Orb - the one media server to rule them all?
By Adam TURNER
The quest to unify my media library has lead me to Orb, streaming media software that's all things to all gadgets.
Back in April I wrote about Air Video for the iPad, a great way to stream video from a media server to an iPhone or iPad. While Air Video is quite impressive, there's no desktop client - it only streams to iGadgets. Rather than bog down my Windows 7 media centre with too many media server applications, I've been looking for one server app that meets all my needs. TVersity is impressive, but it can't transcode video on the fly for iGadgets the way Air Video can.
The search for one media server app to meet all my needs has finally lead me to Orb, which has been around for a few years. In a home that's awash with gadgets and media players, Orb's server software (Mac and Windows) seems designed to meet my every need. It's a DLNA server for streaming audio and video around the house, plus it can stream over the web to any browser. There's even an iPhone app, which works over wifi and 3G, and an iPad app under development.
Orb can stream TV recordings automatically copied from my TiVo to my media centre using TiVo Home Networking 2.8 (once they're converted), as well as stream native Windows 7 TV recordings and even live television. When I'm using Orb at home, the browser and iPhone traffic runs over my local network rather than out over the internet and back. This creates all kinds of possibilities when you combine an iPhone with an iPod speaker dock. I can stream music around the house, to places such as the bathroom or the balcony, without the need to invest in more Airport Expresses.
As I explained over at the Sydney Morning Herald this week, I was initially looking for something that was device agnostic for streaming video to the rumpus room for the kids. In Orb, it looks like I've found a whole lot more.
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