Setting up TVersity with your Wii
Recently, a Plurk friend stated, “My husband came home with a Wii Points card. What should we get?” I replied – download the Internet Channel for 500pts, and then set up TVersity on a computer so you can play video/podcasts through your Wii!
To me, this sounds really simple, but I know that isn’t the case for everyone. So I’ll walk you through it a bit…
TVersity is a great piece of software! I’ve been a huge fan for more than 2 years now, and it was a shadow of its current self back then! Best of all, there is a great community around TVersity, and the developers participate with their users, constantly making it better.
WHAT IT DOES: TVersity started life cataloging audio, video and pictures on your computer, and serving them up to a remote box on your network via streaming. This was called UPnP A/V or DNLA. I have devices on my home network that plug into a TV on one end, and Ethernet on the other, and pull digital media from my server to the TV.
TVersity wanted to be more, and it began pulling content from the Internet, and relaying it to the endpoints. It was a first! You point TVersity at an online radio station, and play it on your TV. A short time later, TVersity added RSS feed support, transcoding (changing media from one format to another), XML skins and more.
With the 2008 releases, TVersity can now transcode flash video files, such as YouTube, and supply them to a Wii over the Internet channel.
For educators, there are many excellent audio and video podcasts out there such as CNN Student Daily, NASA and National Geographic. Additionally, feeds can be set up using keywords from sites like YouTube, or by userID in Flickr. Once TVersity downloads the media, it is available on demand from various players on your network, including the Wii, XboX360, computers or even cell phones.
For the purposes of this post, I’ll talk about setting TVersity up on Windows XP, and streaming to a Wii ~ a likely common configuration by those who might read this. Fortunately, its really easy to adapt to whatever your configuration is, if its different.
You will need a computer that is generally “on” most of the time. I was using a P3/655 for a while, but the faster the machine and the more memory, the better for on the fly transcoding. I’m currently using a P4/2GHz machine thrown away by someone else. It just sits and runs in a corner of my basement.
Download the TVersity package from www.tversity.com. It will ask to install itself, as well as install the codec pack. The codec pack allows your computer to play media types you may not have been able to support previously, like XviD (a popular MPEG4 encoder.) When the configuration wizard runs, you will grant permission to TVersity to cross your firewall and to search for content in your My Pictures, My Videos and My Music folders.
Assuming everything goes well, TVersity is now ready to serve content! The service will launch, and will begin building a media library on your computer. The first time it does this, it may take a while. It only needs to do this the first time.
LETS ADD A VIDEO PODCAST!
In the top left corner there is a + sign. If you click this, then click to the right of the word “folder” you can change the media type to Video RSS. Then, on the second line, enter:
On the third, give it a name you will recognize it by, like “CNN Student News” and hit submit.
TVersity will go to work, downloading the headers, and the first few items of the feed.
Hit start, All Programs, Accessories, and Command Prompt to open a window. Once you do so, type “ipconfig” and hit enter. You should see a line that says “IP address.” On your home network, this will probably be something like 192.168.0.100. Write that number down and substitute it in below. We’re going to point the Wii at it next.
Now on the Wii, assuming you have Internet channel already installed, visit http://192.168.0.100:41952/flashlib
It is extremely important that you include the http:// and the :41952/flashlib when putting in the URL! And of course, if your IP address was something other than 192.168.0.100 you need to make sure that is correct as well.
You should now be able to view any media indexed by TVersity from your Wii!
You can leave the “flashlib” off if you’re accessing TVersity from another computer. UPnP AV devices should automatically “find” TVersity on your network, and most all firewalls should block any traffic from entering or leaving your network.
There is a LOT of stuff this software can do – but you might want to just play with it for a while before changing settings. You can set it up to VPN outside of your home, so you can access your media when you’re away. You can share your RSS feeds with other users of your choosing. There is also a great support community online for TVersity at http://forums.tversity.com and an associated wiki.
But best of all, you can now listen to your favorite EdTech podcasts and videocasts over your home entertainment system. And that is just plain cool!
EDIT: A couple of notes. The machine running TVersity has to be fast enough to transcode to flash. Doesn’t take a lot, but you may run into problems there. Also, larger video files and some audio files result in the Wii running out of memory. Until Nintendo releases new firmware that addresses memory use and Flash 9, things won’t work perfectly. So don’t buy a Wii just to watch podcasts – but for $5 for the Internet channel, this is a pretty cool solution!