The new Orb TV platform may sound like just another streaming service entering the living room, but the company has a few tricks up its sleeve to help gain attention.
Orb TV opens the door to streaming video access to Hulu, YouTube, Amazon, ABC, CBS, and other online websites.
The set-top box can stream content to the TV, but it lacks HD support and the mandatory Orbcaster software must be installed on a host PC or MAC. The Orb TV is powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo processor (2.4GHz), 1GB RAM, and includes 200MB of internal storage space.
Orb TV doesn’t currently have direct partnerships with Amazon, Netflix, or other content providers — but said there have been active discussions in the past. However, if the company doesn’t need to create custom partnerships the same way others have to, it removes an additional layer of bureaucracy and inner-industry politics that can introduce complications.
The new Orb TV is a $99 device available only through the company’s online website, and allows Apple iPhone and Google Android users to control the Orb TV remotely.
The ability to stream any free online and TV content through the device will prove to be valuable, as they claim that copyright holders won’t be able to prevent their material from being shown through the Orb TV.
“We found that the No. 1 thing people want on their [Internet TV] experience is Hulu — they want that good quality, premium TV content that they have on the Web for their PC,” Costello explained. “We provide that experience — not Hulu Plus, and not some sub-set of things, and it can’t be blocked. The approach that we have taken is one that just can’t be blocked by these guys like you’ve seen in all the other boxes.”
The launch of Google TV has received a large amount of attention, but CBS, ABC, and Hulu blocked internet video content from being delivered to Google TV.
Sony already has a line of Google TV HDTVs and a Blu-ray player powered by Google TV, and Samsung will launch Google TV-powered products at CES 2011, but having some content blocked is extremely damaging.
The set-top box market is becoming an increasingly crowded space, with Roku, Apple TV, the Boxee Box, and other devices fighting for customer attention. As consumers try to carefully pick a set-top box, price and content are two major factors that must be taken into consideration — and open access to online content without the fear of possible blackouts should help the Orb TV.