The Wii interface revolves around the concept of Channels, similar to the way Windows revolves around, well, windows. Channels offer many ways to use the Wii system to get and enjoy games, but goes far beyond gaming.
The Disc Channel is one of the most basic. It provides a way to use Wii discs that hold games. It's also backwards compatible with the Nintendo GameCube, so those who have used that system can enjoy their Wii and still take advantage of all that hard-earned knowledge and software from the Wii predecessor.
The Wii Shop is one of the primary gateways to much, much more. Through it, Wii users can acquire all kinds of great software and accessories from Nintendo. Far from a mere marketing tool - though, hey, Nintendo wants to earn revenue, sure - it is a portal that opens up thousands of new possibilities.
One of those possibilities is the Internet Channel. It provides a mechanism to download a version of the Opera 9 browser and use the Wii system to navigate the World Wide Web. Working in conjunction with the Wiimote, users can point-and-click, zoom, and more to access everything the Internet offers with a secure and easy-to-use browser. Using the TV as an Internet monitor has been a goal of gaming and computer enthusiasts for a long time, and now it has arrived.
Many more options open up via the Virtual Console, another channel. This one provides dozens of legacy games that can be used with the Classic Controller, the GameCube Controller, and others. For long-time gamers who remember Nintendo 64 and more - or new ones who want to explore what gaming has offered all these years - it's a cornucopia of game delights.
The Mii Channel will delight many gamers, young and old. These Nintendo characters extend your gaming fun. They can play a role in dozens of Wii adventures. They can be tailored and kids will find no end of ways to do so.
There are channels for grown-ups, too. The Everybody Votes Channel houses many national polls that give you a chance to have your views counted. The News Channel provides one way to get informed so you can vote wisely. The Wii Message Board let's you exchange messages to influence friends and family, or just let them know what you're up to.
When you do, you might want to use the Photo Channel to grab some images out of email or off the SD card inserted in the Wii to display on your TV. Using Wii Internet you can share them via any Internet-based email system.
The Forecast Channel adds one more dimension to explore the world of Wii and beyond. This service provides automatically updated weather reports from around the globe. So, if you're playing a Wii game with a friend overseas, you can each share what the world is like in your neighborhood.
The Wii system offers much more than gaming, as central as that is to the whole experience. Explore some of them using Wii Channels.