Rumors of an HD compatible Wii have been around since before the current Wii's launch. So who started the rumors? Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata certainly didn't.
During the Q&A session at a recent investors meeting, Iwata was asked about Wii HD. Claiming that he'd never himself mentioned a "Wii HD," Iwata said that he wonders where in the world the rumors started.
He also provided a hint that Nintendo would't simply release an HD-ready Wii without some other improvement. "If I were asked if a Wii that's been made compatible with HD -- just high resolution compatibility -- would be bought by players throughout the world, I'd of course say, 'Do you think it will sell with just that? It needs something new.'"
Sounds like a barebones HD version of the Wii is not in Nintendo's play book.