Is Nintendo’s TVii a threat to Google TV?


While Google TV continues to be among the most popular, and arguably the best smart TV platform, it struggles to sell enough units to make it a success. Lately, it has taken a turn for the best, though. Especially after VIZIO released its popular Co-Star Google TV box, which has been struggling to stay in stock due to its highly attractive $100 price-point. The biggest competition for Google is Apple TV and other manufacturer smart TV offerings, but Nintendo has thrown us a curve ball with TVii.

TVii is a service slated to come packed in Nintendo’s next-gen console, the Wii U. It is not being touted as such, but it is a form of smart TV that will double as a gaming console. Mainly because its main purpose is to work along with live television and DVR’s. The Wii U controller will feature IR antennas able to communicate with TVs and DVRs, supporting “all major cable providers.”

Off the bat, the device will also feature services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video and Youtube. This, and all other features, makes it a form of smart TV platform, but is it enough to compete against our beloved Google TV?

Reach

A smart TV platform’s success is parallel with market share, and Nintendo definitely has what it takes to take this round. This is because Nintendo is throwing in TVii as a secondary service. The console’s main purpose is to be a gaming machine, and we know Nintendo will be selling many Wii U consoles. In fact, the first batch of pre-orders sold out within 2 days. There will definitely be more Wii U consoles living in consumers’ living rooms soon, very soon.

Once these consoles reach users’ doorsteps, it will be harder for them to be enticed to purchase a Google TV unit. Not to mention the fact that they would have users that probably weren’t even planning to get a smart TV experience at all.

Features

At a glance, the TVii ecosystem is perfect for the general consumer. It is simple and to the point. You simply set up your device with your TV and/or cable box or DVR and you are set. The interface looks very clean, as well as interactive. And you have the benefit of being able to use the controller’s screen for extra content.

We have to give this one to Google TV, though. This is because Google TV is based on Android and follows its philosophy. Ideally, you would be able to modify the experience to please your needs. Google TV has access to the Google Play Store, allowing users to download a plethora of apps. One can play games, download video, stream music, use social networking apps and take advantage of many other tools that allow you to take your smart TV experience to its limits.

Google TV offers an open environment, in which developers can unfold their creative nature. Nintendo works differently, we would have to depend on the company to make TVii a great service. And though it has great potential, we simply don’t know how far Nintendo will take TVii yet.

Content

In a way, TVii and Google TV will offer the same amount of content for the “general consumer.” It is enough to offer Netflix, Hulu Plus and live TV support to make most people happy. But we all wish for more, right?

If Nintendo’s TVii is to be successful, they will have to partner with as many video streaming companies as they can, and hopefully music streaming services too. Google TV allows any developer to simply create an application (or even web app) and offer its services. Once again, we will have to depend on Nintendo to cater services as they wish.

Over all, both platforms are pretty close in this department. But Google takes this one due to its open nature and ease of access to many streaming services. Though this could change as TVii evolves.

Conclusion

We know the Wii U will be a success, but only time will tell if TVii will prosper. Certainly, it has what it takes to be a great tool for most users. I will definitely have both systems in my living room, but based on what I have seen, I will mostly use the Wii U for gaming. Google TV will continue to carry my entertainment needs in all other forms.

That is for now, at least. We definitely see a lot of potential for Nintendo’s TVii, and things could turn around. But please do tell us what you think, whill you be ditching Google TV for TVii?