Wii Internet Channel Now Free!

Nintendo backtrack on it's "Internet Channel" making the latest version free (again) and includes an updated version of Flash.

Nintendo has released a long-awaited update to the Internet Channel; best of all it's free again, just as it was when it was first released. To compensate those who may have purchased it a free NES game on the Virtual Console is being offered (apparently in October) which is the equivalent value of the Internet Channel selling price.

It's presently been confirmed as updated in Europe, but indications from the press release are that this is happening world-wide. If you already have it simply re-download it from the Wii Shop. Users should also be getting a message from Nintendo with details (don't forget to turn on Wii Connect 24 to get your Nintendo mail!). If you're a fan of BBC iPlayer via the Internet Channel some caution is advised as users in the Nintendo Life forum are reporting that the updated version of Flash is apparently incompatible with the BBC iPlayer -- hopefully Auntie will get that sorted pronto.

Whilst not all content is supported, there is greater online video support being reported than in past releases, though this update doesn't include desired features like cut-and-paste or tabbed browsing. It does come in at a smaller size as NL member invmat reports a block size of 218 now rather than the old 254 -- not too shabby!

Here is the full press release for your enjoyment:

Wii INTERNET CHANNEL NOW FREE!

1st September, 2009 – From today, anyone can now access the Wii Internet Channel for free*, allowing many more households to get online via their Wii.

By connecting Wii to the internet, you are opening your living room up to a world of possibilities! The Wii-specialised web browser enables people to connect wirelessly to the internet to surf the internet, do their internet shopping and even watch online catch-up TV services via their console.

The fast-booting internet browser will create a new relationship between the family, the TV, and the internet. This Channel uses the full internet browser from Opera Software, which also supports Adobe Flash.

Surfing the web with the Wii Remote is simple for the whole family. It lets you zoom in on areas of interest with ease and browse your favourite websites at leisure.

The Wii Internet Channel previously required 500 Wii Points. For those Wii owners who have already spent 500 Wii Points on the Wii Internet Channel, Nintendo will be offering a NES title from Virtual Console worth 500 Wii Points and will be launched in late October.

Further details on how to get the channel will be announced on the Wii Message Board and on the Nintendo website.

This update has been rolled out across the world, your Wii should be glowing blue right about now. For those web-developers who are interested in the new Flash runtime, we've been told it's running Flash Lite 3.1 which reports itself as a Flash 9 compatible player, meaning it should work with a lot more flash based websites.