Orb Live is a mobile app that lets you stream music, videos, or photos from a PC or Mac to your mobile device. But today the company is launching a major update which also lets you stream web video to your mobile device. The only catch is that you still need to run a desktop app in order for the service to work. That’s because the Orb desktop software captures video from the web and then transcodes it on the fly into a format that your mobile device can handle and streams it to you over the internet.
In other words, if you leave your computer running all the time, Orb Live can allow you to access media from your hard drive or the web wherever you are. If you don’t, the app might be kind of worthless.
That said, the app does a pretty good job of delivering high quality video streams from online video sites including Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and VEVO. It takes a moment for video to buffer before you can start watching, but once playback begins, you’d be hard pressed to notice that the video wasn’t streaming directly from the internet to your device.
If you want to stream premium content from Hulu Plus, Netflix, or Amazon you’ll have to enter your account credentials for those services. Orb Live doesn’t let you get around any paywalls: except for one. Normally you need a Hulu Plus account to watch any Hulu content on a smartphone. Orb Live lets you watch videos from Hulu’s free web-based service without paying $8 per month.
PlayOn offers a subscription-based app with similar features, but Orb Live is available for a one-time payment. The iOS app is available today from the App Store for $9.99. An Android version is due out in mid-August.
You can check out my hands-on video as well as some more screenshots below.