How to Fix the “Green Screen” on a Nintendo Wii

This blog post falls under the category of “tormenting technology problems that can ruin your evening.”

Our Nintendo Wii gave up the ghost a couple of weeks ago.  After ordering a replacement on eBay, and then returning it due to this issue, I was shocked to get a second Wii with the same problem.  Realizing it must be a configuration issue, I was able to diagnose and correct for it.  I’m posting the solution here to help any other unfortunate souls with the same problem.


Your Nintendo Wii displays a blank, solid green screen.  Sound works fine, but nothing but green on the TV.

Likely Cause

You have a new Nintendo Wii and have used a component cable (Green-Blue – Red + Red-White) to connect it to an HD television.

By default, the Nintendo Wii comes configured to display 480i signals.  The problem is, newer high definition TVs don’t handle a 4:3 480i signal properly from component cables, and the Nintendo Wii doesn’t self-configure for 480p when you plug in component cables.

What makes this devilishly complicated is that if you try to configure the Wii using the standard RCA cable (Yellow-Red-White), the option to change the display to 480p is greyed out.  Catch-22.


Here are the steps to properly configure your Nintendo Wii for component display:

  • Hook up your Nintendo Wii using the component cable.
  • Instead of plugging the Green-Blue-Red cables into your display using the component ports, instead plug the green cable into the “Yellow” port of the RCA ports on your display.
  • You will now get a greyscale rendering of your Nintendo Wii interface, but totally usable.
  • Navigate through the configuration screens.  When complete, go to settings, and then select “Display”.  You’ll find that the 480p option is now selectable.  Choose it.  Also make sure to set the display to 16:9 if you have an HD display.
  • Shut off the Wii, and hook up your component cables to the component jacks on your display.

That’s it.  Fairly simple, but I had to dig through a number of bad google results to figure it out.

Hope this helps someone out there, and saves you from returning a perfectly good Nintendo Wii. Tune in next week, I will be reviewing a few of the best gaming headsets, I find games play much better with headsets, solo immersion goes a long way.

User Acquisition, Virality & Mobile Distribution: Notes

On Friday, Brendan Baker put up his notes from my Greylock Discovery Fund talk on user acquisition, virality & mobile distribution.  It’s a great resource to see a combination of third party notes about the talk, as well as some of the Q&A from that session.

Greylock Blog: User Acquisition, Virality & Mobile – Notes from Our Session with Adam Nash

Last week, I also had the opportunity to give a similar talk at 500 Startups.  As promised for those who couldn’t attend, here is a short list of relevant blog posts from the past two years that provide more depth to the topic:

Product Leadership

Design Led Product

User Acquisition & Virality

Product Prioritization