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The Internet Channel is a version of the Opera 9 web browser for use on the Wii by Opera Software and Nintendo. Opera Software also implemented the Nintendo DS Browser for Nintendo's handheld system.

Internet Channel uses an internet connection (set in the Wii Settings) to retrieve pages directly from a web site's HTTP or HTTPS server, not through a network of proxy servers as in Opera Mini products. Internet Channel is capable of rendering most web sites in the same manner as its desktop counterpart by using Opera's Medium Screen Rendering technology. It is capable of rendering videos on YouTube.

HistoryEdit

On May 10, 2006, the Opera Software company announced plans to develop a web browser for the Wii.

Trial versionEdit

A trial version of the Internet Channel was released in December 2006, and a full version followed in April 2007. While in the beta stages of the development, this version of the Opera web browser implements some of the most Similar to other web browsers, the trial version has a "Favorites" system to allow users to bookmark sites. The Favorites page can be accessed either by pressing the '1' button on the Wii Remote or the on-screen button which has a star symbol. Favorites can be added, deleted and edited from the Favorites page. The browser displays a thumbnail image of each bookmarked site.

The functionality of the trial version was limited in some respects. Web addresses could only be entered on the home page and there was no browsing history (only the basic back/forward system for accessing previous pages). The browser had a difficult time handling hyperlinks that would normally open a new window via Javascript. There were no user-configurable settings such as custom home pages (the browser has a default splash page), preferences for cookies, or parental control features (although the Internet Channel can be locked out entirely via parental control configured from the Wii menu), and there was no way to hide or "auto-hide" the navigation bar. Also, the total number of favorites a user could save was limited to 21 URLs.

Release versionEdit

The full version of the Internet Channel was released in April 2007. It was available as a free upgrade to owners of the trial version, but if the trial version had not been previously downloaded, Nintendo charged 500 Wii points on July 1, 2007 to September 1, 2009.

Before the release of Opera 9.5, the Internet Channel's layout engine was actually more advanced than Opera for desktops, as it included bug fixes that were not available in the desktop edition prior to version 9.5.

USB Keyboard support addedEdit

USB Keyboard support was added in an Internet Channel update on October 10, 2007. In addition launch time was reduced. Increased the number of favorites to be saved to 56 and gave the ability to send Favorites to people in the Wii's Address Book. It added the ability to highlight words on a Web page and copy it to the "Search" function and the ability to type longer messages without the virtual keyboard lagging. The pricing remained the same as the release version. 500 Wii points to initially download, free to update any previous version.

Flash Lite implementationEdit

On September 1, 2009, the Internet Channel was updated and made available for free. Users who downloaded it when it cost 500 Wii Points are to be compensated with a free Nintendo Entertainment System game download of their choice from the Virtual Console, worth 500 Wii Points, between October 1 and December 31, 2009. In addition it updated Flash Player to Adobe Flash Lite 3.1 which corresponds to a full implementation of Adobe Flash version 8 with certain features of Flash 9.[8]

FeaturesEdit

The Opera-based Wii browser allows users full access to the Web and supports all the same web standards that are included in the desktop versions of Opera, including CSS and JavaScript. Like Opera 9, the Internet Channel fully passes the Acid2 web browser test. It is also possible for the browser to use technologies such as Ajax, RSS, and Adobe Flash. Opera Software has indicated that the functionality will allow for third parties to create web applications specifically designed for the use on the Wii Browser. The company has also stated that some Wii video games may implement the use of the browser. Due to certain limitations with Wii's hardware, the browser cannot support any language characters except for Latin, Cyrillic, Japanese, and Chinese.[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Citation_needed ]

Opera Software designed the Wii browser to suit a "living room environment"; in contrast to the appearance of the Opera web browser on computer monitors, fonts are larger and the interface is simplified for easier use, similar to the style employed for MSN TV. Currently the user can zoom in on a detail on a web page, with animated transitions. Users are also able to insert a USB keyboard into the Wii system for text input. This functionality was added in a Wii system update and Internet Channel update (downloaded from the Wii Shop Channel) on October 10, 2007.

As the browser supports Flash, users have the ability to interact with Flash-based software using the Wii Remote. As a result, several websites have been created or expanded to gather Wii-friendly Internet games. Windows Media Player and Real Video content at this point are incompatible with the Internet Channel. The Internet Channel also supports Wii Remote button shortcuts that allows access to Favorites, Refresh, Back, Forward, Stop, Search, and Enter web page. The shortcuts are: Favourites: B+down, Search: B+left, WWW: B+right, Refresh: B+up, Back: B+minus, Forward(but not Fast Forward): B+plus.

Third-party web applicationsEdit

Third party APIs and SDKs have been released that allow developers to read the values of the Wii Remote buttons in both Flash and Javascript. This allows for software that previously required keyboard controls to be converted for use with the Wii Remote.

The browser was also used to stream BBC iPlayer videos from April 9, 2008 after an exclusive deal was made with Nintendo UK and the BBC to offer their catch-up service for the Wii. However, the September 2009 update caused the iPlayer to no longer operate. The BBC acknowledged the issue and created a dedicated channel instead.

In June 2009, YouTube released YouTube XL, a Wii-friendly version of the popular video-sharing website. The regular page will redirect you to the page if you are on a Wii.

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