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Wii U appeals to broader consumer base

It turns out that the upcoming Nintendo Wii U is going to have a few extra features on board when it releases on November 18. The system is finally equipped to play hardcore games, but we have word that the console, or specifically GamePad controller is also going to come in very handy when in the hands of non-gaming consumers as well.

Although not a brand new feature confirmed this week, we can tell you for those that are not aware yet, that the Wii U GamePad is going to double up as a universal, all-in-one TV remote. Using Infrared technology, you’ll be able to turn your TV on and off and control your TV just as you would with a standard manufacturer remote.

Nintendo has also added support for Cable TV boxes as well, meaning that you can now put away the collection of remotes lying on your coffee table, and just use the Wii U remote for both gaming and television viewing. Nintendo hasn’t made a big fuss about this either, but we think it is a great little extra thrown in there that hasn’t been discussed in detail yet.

As far as we’re aware, there is currently no way that the PS3 or Xbox 360 controllers can function as a universal TV and Cable remote either (excluding the likes of PlayTV and so on), so that is a nice little advantage that Nintendo has there for Wii U launch buyers. You may argue that the Wii U is for gaming and not TV purposes, but if the PS3 has acted like a generalized living room entertainment hub for years, why can’t the Wii U do the same?

Using the Wii U GamePad, you can also use the touchscreen to easily switch between TV and gaming with the touch of a finger. Let’s not forget the main focus for Nintendo here – aside from general TV support, Nintendo has properly included this nifty little feature so it works seamlessly with the TVii application.

This is going to provide Wii U users with access to the likes of Netflix, Hulu Plus and YouTube, so being able to navigate around these services on a touchscreen is going to be a lot more convenient than perhaps using a PS3 or Xbox 360 controller – Youtube navigation on the PS3 remains a painful task to this day. We would like to assume that trailer watching is possible on the GamePad, in a different room when the Wii U console is turned on in a separate room.

What are your thoughts on this semi-hidden feature on the Wii U – will you be putting away your collection of remotes to take full advantage of this?

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