Nintendo launched the Wii U, its new home games console, in North America on Sunday (Nov. 18). Netflix and Hulu Plus are now both available through the Wii U, and both take advantage of the GamePad tablet controller to offer a second screen experience.
Netflix arrived on the Wii U on day one, with existing Netflix users able to access the app by signing in. Non-members are instead invited to sign up for a free trial.
The Netflix app on Wii U takes advantage of the GamePad, the tablet-style controller that is Nintendo’s big idea with this console. Information about whatever you’re watching shows up on both the television and the GamePad, while the latter acts as a remote control while content is being played on the TV.
By selecting the ‘Play on GamePad‘ option playback switches from the TV to the controller, which also supports 1080p video. In this way you can leave the room while continuing to watch whatever content was previously playing on the television.
It took a few extra days for Hulu Plus to launch on the Wii U, as the service was still being tested and fine-tuned until today.
As with Netflix, Hulu has utilized the second screen. While you’re scrolling and searching through the content on offer the GamePad will display extra information about the movies and television shows selected.
Switching from viewing on the TV to viewing on the GamePad is as simple as clicking the two screens in the bottom-right of the tablet’s display (as pictured above). Because this is the subscription-based Hulu Plus, Hulu is offering a free one-week trial for all non-members on the Wii U.
The current-gen games consoles have made a big impact on this market, allowing the mainstream public to access online television services in their living rooms. Nintendo lagged behind Sony and Microsoft in this sense, but the Wii U looks set to change that.
It’ll be interesting to see what the adoption rate for both Hulu Plus and Netflix is on the Wii U. And we have successors to the PS3 and Xbox 360, which will likely bring even more possibilities with them, to look forward to, probably in 2013.