Checking out ORB!

A couple of days ago I had a true WOW-experience after installing a free piece of software on my mediaserver at home. I have been talking about SlimServer and how you can stream your music out of your house using that software.

Guess what, I have found something that is easier and more powerful.

Meet ORB:
– Free
– Stream music, video and photos
– No need for a fixed IP
– No need to open extra ports in your firewall
– Streams to your laptop, PC, PDA and mobile

This is what you do:

1. Register for a user at (free)
2. Download and install the ORB software on your media box
(Can be any connected PC running WinXP)
3. Tell the ORB server software where your media files are and let ORB scan your directories
4. Log on to ORB from any device and start streaming your media
(Any device is basically a device that have a browser and that can play Windows Media or Real Media)

You use the browser and the ORB web GUI to browse your media and it automatically starts the right media player if you hit the play button besides a clip.

The ORB server software will transcode your media in realtime. On basis of the following factors:
– the power of your server machine
– the speed of the internet connection
– the power of the client box

….ORB will choose a streaming quality that suits the environment.

Well, I registered and installed ORB.

This works:
– I can stream all my music to infinity and beyond
– I can browse and show all my pictures to all mankind and beyond
– I can stream all my videos, including recently recorded shows on my MCE box to wherever…

I was truly impressed with the ease and how fast I was up and running. This is something that your mother can install! I could play my videos, music and pictures on my laptop and PDA in a matter of minutes after I installed ORB.

To put it on a hard test I browsed to a movie that I have ripped from one of my DVDs. I ripped it into 2,5 MB/s Xvid with the original AC3 sound and subtitles in an external file. Would ORB understand anything of that kind of mess?

Yes. It plays smooth, with the sound transcoded to stereo and even with the subtitles burned into the stream!

After a little playing around I discovered a button that said WEB-cam. Okay, I have a WEB-cam connected to the box so I hit the play button for the WEB cam. Voila! ORB starts streaming my webcam to my PDA!

In addition to this, you can set up several users with different privileges. So, you can get a friends ORB ID, put him or her into your server config and say that "this user shall have access to my music but not my pictures etc…"

It does not stop there. They have even included functionallity that lets you upload pictures and short video clips to your server while you are out travelling.

It is a no-brainer. Just go ahead and install ORB right away!

So, for the small print:

This does not work on my setup (yet):
– Live TV streaming. That is only because ORB does not provide TV listings for Norway. I can see that the ORB television guide builds on XMLTV. I am already obtaining the data to my MCE EPG through XMLTV, so there has to be a hack! Please comment here if you know one.

– The RealPlayer on my mobile refuse to play the streams. I am working on that.

Any hints are welcome here!

Edit: I just got this answer over at the ORB support forum:

Nokia 6630
Aaargh! According to ORB my phone (the Nokia 6630) is a special nutcase and has an old version of realplayer installed. How stupid is that? Nokia – WTF do you mean by installing RealPlayer 8 on one of your most expensive and powerful phones? I’ll have to look into this. On my 6630 it says version s60.26.43.01 D – 22-oct-2004_19:35:49 for RealPlayer.

Live TV outside of the US:
“Note that you will be able to watch and record local TV in the near future when we implement a channel scan utility. This will allow non-US/Canada residents to create their own set of local TV listings, and this feature will actually be ready for testing very shortly.”

More on ORB, SlingBox and placeshifting here.

Checking out ORB!

21 thoughts on “Checking out ORB!

  1. I have to agree, this is a great tool! I installed it remotely on my media server today. Took me 5 minutes and I’m already listening to my music at work.

    My only concern is that the communication/streaming goes through Makes me wonder how much they are tracking/storing…

  2. I’ve been checking out Orb for about a week now, and I must say this is totally elegant, and very simple! I use it similarly as Trond, but I’m also looking into setting up access privileges for family etc. It’s great not having to set up my own web server for such purposes!

    Listening to my music on my QTEK anywhere there’s a WLAN connection is also a nice bonus… 😀

  3. Orb is coming to Mac

    Jeff Jarvis at BuzzMachine reports from the Web 2.0 conference: “Orb: Shows you all your content from home on any web-connected device anywhere. Works only on PC now; Mac by the end of the year. Very nice.” Orb is a…

  4. jaded says:

    Orb can be used nokia6630 to play fullscreen videos. Dont use realplayer use roktv not reqd to register. download rdp files via opera and play fullscreen videos.

  5. Morty says:

    Hey, I have an Nokia N70 and installed ORB today. I shared some video folders on my computer and fired up on my N70. I logged in to my page and see the media, but I can’t get anything to stream. Are there any tricks that must be done on the PC or mobile first?

  6. I still have problems streaming to my mobile. I have not had the time to try this one:

    But it seems like “jaded” that has commented here have had success with that player.

    Still I can’t understand why it won’t work on the built in realplayer because now ORB supports 3GP. Haven’t had the time to contact ORB support or read their forum in detail on this issue lately.

  7. Onno says:

    Hello Eirikso,

    about 3GP streaming: have you made sure that port 558 is open in your home network? You probably need to do a portforwarding setting in your modem/router at home.

    And something else: I can stream live television to my PDA. Just install the UK version of ORB.
    TV listings are still not working. I found the location where they should be:
    C:Documents and SettingsAll UsersApplication DataOrbNetworksOrbTVdata
    But putting a tvguide.xml in there doesn’t work.
    I tried tweaking the settings.xml but no success.

    Any tips on this?

  8. I did some early experiments with port 558, but I’ll have to try again now that ORB has better support for 3GP.

    A coworker actually had a XML-TV solution up and running a while ago, but he don’t remember exactly how he did it… Unless ORB has done some major changes to how this works it should be possible.

    I’ll do some more experiments and post back here if I find a solution…

  9. Adam says:

    Guys, try popping your XML file from XMLTV into the C:Documents and SettingsAll UsersApplication DataOrbNetworksOrbTVdataempty folder and call it listing.xml – works for me….

  10. Onno says:

    I’m going to take a completely different approach now.
    (I stopped poking around with xmltv files after upgrading to Orb 2.0)
    Just ordered a home theater PC with two DVB-C receivers (FireDTV).
    The aim is to get the TV guide from the DVB signal and feed it into Orb.
    Microsoft’s Media Center Edition might do the trick and if not, I’ll try MediaPortal.
    Does any of you guys have experience with this?

  11. I am also considering the FireDTV solution for DVB-C. It should be possible to get MCE up and running with that solution, but SageTV also seems like an interesting solution for that kind of setup.

    I’m very interested to hear more about how your experiment works out!

  12. Steve says:

    I installed orb 3 times succesfully. Every time I used it it would overclock my PC and make it overheat. My cpu was running at 100% usage until I shut down orb. When I used to use the older version of orb and it worked fine without overheating. Why did they have to change it. I loved using orb but not anymore. I uninstalled it and and bought a sony location free audio video streamer device. It works very good and doesn’t overheat my pc. I can even contol my cable box. Has anyone else had problems with the new orb when conpaired with the older first 1.0 version?

  13. ceaseoleo says:


    I can’t seem to find any sites that show how to hook Orb up with dyndns. I created a domain on dyndns. I forward the ports on the router. so when i go to http://:port

    i get nothing.

    I’m not really sure what else I’m missing.. cause I can’t seem to access myOrb from outside of my network.

    Can someone please post a link on instructions or let me know how to do this thanks .

  14. The last time I used ORB the application took care of this. You log on to and that site will know your IP etc… In other words, you don’t need DynDNS.

  15. Personally I’m not running Windows on my HTPC anymore, so I don’t know. And I’m afraid I messed up the “subscribe to new comments” and lost people subscribing to old posts a while ago.

    So unfortunately I don’t think this is the right place to get an answer. 😦

    Just wanted to let you know.

  16. JonL says:

    I moved to ORB after trying out WebGuide.

    ORB is much easier to install. I stream all media from my home server to laptop and PC at home, even the kids Wii. The only issue I have is the lack of an EPG for Australia, so scheduled recording is a pain, WebGuide was excellent in this regard.

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