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People Breaking HDTVs With Nintendo Wii  Print E-mail
Home Theater News Industry-Trade News
Written by Bryan Dailey   
Wednesday, 06 December 2006


Prices on HD sets are falling at a tremendous rate. Plasmas, LCDs and rear projection sets are coming down to prices that have even families with modest incomes considering upgrading to HD. But what is it that finally knocks someone off the fence to buck up and get a new TV? Is it 1080p? There are only a few sources that are native 1080p such as the Samsung and Panasonic Blu-ray players, the impossible to find Sony Playstation 3 and the upcoming next generation top-of-the-line Toshiba HD DVD player. More and more people are deciding they want to upgrade their TVs to get on the 1080p bandwagon, however there is a bizarre phenomenon happening that could have more people heading to the store for a new HDTV in 2007 than ever before. Ironically, it’s Nintendo’s non-HD based video game system called the Wii that could be responsible for more new TV sales than 1080p inputs, improved contrast ratios or dynamic gamma control.



The 480p resolution Wii doesn’t have the most revolutionary graphics on the market but their new controller system has been the talk of the gaming world. The revolutionary “Wiimote” Control and nunchuck attachment mimics the arm, wrist, and hand movements of the player and makes the character on screen react accordingly. Playing golf? The player holds the remote and swings it like a golf club and the golfer on-screen does the same. Want to play bowling on the Wii? The player swings his or her arm back and then forwards as if really bowling; releasing the B button at the time the player on screen is to release the bowling ball.

It sounds like a great concept and in theory, it is. Thanks to Wii, playing video games is becoming less of a couch potato past time as kids and kids-at-heart and getting their butts up off the couch are getting physical activity while gaming. The problem is that heated games of Wii sports tennis, bowling, baseball and golf as well as the sword fighting scenes in the new Zelda game are leaving a smoldering pile of broken and cracked TVs, media storage cabinets, receivers, windows and other household items in their wake.

The wireless, Bluetooth based Wiimote which looks like a white television remote control comes with a wrist strap that the player loops around their hand to prevent it from flying across the room during Wii game play if accidentally dropped. Only a few weeks after the November 19, 2006 release of this system, there are already hundreds or reports of careless Wii gamers accidentally letting go of the Wii remote, only to find it careening across the room, ripping holes in the soft screen material of rear projection sets, killing pixels of direct view LCDs and plasmas and cracking the glass of a traditional CRT sets.

From the photos online, it seems as if the wrist strap is quite thin and a powerful move like a serve in Wii Tennis by a strong player with sweaty hands can easily cause the stock wrist strap to snap. Home theater/gaming enthusiasts who have ceiling or wall mounted projectors won’t run the same risk of destroying their TVs with overzealous Wii playing however with a hard enough throw, the Wiimote could even rip through the fabric of a projector screen.

Many tales of Wii woe can be seen at the hilarious but tragic website www.WiiHaveAProblem.com. Some gamers have smacked their hands accidentally on coffee tables, the backs of couches and sometimes their friends or family members, causing broken Wii remotes (at $39.99 each if you can find them in stock), cut hands, bruises and other forms of body and property injury.

The Wii displays a caution screen upon loading a game to warn the player to use the strap in order to avoid the remote slipping from the player's hand during erratic movements. Nintendo has released an official caution on using the Wiimote properly with the wristband. “Do not let go of the remote during game play. For example, in a game like Wii Sports Bowling, the ball is thrown by simply releasing the B Button on the remote, not by letting go of the remote!”

The Wii system only costs $250 and is more readily available than the much pricier Sony PS3 however if you have a bad habit of Wiimote throwing, the PS3 may seem like a bargain if you have to buy a new big-screen TV set every few months (or weeks) due to puncture wounds on the screen.

Surely a progressive company like Nintendo is following the buzz on the Internet about upset gamers who now have to head down to the local electronics store to pick up a new TV set. I won’t be surprised if new, more reinforced aftermarket wrist straps hit stores soon and perhaps even a lexan shield that can be placed over the screen.

If you decide to pick up a Wii this holiday season and want to find a way to talk your significant other into upgrading your TV and talk of 1080p, better edge enhancement and deeper blacks isn’t getting the job done, perhaps a Wiimote control wedged in the picture tube will do the trick.

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