Digital tuner boosts Nintendo sales


TOKYO -- A digital TV tuner attachment for Nintendo's portable DS console sold out through online pre-orders, the company said Wednesday, as it fights to keep ahead of a resurgent Sony heading into the winter holiday season.

The "one-seg" tuner, which allows free access to Japan's terrestrial digital broadcasts, is being sold only through the company's Web site.

"We started taking pre-orders on Nov. 8 and the whole batch of tuners we'd prepared sold out in a couple of days. We got more stock ready for the launch on Nov. 20 but they've gone too. We are trying to get more ready for next week," said Yasuhiro Minagawa from Nintendo's Kyoto head office.

"We didn't expect so much interest as the product hadn't been heavily publicized, but after a couple of TV programs covered the tuner, we had so many hits that it caused technical problems on the site," Minagawa said.

Despite the hype surrounding the company's Wii, the DS remains the best-selling console in Japan, shifting twice as many units as the newer machine on the latest weekly sales charts.

Those charts also show a resurgent Sony, which recently launched a "one-seg" tuner for the PSP and a slimmed-down PS3, pushing the Wii into fourth place for the first time since its launch.

When the PSP topped the sales charts for the first time and outsold the DS in September, many thought it was a temporary blip due to the bundling of Sony's console with the "Final Fantasy VII" game.