I resolve to... watch TV on my own schedule
This last Christmas, in addition to sharing gifts and cards, our extended family wound up sharing our favorite You Tube videos from over the last year. Unfortunately for us, this involved a lot of crowding around iPhones, straining to see and hear past everyone since there wasn’t a computer nearby that we could watch them on.
Like most families these days, most of the videos we watch now are in digital format – whether that is streamed over the internet and watched via our smartphones or computers or it’s from our DVR. Since we made the switch to digital entertainment and rarely buy DVDs anymore, we have saved a ton of space and money, but the problem lies in how to enjoy our digital files on the big screen where everyone can see them at once.
That’s where the Orb TV comes in, helping you streamline your TV viewing and make watching shows from a variety of sources effortless and on demand. In the past we’ve talked about the Orb Music Player and how easy it is to stream our digital music files where we want them, so needless to say, the release of the Orb TV was much anticipated at our house.
Like the Orb Music Player, the new Orb TV is a smartphone-controlled device that gives you access to your computer’s iTunes library, Hulu, Pandora and more and it connects directly to any home television. This gives you access to your entire digital video library all at once, as well as all the internet has to offer, including that You Tube video everyone is talking about.
Here’s how the Orb TV works: The Orb Caster software pulls files from your computer hard drive or from the internet and streams it to the Orb TV device, making your videos as well as internet media available for playing directly on your TV. Then by using your iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad or Android device over an 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi connection, you can control your entire digital library through the Orb TV device and enjoy unlimited entertainment at the touch of a button.
What’s great is that even the set up for the Orb TV is easy; you simply install the Orb Caster software on your computer, establish a connection to the Orb TV, and then connect it to your television with the included audio/video cables and a power cord. Next you install the Orb Controller software on your smartphone and you’re ready to go. The Orb Caster automatically converts media files into Orb-playable files and works with a variety of different media formats, both online and direct from your computer media, as well as those downloaded from most cameras.
Besides giving you access to internet videos, the Orb TV also gives you a way to show any home videos or photos you have on your PC, Mac, or your home network. So, now if you find yourself struggling to describe some amazing scenery from a recent vacation, or something cute your kids did you can simply pull out your smartphone and have the photos or videos playing on your TV in moments. No more hunting for old camcorder tapes or huddling around a laptop on the kitchen counter, now you can watch from the comfort of your living room.
Controlling your TV directly from your smartphone allows you to pause, fast forward, rewind, and even turn up the volume from a distance without having to learn, carry or store another remote. Perhaps best of all, every Orb device can support multiple users from multiple sources and you can control multiple devices at a time, essentially giving everyone in the family their own remote for all the Orb devices in your home. This means that everyone in your family can have personalized access to their own media files easily, even if they are all on different computers, making every connected TV or radio in your home customizable for everyone.
What’s truly awesome is that by using Orb’s Global Index, you can search for shows and videos just by entering in a keyword and letting them search for you! This makes it easier than ever to catch your favorite shows without having to hunt for them online.
Another feature I really enjoy is that you can pull up all the same videos, music and photos directly from your home computer and enjoy them right on your smartphone. So now you won’t have to worry about filling up the limited memory on your phone while still enjoying full access to all your media – and with the inclusion of Orb Live you can even enjoy these media files when you are away from home, which means you can now bore people with your vacation videos from anywhere.
As with all streaming media devices, the quality of the videos will depend greatly on the internet connection and speed of the computer, which is something to keep in mind. But, for those who are worried they don’t meet the minimum requirements suggested by Orb, you will be happy to note that we tried the Orb TV on a 5 + year old computer and found the video quality to be a bit less fluid than we are used to, but it was still very watchable. Trying it on various computers around Rave Central – some even from the laptop graveyard – proved to have mixed results the more we stretched the minimum requirements.
If you’re looking for an easier way to enjoy your media files on the big screen or perhaps you’re like us and your office is not a place you like to hang out on your off hours, you will love the freedom the Orb TV gives you.
Price: The Orb TV is available now from Orb Networks for $99. The Orb Controller software and the Orb Caster software are available as a free downloads from http://www.orb.com/ and the iTunes store. ________________________________________
• Orb TV hardware
• External USB power adapter
• Audio cable
• Component cable
• Composite cable
• USB cable
Find out more at http://www.orb.com/