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Orb brings iTunes to Wii console

Convergence on the cheap

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Demonstrating that you can do convergence on a budget, Orb claims that Nintendo Wii owners have downloaded 50,000 copies of its software that permits them to access their home music and photo collections on their games consoles.

A Swedish Wii owner took advantage of the console's built-in Opera browser and Wi-Fi to tap into his PC's media collection shortly before Christmas. The Wii remote can then be used to show photos and browse iTunes playlists on the TV.

Getting your stuff from a computer to a TV set has defied some of the biggest companies in the business. Games rivals Sony and Microsoft have spent billions - the figure probably tops $10bn - developing expensive console hardware to support ambitious "convergence" strategies this decade. But with a simple (and quite legitimate) hack, Nintendo has beaten them to it with cheap hardware, and no apparent strategy at all.

The irony wasn't lost on one Digg poster, who wrote:

"How cool that it'd be Nintendo - the only one of the Big Three WITHOUT much-hyped aspirations to provide a console that'd go beyond gaming and become the mythical Digital Hub for the TV - who would deliver on that vision first."

Orb simply provides the bridge software, which runs on a network-connected Windows PC and a free user account. The company blessed the hack on 5 January.

In November, 3G operator 3 included Orb and Sling Media in its aggressive flat-rate X-Series tariff, although both are only available in the "Gold" offering, which is £45 a month for an 18 month contract (first nine months are half price), or £10 a month to existing 3 customers. ®

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