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Nintendo’s Wii game console gained some significant ground as a streaming video set-top box with the announcement of a new Hulu Plus channel launching today.
While the Wii does have a channel that allows you to browse the internet, Hulu’s main website is unavailable as is also true for the majority of mobile devices and set-top box web browsers. The new Hulu channel fixes that, provided that you sign up for the $7.99 monthly premium Hulu Plus service. The service provides early access to current TV shows from major networks (ABC, Viacom, NBC, Fox, CW) as well as additional video content not available to free-Hulu users. Wii owners can sign up for a two-week free trial of Hulu Plus, which is similar to promotions Hulu offers to owners of other devices supporting the official Hulu Plus app.
Along with Netflix, Hulu Plus is the second major streaming video service available on the Wii. Having both of those services could make the game console more attractive to people who’ve been itching to buy an inexpensive set-top box. At $149, the Wii is less expensive than a Boxee Box ($199) and a bit more than an Apple TV ($99). However, neither of those aforementioned set-top boxes have a Hulu Plus channel yet, nor do they offer the vast selection of video games available on the Wii.
In addition to the Wii channel, Hulu is also scheduled to launch on Nintendo’s 3DS handheld game device later this year.