The Wii console is a great video games system, but adding a few extra pieces of kit will turn your Wii system into the ultimate entertainment experience.
Here are 4 key items that will take your Wii console to the next level...
Although the Wii doesn't have High Definition (HD) capability, its graphics are still great to look at. Even though there's no HD, you can dial up the quality of the Wii's graphics a few notches by connecting your console to a High Def television.< When looking for a HD TV, the ones to look at are the newer 1080 pixel High Definition TVs. These 1080 TVs are marketed as "true HD", and offer the best picture quality for watching TV shows, DVDs and playing video games. Although the original HD TVs in the US only offered a resolution of 720 pixels, 1080 pixel HD has been around Europe for a few years already. If these numbers sound confusing, the most important thing to note is that the higher the number, the better the picture quality. Another important part of buying a HD TV is choosing the right size TV set. HD TVs come in different sizes, from 19 inches to 112 inches. The size of the TV you buy is determined by the size of the room you're putting it in. Talk to an expert at your local electronics store. They'll be able to recommend the right TV size for you. No matter what size TV you buy though, hooking up your Wii to a 1080 High Def TV will absolutely take your Wii's graphics to the next level.
You'll notice a dramatic difference in the Wii's graphics when you plug it into a High Definition TV, but you can still squeeze a little bit more out of the graphics by using a Wii Component Cable. The Wii system comes with a standard audio visual (AV) cable packaged in the box. This standard AV cable has a single video cable to carry the Wii's picture signal to your TV. A picture signal is made up of 3 different colours - red, green and blue. These colour signals travel to your TV and combine to make up a full colour picture. With the standard Wii AV cable, all 3 colour signals have to fight to travel through the single video cable. This causes a loss of picture quality as the colours battle their way through to the other end. The Wii Component Cable, though, has 3 separate video cables. Each cable carries its own colour signal from the Wii console to your TV. This means that the signals don't have to fight to get to the other end of the cable, and results in a higher quality picture on your TV compared to the standard AV cable. The Wii Component Cable is relatively cheap. You can buy either the original Nintendo Wii Component Cable or one of the good quality 3rd party cables, which are usually a little cheaper than Nintendo's version.
Home theatre and surround sound systems have become really popular over the last few years. Most home theatre systems come with 5 speakers placed around the room, and a sub-woofer speaker on the floor for pumping out the bass. These home theatre/surround sound systems are commonly known as 5.1 surround sound. Most CDs and DVDs are created with 5.1 surround sound programmed into them. So when you play a CD or DVD on a 5.1 home theatre system, the sound is programmed to come out of all 6 speakers to create the perfect cinema experience. The Wii system doesn't have 5.1 surround sound programmed directly into it. Instead, the Wii has a technology called Dolby Pro Logic II. Dolby Pro Logic II directs the Wii's sound to all the speakers around the room, as if 5.1 surround sound was actually programmed into the Wii's games. To use the Wii's surround sound features, you'll need a home theatre/surround sound system with a Dolby Pro Logic II setting. Most modern home theatre systems have Dolby Pro Logic II as standard, and this shouldn't be too hard to find. Hooking up your Wii to a surround sound system creates a cinema-like experience. The sound from the Wii's games immerses you as it plays around the room, giving you an even greater feeling of being "in the game".
The Wii Internet Channel is a web browser designed specifically for the Wii console. With the Wii Internet Channel you can surf all of your favourite websites directly on your Wii. Unfortunately, the Wii Internet Channel doesn't come loaded onto the console, and you'll need to download it from the Wii Shop. It costs 500 points to download but used smartly the Wii Internet Channel will boost your Wii's functionality! The Wii can't play music CDs, and putting MP3s onto a SD card can be a bit of a mission. With the Wii Internet Channel you can stream your favourite internet radio stations like Last.fm and Pandora. Type in your favourite artists and listen to the music you want to listen to. You can even watch YouTube videos on the Wii Internet Channel. Nintendo and YouTube have a created a website especially for the Wii. It's free and fun to use on the Wii Internet Channel. Download the Wii Internet Channel and get even more from your Wii!
The Wii console is a great games system, but a few extra pieces of gear will help create the ultimate entertainment experience. You don't need to break the bank to get this experience either. The prices of HD TVs and home theatre systems are coming down all the time, and you can get a good system at an affordable price. Shop around for prices and ask the experts in your local electronics store for advice on the best televisions and sound systems in your price range. Putting together that perfect Wii system really is an investment worth making.