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.
– 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 ORB.com (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.
– 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:
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.