Nintendo Wii owners will find that there's a new update available for their console today - with the most visible change, once you've finished staring at the glacial progress bar, being that the Weather channel has now been activated.

The new channel is perhaps best described as basic but functional, giving high and low temperature extremes and a quick weather description for a large number of cities around the world, as well as a five-day forward forecast.

Perhaps the nicest feature is a 3D globe of the Earth, which you can spin around to view the weather in cities all around the world - although sadly, there's no way of doing clever things like viewing weather satellite data superimposed on the globe.

At present, the service appears to have some teething problems - late this morning it was still displaying a "Current" weather page for London which was timestamped at 3am this morning and claimed that the moon was shining brightly, for one thing. It's also somewhat patchy in its coverage - while most major towns in the UK have their own localised forecast, an attempt to check out the weather in the area of Ireland where I'll be spending Christmas revealed that only Dublin is covered, and even then there isn't a five day forecast for that city.

Still, it's up and running - and while more technical users will undoubtedly scoff, since there are of course much more detailed weather reports available online in various places, we can see how having a nice, simple and accessible weather forecast available from the living room TV will be useful for some people.

The only remaining Wii Channel which is viewable on the dashboard but hasn't been launched is the News channel - although given the sense of looming dread we have about that one, perhaps it's better if that remains a blank square simply saying "NEWS" for as long as possible...

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Rob Fahey

Rob Fahey

Contributing Editor

Rob Fahey is a former editor of GamesIndustry.biz who spent several years living in Japan and probably still has a mint condition Dreamcast Samba de Amigo set.

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