Orb, one of my long-time favorite applications for remotely streaming home media has finally come to the iTunes AppStore. Up to now, Orb was only possible on jailbroken phones, but somehow, Apple has approved the application for everyday use. With the $9.99 application, you can access and view various content on a home Windows PC right on your iPhone or iPod Touch. The Orb folks say that a version for Macs and Linux computers is coming as well. What I always liked about Orb is that is smartly manages the audio or video stream based on your connection speed: it’s always optimized. So what can you stream on your handheld while away from home?
- Music stored on your home computer (DRM-free)
- Videos that you’ve downloaded at home or created yourself
- Photos in your home library
- Live television from a TV tuner card
- A connected webcam… I use this to see if the cats are sitting in my office chair when I’m out.
I’m still not sure how Apple approved this (although I’m happy they did) and I wonder what AT&T will have to say about this. One of the biggest features is the live television content streaming and although AT&T doesn’t offer it to iPhone owners, they do have a television content package that they sell for other handsets. Maybe the carrier doesn’t care since they can’t get their upsell package on the iPhone?
Orb offers a free but limited version if you want to get a feel for how it works. I’ve used it extensively in the past for webcam streaming, audio content and live television; it’s always been a solid solution. Until SlingMedia comes up with an iPhone solution, this might be the only way to get live television on a non-jailbroken iPhone for quite a while.