Update2: I talked with Nintendo today. Very friendly customer support. The customer service dude asked if I had another TV to hook it up to. Uh, no, only one 1080p, component video capable, monitor in the house. He also asked if I had tried the regular video cables as it might be a scaling issue. Nope — but I have a number of other video sources that are scaled to the same or greater degree without problem. That was that — shipping label on the way. Clearly, this is not an uncommon problem. Nintendo will cross ship if you don’t have data on the box. If you do, it needs to be shipped in to have the data transferred from the old machine to the new, presumably so that Nintendo can activate the data & games on the new box.
Update: Consensus indicates that this is a hardware issue with my Wii. Furthermore, it seems to be a not terribly uncommon failure mode. I’ll get in touch with Nintendo and update this post when I get a response. For now, Paper Mario has my attention– what an awesome game!
Our Wii is connected to a 46″ Sony Bravia XBR-B2 TV (which, btw, runs Linux internally). We picked up this particular TV because it makes an absolutely gorgeous monitor for a Mac Mini (which does a decent job of scaling– not up-converting or re-sampling or whatever, as far as I know — DVDs) and, in theory, for the Wii. That, and it has a zillion inputs, including a couple of S-Video, a composite video (remember those?), and an HDMI with separate audio input.
While I haven’t [yet] experienced the black outs during Zelda or the Wii Console interface, I do see a lot of noise in the image. It is almost like the textures aren’t quite connected correctly and a handful of pixels here and there are all washed out. In Zelda, nothing is sharp and the colors are all washed out.
In the screenshot to the left, you can see a vertical column of dots in between the YES and NO buttons. This is pervasive throughout most of the standard UI presentations on the Wii.
But I think it is a software issue. Why? Because game cube games are so frighteningly bright, sharp and flawlessly displayed at 480p that I’m tempted to wear sunglasses (actually, turn down the brightness on the display). Seriously. Game cube games are just flat out gorgeous. I’m sure I could have the same experience with the game cube itself if I were to grab a set of component cables for it. After all, the Wii is just a souped up game cube with a lot of networking and wireless features tacked on.
I hope that Nintendo will eventually release a software update to fix the blown pixels in the main console UI. It is unfortunate that Zelda will never be updated, but the game is so great that the visual artifacts are more annoying that a total joy killer. To the right is a screenshot of general game play (opening credits, in this case). Here is a closeup of some dot trash in part of a castle wall.
Actually, it appears that one of the most recent software updates has made the problem less prevalent in standard UI components. It may also simply be because it added a channel to the main display, thus causing a slightly layout change. Zelda isn’t any better, which isn’t terribly surprising. I do wonder if Nintendo has a mechanism for providing patches for games on disc?