So does the Wii have an HDMI port or not? The answer may surprise you, the answer being, “No, it doesn’t.” This widely popular game console that took the world by storm has popularized amazing innovations like the most sophisticated motion controls possible for its time. Yet somehow simple HDMI connectivity isn’t one of the things included with the system. Meanwhile, the PS3 and (some later versions of) Xbox 360 have HDMI but the Wii doesn’t. Funny how that works.
Sure, it’s quite ironic to see the innovative Nintendo Wii seem so out-of-date but regardless, there are ways around this dilemma in case you want to play a hearty game of Wii Sports with the rest of your family on your flatscreen HDTV.
Connecting the Wii to an HDMI Display
HDTVs tend to have AV cable and HDMI support, but the Wii is limited to component cable connections and a decisive lack of anything HDMI-related. Here’s how you can go about fixing that so that you can play the Wii in HD.
- A Native Resolution of 480p and No 1080p Output: Come to think of it, why did the innovative and high-selling Wii not have HDMI in the first place? Why did it not at least incorporate some other HD format like Digital Visual Interface from 1999 (plus a separate audio output) or DisplayPort from 2006 (the same year that the Wii came out)? This is because it has a native 480p output that’s about standard definition. It wasn’t meant to work with HDTVs and its 1080p resolutions. It works fine with CRTs and even more advanced flatscreens of the era as long as they have AV or component ports.
- HDMI Is Made for High-Definition Anything: Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 games all rely on cutting-edge polygonal graphics rendered in gorgeous detail and 60 Fps motion. Therefore, it’s only natural that they run on HD resolution as well that requires a 1080p HDMI connection output. HDMI refers to High-Definition Multimedia Interface. It’s the present standard for display monitor connections to AV components. Back in the Wii Generation of consoles, people were still using CRT TVs and monitors and component connections were capable of HD resolutions. Simply put, Wii was more concerned about innovating motion controls and less concerned about futureproofing its resolution specs.
- Component Cables and an HDTV with Component Ports: The simplest way to link your Wii to your flatscreen or non-CRT TV is finding one with a component port to allow the Wii to connect to it through its component cables. Otherwise, you’ll need a component to HDMI adapter to allow your HDTV to work with the Nintendo Wii and its motion-control-based games that bring fun and excitement to the whole family, not just hardcore gamers. Ironically, the Wii is more backward compatible with pre-1990s equipment than other consoles in its generation due to its 480p standard definition resolution.
- Component Cables Are Dirt Cheap Like HDMI Cables: You can get component cables made specifically for use with the Wii for as cheap as $5 or at least under $10. HDMI cables are a little more expensive but not by much since the HDMI system is the gold standard for the 2010s when it comes to home theaters and AV connections. Depending on your TV, it might have multiple HDMI ports but at least have one set of inputs for a component connection. Your Wii should be able to connect to the input jacks at the side or back of your TV. It’s about five inputs—two for audio and three for video.
- Make that Wii to HDMI Connection Using Component Cables: In order to connect your Nintendo Wii to an HDMI display like an HDTV, a flatscreen HD monitor, or a modern-day projector with an HDMI port, you need an HDMI adapter for component connections. Afterward, simply connect to your Wii its component cables that go into the same port as the regular AV cables that come with the system. The component works well with AV ports. From there, connect the red, blue, and green ends of the component cable to the HDMI adapter.
- The HDMI Adapter Is a Link To The Past and Future: The HDMI adapter allows the component cables to connect with the HDTV lacking component ports. Use the HDMI cable to connect the TV to the adapter while the adapter connects to the component cables of the Wii. The cable should insert the HDMI output port on the adapter then on the HDMI input port of your HDTV. The adapter is also responsible in converting the HDMI signals into component signals without any significant loss of graphical crispness and the high frame rate that the Wii is known for despite its standard-definition 480p resolution.
- The Order of Turning On The Systems: Don’t just turn on the systems at random. You should first turn on the HDMI adapter. Many of these devices require a DC power supply in order to operate properly. From there, turn on your HDTV and put in the correct channel for your HDMI video input. This is especially important if your TV has two or more HDMI ports from behind it, necessitating you to program which one it’s supposed to recognize. Now you can turn on the Wii itself. Your Nintendo console can now be played through the HDMI port at an upscaled 480p resolution.
- The Wii’s Maximum Resolution and Tips: Although it seems like you’ve converted the video coming from your Wii from standard definition to high definition, this isn’t really the case. It’s upscaled or blown up to fit the screen or at least part of it if it’s in widescreen. It’s still SD but made to fit HD. This is because the Wii cannot put out anything higher than that since Nintendo spent its budget developing the motion controls of the party game console instead. You can find adapters at most online shops and electronic stores. The component cables are even cheaper than HDMI ones, which are cheap, to begin with.
- More About Upscaling and Adapter Shopping: As you go about shopping for the right HDMI converter, it’s important to remember to go with component instead of standard AV. AV is a generic term covering various plugs from S-Video to RCA as well as component and digital video. However, in the context of converters, this means downscaling your Wii to a standard-definition display that looks terrible on your HDTV. Or it might not even work because it’s instead an adapter for HDMI device sources for legacy displays like CRT TVs, not the other way around. Specifically, search for an HDMI 1080p Output Scaling Converter to get that upscaled resolution on your 480p Wii game.
- The Wii HDMI Dongle for Straightforward Connections: You can, in fact, skip all of the steps outlined above and connect your Nintendo Wii to your HDTV like a standard HDMI AV source with the help of what’s known as the Wii HDMI dongle. This adapter connects like a component cable on one end then converts into an HDMI dongle on the other end. Using it is as simple as connecting one end to the other. So why isn’t this the first featured solution on this article? It’s because it’s exorbitantly expensive. It was made for non-tech-savvy users with money to burn.
- Use a Wii-U Instead of a Wii with Your HDTV: Use your backward-compatible Wii-U to play your Wii games in full HD. The Wii-U came just in time in 2012 with updated motion controls and a controller that looked like a second touchscreen that can double as a video game console all of its own bundled with the system. It’s basically the Wii but better, which ironically made it tank in terms of sales, selling only 13.56 million units. Regardless, the Wii-U will automatically upscale your Wii games to HD through its own HDMI input without the use of a converter or HDMI dongle.
- When All Else Fails Just Use Your Old TV: Your Wii was made to work on AV connection SD television sets from the late 1990s to the mid-2000s for good reason. It wasn’t developed with High-Definition Televisions at all. It wasn’t until the Wii-U came along in 2012 or a whole 6 years later that Nintendo started shifting formats and standardizing the use of HDTVs with its systems. It might be best to let sleeping dogs lie and play your Wii with your standard non-HD CRT TV or flatscreen with AV inputs.
To Sum It All Up
The Nintendo Wii—a best-selling game console made by Nintendo that sold 101 million units, thus allowing it to stay afloat against the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 generation of consoles—does not have an HDMI port. Even though Sony’s PlayStation 2 remains the number 1 best-selling game console of all time with 155 million units sold, the Wii still outsold the PS3, all without the need of an HDMI connection. Many families switching from CRT to 70-inch flatscreen HDTVs are surprised to learn that their Wii cannot connect to any HDMI television.
In order to connect your Wii to an HDTV, you’ll need either component cables for televisions that still have a port for that or use a component to HDMI converter in order to allow your Wii to play on your flatscreen. Just remember that it will still remain 480p in resolution regardless of the transmission conversion.