Netflix inked a deal to make its movie streaming service available on Nintendo's Wii console this Spring. The service will be offered to existing Netflix members at no additional cost, Netflix plans start at $8.99 a month and the only thing you need to receive movie and TV show streams through your Wii is a free Netflix DVD and a broadband Internet connection.
There is one important limitation though, the Wii can't handle HD so the streams will be limited to 480p.
Nintendo's little-console-that-could is, for all its game-related kudos, strictly locked at 480p, the high-end spec for standard-definition TVs (sometimes called EDTV or "enhanced definition"). That amounts to just 640 by 480 (or 720 x 480, wide) lines of resolution in NTSC-based countries like the US. Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation, by comparison, run at 720p or 1080p, i.e. 1280 by 720 and 1920 x 1080 lines of resolution, respectively.
Ever watched a DVD video piped through a high-def 1080p television's S-video or Component connections? It's not pretty. A high-definition LCD TV runs natively at 1920 x 1080. It can display older SDTV feeds, but it has to interpolate, aka "stretch" the pixels. The result? Washed out, blurry imagery. In fact the video tends to look worse than it would were it run through an old-school tube TV.