360 WiFi Adapter, this isn’t actually a WiFi card for the Wii, but more like a Wireless router. It is meant to provide a WiFi Internet connection for your gaming console. The manufacturer states that the device can either be used as a router, or it can be set to become a bridge for an already installed router. Obviously the device also works with the Nintendo DS. Actually, if things are as the company states, the adapter could pretty well provide wireless connectivity for any WiFi capable device.
Unfortunately, this product will only be released in Japan at first (Nintendo says September 18), but European and US users have high hopes that this adapter will make it to their home markets not to long after the initial launch. Pricing will be of around $53, which makes me think the router in it won’t really provide users with any advanced configuration options (if any at all).
When you live next to a place that offers wireless Internet for free but you have to actually be there in order to use it, it can be pretty distressing. Sure, you can use a Wi-Fi adapter but those devices usually don’t have such a long range and you might find yourself still not being able to receive the desired wireless signal. hField Technologies has come up with the Wi-Fire; however, a very long ranged high-performance USB Wi-Fi Adapter that is a lot smaller and lighter.
And by a lot smaller and lighter, I mean 40 percent smaller and about 30 percent lighter. It features an integrated directional antenna, which paired with proprietary software and a highly sensitive receiver, promises to allow better reception of wireless signals. Users will thus benefit from greater range and increased mobility. Not to mention the fact that they will be able to maintain higher speeds at a higher range with no noticeable decrease.
“Wi-Fire is the perfect device – light weight and easy to use – for the seriously mobile computer user with high bandwidth needs, and those who have problems connecting to their regular wireless network because of distance, obstacles or other interference,” said Tom DiClemente, hField’s CEO. “We’re dedicated to empowering people to connect better, faster and more economically.”
The new Wi-Fire will also feature hField’s Connection Manager 2.2 software for Windows and the WCM 1.1 for Mac. As for Linux, for most of its iterations out there, it will be as simple as plug and play. The MSRP for hField’s Wi-Fire long range Wi-Fi adapter is set at just 59 USD. Pretty good for a portable, long-range device that allows you to better connect to wireless hotspots outside of your bedroom window.
Netflix might be planning to bring its “Watch Instantly” feature to new devices soon. Currently built in to several products, like Sony HDTVs, and very popular on the Xbox 360, the feature lets subscribers watch any of thousands of movies in the Netflix library on their TVs. There are no physical discs; the videos stream via Web connection.
And according to Afterdawn.com, which quotes unnamed executives familiar with the situation, the Nintendo Wii and Apple’s iPhone platform are next on the list. The Wii is a fairly obvious choice as Nintendo has been pushing streaming or downloadable content since the console launched a year and a half ago.
But the iPhone is something else. Apple–likely at the behest of AT&T–has kept much streaming video from the iPhone. Afterdawn points out that the streaming would likely be via Wi-Fi, only to keep bandwidth on the already overloaded network down.
What’s interesting is the lack of mention of the Apple TV. Sure, the iPhone and iPod Touch are much more popular devices, but the Apple TV–which already features streaming media via YouTube and the iTunes Movie Store–seems like a much more natural choice. People want to watch the movies on their TVs.
Apple wants you to rent or buy from iTunes and has never been happy with an “all you can eat” subscription service. But if Netflix can convince Jobs and company that “Watch Instantly” will be OK on the iPhone, then it can argue the same for the Apple TV.