|TVii on the Wii U Gamepad (All rights reserved - Nintendo)
The Nintendo Wii U's TVii service has marked Dec. 20 as its North American launch date, offering access to Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video and Netflix, as well as Comcast and other cable and satellite providers.
While the Wii U sends live TV or video on demand to a TV screen, viewers can use the Wii U's GamePad as a second screen, posting to Facebook, Twitter, and the Wii U's own social network called the MiiVerse, or finding factoids, cast lists and reviews for whatever it is they're currently watching.
Integrated Netflix and TiVo support are expected to follow in early 2013.
The second screen functionality has also cropped up on Microsoft's Xbox 360 in the form of SmartGlass, which allows tablets and smartphones to connect and display complimentary information relating to games that are being played, music listened to, or films and TV being watched.
Both Microsoft and Sony PlayStation have been steadily augmented their current consoles with online media enhancements.
TVii represents Nintendo's take on things, and fits in with prevailing trends -- Forrester Research's latest State of Consumers and Technology paper concluded that younger generations are increasingly likely to connect their TV to the internet, with video game consoles the most popular conduit.
TVii was rolled out in Japan on December 8; the service is expected to arrived in some European regions in 2013.