Michelle Clancy ©RapidTVNews | 18-07-2011
Orb Networks is beefing up its content proposition, edging further into the mainstream TV world with addition of Hulu, ABC, CBS, FOX and ESPN to its streaming lineup.
It's also expanding its reach: it has launched the Orb Live app for iPhone and Android devices, which goes for a one-time, upfront $9.99 fee to download, and which allows users to sync with streaming content via the home PC or Mac.
Earlier in the year, Orb launched $20 Blu-ray software that works with a Web-enabled PS3 and is controlled through iOS or Android apps, or using any computer. But the content available was rather thin--consisting of YouTube, some cable channels like Comedy Central, and then relying on Netflix and Amazon to round out the rest. Now, Orb is expanding its value prop beyond also-ran status.
The move to mobile is also a savvy one. "Now, consumers can use Orb Live to watch their favorite TV shows, sports and movies anywhere, on their mobile phone, without any additional subscription fees," said Joe Costello, CEO and cofounder of Orb Networks, in a statement. "No matter where they are, people can use their mobile phone to get the same great content that is available on their home PC for watching at the beach, on the soccer field, at the airport or on a commuter train."
Since Orb is going mobile, the company has also worked on bandwidth optimisation. Costello added, "With this new version of Orb Live, we have also dramatically improved the streaming quality of the video to give users the best possible picture quality, at their current connection speed. As the connection moves up and down in quality, the video adjusts in real time to deliver the best picture and minimize the dreaded buffering so users always have access to their TV shows, movies and music."
The app also syncs users' music files, online music (Pandora, Sirius, etc.), video files (downloaded DivX/XviD files, home movies, etc.) photos and more to the smartphone.
In terms of content discovery, it's taking the same approach as Google TV, or Microsoft's Xbox TV with Bing strategy: a global search function lets users find the shows they want to watch on-demand, without having to specify its source (e.g. Hulu, Netflix, ABC, CBS, etc).
Orb Live for the iPhone is available immediately, with planned availability for the Android in mid-August. To get started, consumers download the free Orb Caster software from Orb.com to a PC or Mac, and then download the $9.99 Orb Live app from the App Store or Android Market to sync.