I know Orb is nothing new, it really got a lot of press shortly after the Nintendo Wii was released because you could stream your video and music over the wifi to your TV via the Wii. Since then, Orb has made some improvements that really enhance the experience and make it more robust with Orb 2.0. In case you haven’t heard of Orb, it’s a solution to stream your media (pictures, music, and video) across the Internet. Basically, you install the Orb software on a specific computer to turn it into a media server. This computer will need to be powered up and on the network in order to act like a server and allow you to reach your media. After you have installed the software, you can access your media across a number of Internet-enabled devices.
All you have to do is run through the setup wizard which guides you through exactly what you need to do like setup an Orb account.
Then you can configure Orb for all your preferences from the System Tray icon.
One thing you’ll want to configure first is the directories where your media is located. Orb automatically checks the default My Music and My Media folders, but if you’re a non-trad like me, your collection is located somewhere else.
After you’ve added your media directories to the configuration, you can go to your Orb MyCast homepage. They create a neat portal for you with relevant information. You can then access your media through their web-based “applications” for pictures, video, or audio. You can make a Flash-based streaming playlist or get files as .ASX files which work great in Windows Media Player and VLC.
Once in the specific applications, you can access your media from your Always-On media server or make a playlist. You can also share this media with the world by publishing to a blog or creating a link to e-mail to your friends.
New with Orb 2.0 is the Public Profile. This allows you to share your media with friends or the world. But, you should beware that this traffic is all coming back to your machine. If you have something popular and publicize it, you could end up doling out a lot of bandwidth. Depending on what you want to do with your machine or if you have a bandwidth cap, you’ll want to take this into consideration first. You can see what a public profile looks like from the screenshot below or just visit my public profile.
From the public profile, you can see shared playlists and other media and play them back in a convenient little Flash player.
Orb is a little heavy on the resource usage, with two 46MB and 35MB processes for the application and system tray utility respectively. I’m not seeing any downgrade to my PC performance with Orb running in the background, but my system does have plenty of resources to spare.
All in all, Orb offers a lot of conveniences and is another application to blur the line between media being fixed to a physical device. It’s a great way to access your media at home from work and on the go. An iPhone/iPod Touch application exists that allows you to use Orb on those devices and many others can access it just fine using the Flash player.
Access your media with MyCast Orb 2.0.