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iPlayer for Nintendo Wii Edit

On 9th April 2008, the BBC announced that a beta version of iPlayer for the Nintendo Wii was in late stages on development, with a beta version available immediately and a more polished version later in the year. It will appear within the Internet channel of the Wii's UI.

The Wii version is more of a tweak to the existing web version than the iPhone specific version is as the Wii Internet Channel is simply a version of the Opera Browser (version 9.00 upwards) The changes are as follows:

  • The server detects the browser User-Agent and adds a javascript flag "_WII = true" to the inline javascript on the programme view page
  • The javascript file iplayer_info.js uses this flag in a few places to determine the lifetime of the streamed media, but mostly just to fall back to a flash 7 compatible stream
  • The iPlayer client is loaded as normal with these variables.

The stream appears to use the RTMP protocol as with the normal browser client, as opposed to an HTTP connection which the iPhone uses and is in the lower quality Sorenson Spark codec as opposed to the ON2 VP6 codec used in later Flash versions. More technical information is on Anthony Rose's blog. (Also see how to use rtmpdump utility.)

The User-Agent used by the Production Nintendo Wii is:

Opera/9.10 (Nintendo Wii; U; ; 1621; en)
Alternative Wii Interface Edit

An unofficial alternative interface for browsing iPlayer on the Wii, named WiiPlayer, was released on May 28th. The interface is designed to overcome the usability problems that arise when using the standard iPlayer webpage on the small fixed width resolution of Wii Opera. WiiPlayer is optimised for standard definition TVs and styled for better integration with the existing Wii UI.

To use this interface point your Wii browser at: http://defaced.co.uk/wiiplayer/

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