As a home-theater and gadget lover, I've always got my eye out for the latest new gadget that involves home theater equipment. I came across this news release from Orb Networks, which claims this product can "provides spontaneous access to a person’s music, live television, videos, photos and other digital content from any device that can connect to the Internet, such as a cell phone, PDA, or notebook, allowing users to create their own "personal media portal."
Essentially, this product can "stream" any of the content from your home PC to wherever you are - if your PC has a TV tuner card, such as a Microsoft Media PC, then it can stream that as well. It's actually a service-based subscription model, so it kind of reminds me of GoToMyPC, a subscription-based remote-desktop PC application which transmits Windows and mouse movements for remote access. In the case of Orb Networks' product, instead of "streaming" just the Windows GUI and mouse movements, it can stream actual video and even perform codec compression on-the-fly which will allow you to access your PC's internal TV tuner and watch TV from work on your work PC. Hey, now that is cool!
Orb Network’s first "personal media portal" will be available starting in mid-November starting at $9.99 per month or $79.99 per year for the first user. Additional users (up to five) start at $3.99 per month/per user or $29.99 per year/per user. Orb is offering two months of free service for anyone who signs up prior to December 31, so I guess you can try it and see if it's worth the monthly subsciption. I'm never a fan of subscription software myself, but this is a pretty neat idea which may suck me in if I do try it.
Here's the release:
UNION CITY, Calif., October 11, 2004 – Orb Networks, Inc., a developer of streaming media software and services, today introduced a breakthrough service that provides a simple way for consumers to view, hear and control all kinds of their digital content from virtually any Internet-enabled device, from anywhere in the world. Today’s connected population is demanding media mobility and convenience to meet its fast-paced lifestyle. Orb’s solution provides spontaneous access to a person’s music, live television, videos, photos and other digital content from any device that can connect to the Internet, such as a cell phone, PDA, or notebook, allowing users to create their own "personal media portal."
Orb’s solution is the first of its kind to allow consumers spontaneous mobile access to all kinds of their digital media – securely, through password protected accounts. Using any Web browser, Orb provides a simple, intuitive interface to the user’s content located on their home PC or on the Internet. By removing the complexity and limitations of many of today’s digital entertainment products and services, Orb’s software architecture leverages the best features of today’s popular standards while abiding by current digital rights management solutions. Orb Networks will be demonstrating its solution during this weeks DigitalLife 2004 conference at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York, October 14-17.
"Orb Networks has developed a brand new way for people to be connected to their digital media all the time from anywhere in the world," said James Behrens, CEO, Orb Networks. "We have found a way to bring consumers what they want – simple access at any time. Consumers can watch live TV on their laptop while in a WiFi café, schedule a DVR recording through their PDA, or even listen to their music on their cell phone while jogging, biking or shopping. We think this is extremely viral technology, taking the ‘home’ out of ‘home media.’"
Orb Networks new technology is based upon its elegant, robust and scalable Orb Architecture. A user simply opens a Web browser on any device, logs-in and selects what they want to view or hear from their personal library. Orb’s technology takes care of the rest. Orb’s technology determines the best format, codec, bit rate, display capabilities, and network bandwidth available for a particular cell phone, PDA or laptop to view or hear the content. The media is streamed securely and directly from the user’s home PC to the user’s device to provide fast mobile media access.
"The divisions between broadband and wireless technology continue to blur as more advanced services that can be delivered using these mediums become available," said Randy Giusto, group vice president, Clients and Mobility and Consumer Markets, IDC. "Wireless carriers and content providers have already begun to develop market strategies for these new-generation services. Digital streaming media services are arriving and will not only take advantage of existing devices and technology, but forge products and new usage patterns among consumers in the years ahead."
In addition to offering its services via the Orb Web site, the company is also working with a number of different content providers/creators, wireless carriers, electronic distributors and consumer electronic companies to offer Orb as part of their packaged solutions. Orb’s robust architecture is secure, efficient and flexible, making it easy to support partner’s current and future hardware devices and standards and grow with the expanding digital marketplace. Details of these partnerships will be released in the coming months.
"Many of today’s digital entertainment devices and services place limitations on the amount or type of content consumers can access," said Tim Bajarin, president, Creative Strategies. "People may be able to watch live television remotely from a cell phone or notebook, but are restricted to watching only a handful of stations. Additionally, today’s digital music services often try to lock users into using one particular device and media player. Very simply put, Orb takes away these boundaries giving the consumer what they want – uninhibited, spontaneous remote access to all of their digital home media."
Orb Solution Overview
What you need:
Home PC. Customers with a home PC Media Center can have access to all Orb media functionality, including live TV.
Broadband connection. Anybody with a high-speed Internet connection can spontaneously access all of their home media on-the-go.
A Internet-connected device. With Orb, digital content can be viewed from virtually all existing browsers and Internet-enabled hardware devices.
How it works:
After installing the Orb software, users need to simply complete the following tasks:
From your web browser select the myORB bookmark on your cell phone, PDA, laptop or PC, which will connect you to the personalized list of all your media.
Select what you want to view or hear. Remotely access live TV, videos, music, photos, audio books, newspapers, or program a personal video recorder (PVR).
Enjoy. That’s it!
What you can do now:
The wireless industry knows that home media is the next frontier in digital innovation. Orb Networks extends this rapidly growing industry by providing the user a "killer application" to access the entertainment they care about.
· Live TV. Watch your home TV from anywhere in the world. See your favorite shows on your cell phone or laptop from your hotel room or while on vacation. Your TV goes where you go.
Videos & recorded TV. Enjoy downloaded movies and home videos no matter where you are. Schedule and record your favorite TV shows on your PVR and watch them whenever and wherever you want.
Music and radio. Listen to your MP3 collection and favorite Internet radio stations at the gym, in the car, or at the beach. Now you have one easy interface to listen to all of your music from any cell phone Web browser, anywhere in the world.
Photos. Storing and viewing photos is a snap. Show off all of your photos, everywhere you go. And, send photos right from your camera phone to your home photo library. Just point and shoot. Orb does the rest.
Web info: weather, news, stocks and more. Anything you want to know is at your fingertips. Weather, headlines, driving directions. All you have to do is ask.
And so much more. Home security, nanny cam, and much more. Your digital content goes with you everywhere you go. With the rich and scalable Orb architecture, the possibilities are limitless.
The Orb software allows users to select and manage their digital content. Of course, users are responsible for utilizing the myOrb software responsibly and in compliance with copyright law and any applicable restrictions imposed by their service and/or content providers.