The Wii Internet Channel, powered by Opera, officially goes live today. The channel had been available previously, but only in a Beta form.
The full browser will come with several updates, as SPOnG reported last month
. It will remain free, as the beta version was, until June 30th. Following that, the Opera browser will set you back 500 Wii points from the Shopping Channel.
According to Nintendo:
"The browser now features a manual zoom, in addition to the automatic mode available in the previous version, allowing more viewing flexibility. When zooming in and out, texts are kept crisp and readable at all sizes. The new version of the Internet Channel also features improved scrolling functionality, as well as collapsible toolbars and multiple onscreen cursors.
"Search functions have become an essential part of our everyday Internet experience, with many of us selecting a search engine as our home page. To reflect the impact of search functions on our browsing experience, the Internet Channel now features an inbuilt function allowing users to query terms without having to go to a search engine. Wii owners are given the choice of selecting either Yahoo! Search or Google as pre-selected search engines to power their inbuilt search button. The selection can be changed at any time. Users will also have the ability to easily access Nintendo, Yahoo!, Google and My Opera from pre-loaded bookmarks."
And then we come to the 'Family' functionality; with the Wii aimed at the sitting room of abodes filled with happy family units, the last thing Nintendo wants are garish news reports of pornographic images downloaded on the Wii by minors, therefore...
"The Wii System Menu also gives parents control over what their children view with Parental Control options. Users are able to set a password, which can be used to restrict access to the Internet Channel if desired. For users looking for even more protection, Nintendo is also including a bookmark in the Wii Browser for the Astaro Wii Content Filtering Portal. This is a parental control system solely provided on Wii by Astaro, a leading provider of Internet security appliances, which will be available from 7th May 2007. Here, users can try out and sign-up for Astaro?s world-class content filtering service on their Wii."
Astaro dubs itself ?the world?s leading provider of Unified Threat Management (UTM) appliances?. While the official release doesn't explain exactly how the (optional) portal works, it seems to be a fairly standard filter for URLs based on blacklists and content checking.
SPOnG can only assume that the Christian Right over at Porn Talk
got to Nintendo. Why else could they possibly want to restrict under-age access to illicit materials?