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Setting up TVersity with your Wii

August 4, 2008

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:

http://rss.cnn.com/services/podcasting/studentnews/rss.xml

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.

TESTING

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!

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38 Comments leave one →
  1. August 5, 2008 10:51 am

    Since the guys from TVersity sent a pingback here, I just wanted to point to the “official” quickstart guide – which for some strange reason I didn’t read until JUST NOW! :) But better late than never:

    http://tversity.com/support/quickstart/

    For what its worth – I do not usually use the Wii as my media renderer, as I have several other dedicated solutions set up that work great and pre-dated the Wii. But I am VERY interested in using every bit of hardware I have for what it can do, and also for how to use the Wii in education, hence my posting of this guide.

  2. ScottM permalink
    October 4, 2008 1:42 pm

    Awesome. Just set it up and love it. Thank you for the simple to follow instructions.

  3. macke the swede permalink
    October 8, 2008 11:13 am

    haha, for me it crashed my wii, of course because i tried to play a huge 2 h movie i guess.

  4. October 10, 2008 3:38 am

    It works, but the quality is not so good

  5. Hortensia permalink
    October 16, 2008 4:00 pm

    I’m using TVzation player.

  6. October 17, 2008 12:45 pm

    Couple of things – don’t buy a Wii for this! But if you HAVE a Wii and internet channel, it is worth setting this up! Problems as endpoint are related to Wii, not TVersity necessarily AFAIK.

    I have several other endpoints, and quality is better on all of them than Wii. But, it is what it is.

    TVzation player is apples to oranges. I don’t want to watch obscure channels on a PC. My main use is for TVersity to aggregate video and audio podcasts and play them back on big screen for class or home. I’m not looking for “Free (as in beer) TV.” I am looking for a way of using my TV to display and help make podcast type content more consumable. And for this, it works, and works well. (As an audio player, and somewhat as a video player, and as an educational gaming platform as well – but that is a whole different story.)

  7. DaddyBurrito permalink
    October 27, 2008 1:50 pm

    I am interested in using Tversity with my Wii. I currently stream DVIX and XVID files directly to my XBOX 360 and love it. For those times when my wife wants to watch something different from what I am watching it would be nice if I could set the Wii up on another TV in the house and stream programming to it. I want to try this and see if it will work. Otherwise I may just end up spending another $300.00 on another XBOX 360.

  8. October 27, 2008 3:39 pm

    It’s so funny to me that this is such a popular post! But anyhow – DaddyBurrito – there are a couple of dedicated products out there that work well. I am still SD in my house, and I’ve had a D-Link DSM-320 purchased for under $100 3 years ago that works great as an endpoint w/ TVersity. I bought a Phillips Streamium SL400 a short time later for a different TV for like $125, but I don’t like it as much as the DSM320 for video, although it is great for audio (and has its own front panel display and buttons that the d-link doesn’t have.)
    I believe D-Link has a DSM520 that should be under $150 that works great for this and does HD.
    On the cheap, you might consider an old PC running GeeXboX – a live distro (you can run it from the CD) of a dedicated linux viewer. Works well if you have an old Pentium3 or better laying around with a drive and a video out card.
    Or, as you say, you could just blow a few hundred more on an XboX. :)
    All that said, my Wii does work with TVersity – but it is not my first choice of viewer. Nothing against TVersity, but the Wii is a little krunky.

  9. Chris permalink
    October 27, 2008 11:45 pm

    Hey i got the TVersity to register on my wii but it doesn’t show all my internet videos. it shows one youtube video but none of the filmhill.com’s or southparkstudios’. why is this can someone help?

  10. Nat permalink
    November 19, 2008 5:22 am

    Just having trouble setting up TVersity with my Wii. For some reason after initially setting up TVersity we were able to run the program through the Wii, but when trying to use it a second time it states a remote server error (error No. 240023) after loging into the internet channel and clicking on the TVersity icon. The URL typed in is correct (http://192.168.XX.XXX:41952/flashlib). I have double checked that the firewall allows TVersity to be used. Is anyone able to assist in fixing this

  11. November 19, 2008 6:15 pm

    Chris – try forum.tversity.com, but my guess is that you’ve added a feed, and the feed links to an HTML file, not a video file. TVersity has nothing to stream so it doesn’t show you anything.

    Nat – I’m not a TVersity developer. I just tried, and couldn’t replicate the problem. Strange it works the first time? Maybe UPnP is hosing up your router?

  12. Tom permalink
    November 19, 2008 11:35 pm

    I’m having the same trouble as Nat, but it has not worked for me in the first place. I was able to access TVersity from another computer on the network by entering the URL http://192.168.XX.XXX:41952, so I would think TVersity is set up properly. I can access other websites from the Wii easily enough. I’m stuck.

  13. November 20, 2008 5:00 pm

    I use orb.
    its the same thing, easier to set up

  14. e40 permalink
    December 10, 2008 11:48 am

    I tried to register on the forums, but I never got the email. Now, there is NO way to fix this, as it just says “that email is in use”. Cripes.

  15. 12vman permalink
    December 25, 2008 7:55 pm

    I already had Tversity setup & streaming to a DSM-510, but santa brought a Wii so I was just dying to try this out as an endpoint. Aside from downloading the internet channel, I had it up & running in under 5 minutes.

    It ain’t sexy, but it works.

  16. bobliseuk permalink
    January 1, 2009 4:35 pm

    I have been having a lot of dificulty watching some movies via Dlink DSM 320-rd. I have now got the videos going through Wii and the quality is much improved. Much better option

  17. bobliseuk permalink
    January 1, 2009 4:36 pm

    anyone want to buy a dlink dsm 320rd???

  18. Mark permalink
    January 7, 2009 4:17 pm

    Is there any reason why the video is reallllllly choppy??

    And any way to get it to go faster?

  19. slipp05 permalink
    January 24, 2009 4:43 am

    excellent ! Works great with vidpodcast. We don’t watch tv much cause it’s crap!!
    We got a Wii for Xmas and the fact you can use for other neat things is very cool.

    Great stuff Dan.

  20. joni permalink
    February 4, 2009 7:57 pm

    I try everything you said but I still cannot connect my wii to the tversity site. I have a laptop and a wireless netgear router. could someone please help me solve this problem

  21. Martin permalink
    February 9, 2009 5:00 pm

    All I have read is how good TVersity is ! But i cannot get the f—ing programme to work with my Philips TV so in my opinion its a load of old shit and wants putting in the F—ing bin with Microsoft Vista.

    Why can’t software writers write a simple to understand set up document which explains in laymans language what to do at each stage and what the f— ffwd is and how to set it up. Then just may be people like me could get the thing to work with my TV and make a donation to their cause/company.

  22. February 14, 2009 8:35 am

    it’s a great application. i fully agree that game consoles are not specificaly done on a limited purpose. it’s particular or major goal is to lure gamers but it is still a sort of an educational stuff that could be used for learnings just as long that it is used wisely. the interactivity wii possesses could certainly hone students to take part in interactive learning. There arfe various educational games availablie in different Wii downloads Sites too choose from so it’s not a shot-on-the-moon thing.

  23. Subversive permalink
    February 17, 2009 11:58 pm

    I set this up tonight, following the instructions on this blog. NIce little post, thanks. Couple issues.

    1) If I don’t include the /flashlib, I still get the library, but anything I try to play crashes my Wii.

    2) Including the /flashlib lets me play stuff, but the audio and video playback is so choppy, it’s basically unwatchable. Is this a funciton of the wireless, do you think? The PC I’m streaming from is pretty beefy, so I don’t think it’s processing power on that end that’s causing the issue.

    3) If I watch a video, then hit back to go to the menu again, I end up at the same Tversity page as if I go there without the /flashlib. So, I have to use the favourite I created and start at the top of the library again. Kind of annoying.

    Anyway, cool idea, but not terribly functional for me at this point.

  24. neowiiophyte permalink
    March 7, 2009 7:13 am

    If you understood Dan’s post, most of these questions would be for naught.

    1) The Wii can only play media files in certain containers- such as FLV (Flash Video Format).
    2) This can cause problems because the browser by Opera that the Wii uses is Flash 7, not the default standard Flash 9– and I think Flash is up to v10 by now.
    3) Because of #2, your server (whatever computer your media is on) must transcode (covert) your media files to FLV. That takes CPU time (processing power), you really need more than a 3.0GHz CPU.
    4) Because of #3, some issues are exacerbated. Most people do not stream full (non-compressed) video. They stream DivX, Xvid, MP4 etc… etc… Since these files are compressed (transcoded/converted) from their original source already, any further transcoding (to get the file playable and to the Wii) will degrade quality further.
    5) Because of #4, you need to do a few things. The Wii does 802.11b not g, b is fast enough to process (stream) internet, game data, pictures and music. It is at the threshold for adequate play of videos.
    6) Because of #4 and #5, if you want to stream video to your Wii (give it your best chance), you need to get a USB/Ethernet adapter for the Wii and use that instead of wireless. You’ll also need to stream uncompressed files like MP2 or VOB files for video. A ethernet connection will provide enough bandwidth, eliminating the wireless issues. Using uncompressed video that then get transcoded to the Wii should help video quality.

    But, Dan was right, until Nintendo fixes up some things, don’t get a Wii just for streaming. Hell, a used original XBox with XBMC will stream all but 720p/1080p files from your media server computer.

    I think Nintendo will come through, because the interface is made for channel surfing.

  25. March 10, 2009 7:02 am

    Ahh! Thanks so much for this, i have been using tveristy on my xbox but didnt know it worked for Wii! Thanks again!!

  26. April 23, 2009 5:57 pm

    Can anyone tell me if this uses up internet download bandwidth or just streams over your network? I have a 15GB download limit and don’t want to use it all up by streaming videos to my wii! Thanks!

  27. genewitch permalink
    April 24, 2009 8:12 pm

    WL:
    It doesn’t use the internet at all.
    Local Area Network only. the TVersity media server can host on the public internet as well, but you have to specifically tell it to, and open ports on your router. if you didn’t do that (you didn’t) – then you’re not using any internet bandwidth.

  28. genewitch permalink
    April 24, 2009 8:12 pm

    I have a softmodded wii so i am thinking of trying the MPlayer w/ FLV support that is part of the homebrew package to stream these videos. It should work WAY freaking better.

    I’ll let you know :-)

  29. October 10, 2009 6:05 am

    Found this bog through goggle worked for me first time, great for newbies as well thanks :-)

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