If you often wish you had a way to share your photos and home movies while away, Orb might be the perfect solution.

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What do you do when your media files are on your home computer, but you're not at home? Sure, you could print out your photos, put your videos on a DVD, and transfer your music to a portable player, but that's a lot to carry around. A new, free Internet service called Orb lets you access your digital media from any Net-connected device -- even your mobile phone.

Orb has some steep technical restrictions: it currently works only on PCs running Windows XP Media Center or Windows XP and equipped with broadband connections -- but that stands to reason given the nature of the content involved. If you want to stream your media files anywhere, even to your mobile phone, we suggest you give Orb a try.

Set up
First, download the free software, then install Orb. A setup wizard asks you to indicate which files or folders of your photos, songs, videos, and recorded TV shows you want to share. It also asks which television channels you get -- broadcast, cable, or satellite -- and displays their listings so that you can record current shows.

To access your media files while on the road, you'll need to leave your host (home or office) computer running. Orb doesn't store your files on a central server, so there's no size restriction on how much you can share. When you log in to your account from another computer, handheld, or mobile phone, Orb pulls the content from your host computer, adjusts it to the size of your screen and your connection speed, and streams the music or video file to any Web-enabled computer with a media player.

Besides serving media, Orb has a few other tricks up its sleeve. You can access the software remotely to display your local television listings while you are away, then tell Orb to record a particular show. You can also watch the program while it's being recorded. In addition, Orb lets you view your photos as slide shows or share them with other Orb members. If you use Orb's camera application on your mobile phone (rather than your phone's built-in camera app), you can send the pictures back to your home PC. Orb works with Pocket PC or Symbian-enabled handhelds (not Palm OS devices, however) and data-enabled mobile phones with either RealPlayer or Windows Media Player installed.

In our tests, Orb worked well, though there were a few hiccups. For example, while accessing our content from a remote broadband-connected PC, Orb worked well. But streaming video to a handheld or a mobile phone left us frustrated. While Orb streams video content at speeds appropriate for your connection, we were unable to watch more than a minute of video on our PCS mobile phone before it had to stop and rebuffer the stream.

Orb's support options are decent, though not generous. Subscribers can access its support pages to read through the knowledge base and forums or send an e-mail request. We received a response to our e-mail request within 24 hours, as promised.

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empty posted a comment   

The Good:Have a lot of features


Your user account cannot be deleted once created .....though Orb says it cannot function and share user files if it is uninstalled but still should be able to remove the profile...even if contacted the customer support they just remove the entries of your login so that you cannot log in further ....


PyroFD3S posted a comment   

The Good:Free, works well, stream almost anything, good on the iPhone

The Bad:CPU hog, can't transcode anything with more than 2 channel audio

Free, works well, stream almost anything, good on the iPhone


Stavr0 posted a review   

The Good:Free. Almost universal browser support.

The Bad:Some quality loss due to re-encoding. CPU hog, requires powerful PC to do encoding.

This is the easiest way to get a Wii media player.


lightshinobi posted a review   

The Good:Fast, does not slow down my broadband while my brother is watching all my videos and listening to my music while in another city, while I play my games.


I feel I should be paying for this.


fmlewis posted a review   

The Good:I seems to do what it says on the tin!

The Bad:How can there be? it's works and it's free

Amazing facilty!

Josh Holt

Josh Holt posted a review   

The Good:HDTV-free OTA
4000 songs
I was walking my dogs when Meet the Press came on, so I logged on to Orb on my phone, set it to record, and am watching it while I type this...

The Bad:I believe, more than anything, that the limited advertisements on the webportals are actually TOO LITLLE compensation for the gravity of this amazing software!

The only thing I don't like is CNET"s ability to downplay this amazing, and free, software.


"Very simple to setup and does what it says!"

Anonymous posted a review   



Anonymous posted a review   

The Good:This software allows access to anything on your home PC that you authorize.

The Bad:None that I can find.


"Fantastic software! Just what I've been looking for."

Anonymous posted a review   

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