I’ve been playing around with the US $99 Orb TV for a few weeks now and have to say I’m quite impressed with it. For those of you not familiar with it, Orb TV is a media streamer that connects to your TV and lets you play any video from your computer to your television. It’s shaped like a hockey puck and at a 95mm diameter and a 21mm thickness it comes in smaller than the new Apple TV.
Despite a few hiccups in getting it connected the first day, I’ve found the Orb TV easy to use. Simply connect the component or composite cables from the Orb TV device to your TV, then launch the Orb software on your Mac. The Orb software will search your media libraries and pick up all your non-DRM video, music, and photos. Next, download the free Orb Controller universal iOS app and navigate through you video library with ease. When you find a video you want to play, simply tap it to play it now or add it to your video queue. It’s also important to note that the Orb TV doesn’t have an interface — not one that appears on your TV screen anyway. You control everything through the Orb Controller on your iPhone, iPad, or Android device. There is also an Orb Mini Controller for Mac and PC for those users without an iOS or Android device.
Orb TV also allows you to watch Hulu, Netflix, and YouTube videos right through your TV. But my favorite thing about the Orb TV is that it picks up any video — not just video in your iTunes music library –- on your Mac and streams it to your TV. This means that you don’t have to have all your movies in one central location on your Mac, nor do they have to be in one specific format as Orb supports H.264 BP/MP/HP, VC-1 SP/MP/AP, MPEG4 SP/ASP, MPEG2 MP, and MPEG1.
The biggest drawback is the lack of an HDMI port. Still, my HD video came in clear and crisp on my 1080p TV. Also the Orb controller software could use a bit of a redesign. It works just fine, but it has more of a bare bones UI as opposed to a well thought out software controller feel. That being said, for US $99, the Orb TV is a good product for those looking to stream videos from their Mac to their HDTV.