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Wii video service kicks off on May 1

Service to offer much more than just video downloads.

 
An image of the Wii no Ma Channel.

Nintendo shared final details today on its "Wii no Ma" video download service. The service will kick off on May 1 as a new entry in Nintendo's growing lineup of Wii channels, downloadable for free from the Wii Shopping Channel.

As detailed in late December, the Wii no Ma Channel is a join project between Nintendo and media giant Dentsu. The service promises to offer programming targeting a variety of users. Nintendo is handling development and management for the service with Dentsu negotiating with various content companies for original video content.

There's more to the service than just video downloads, though, as revealed at the special Wii.com page Nintendo opened up today.

The service appears to be more of a virtual living room for your family. Users are able to register up to eight Miis, who then exist in a virtual living room, where time time flows in real time. From the virtual room, users can access the various areas of the service.

Clicking on the television opens up the video download service. Programming can be viewed by recommended and recent arrivals, and can also be search via key words. Nintendo has yet to provide a list of programs.

Clicking on a plastic plant takes you to a space for partner companies. This area offers promotional videos for products. Users will also be able to obtain product samples, delivered to a pre-registered address.

The service also offers a calendar, with daily image and text content.

Nintendo will be teaming up with celebrities to have guest "concierges" visit your virtual space, introducing special programming. These visits can be re-accessed in the future by selecting a message board option from your space.

The service will link up to the DSi. Owners of the portable will be able to download programming to their DSi for viewing on the go. The DSi will also be able to take delivery of virtual coupons from partner companies. These coupons will be usable immediately at retailers.

DSi owners hoping to connect to the Wii no Ma Channel will need to download a free DSi program called "Dokodemo Wii no Ma" ("Anywhere Wii no Ma") from the DSi Shop. The download will be available on May 1.

The Wii.com page offers up a few videos introducing the service:

Nintendo notes that the video content will at first be limited, but that Nintendo plans on increasing output gradually.

In addition to the lack of specific programming information, Nintendo's update made no mention of pricing. In a report prior to Nintendo's December 26 announcement, Nikkei stated that the service would offer a mix of free and paid programming, with the free programming supported by advertising. Optional paid services were being looked into to start in the summer, Nintendo later confirmed.

Nintendo also confirmed in its December announcement plans to take the service to overseas markets.

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