CES: Orb To Launch New Internet TV Software

Orb Networks is launching new software for Blu-ray and PlayStation 3 players that allows consumers to watch online TV shows from such providers as Hulu, HuluPlus, Comedy Central and others on their home TV.

The company is pitching the new Orb BR (Blu-ray) software, which is priced at $19.99 and works with any Internet- connected Blu-ray player or PlayStation 3 game console, as a cost-effective way to access Internet TV content without buying new hardware. Users use a smartphone app, which works on iPhone, Android, iPad, iPod Touch or any computer to search and access content. The software is expected to be available in late February.   

Besides the broadcast and cable content from Hulu and Comedy Central, the software also provides access on a TV via a connected Blu-ray player to a number of other content providers, including Netflix and Amazon Video on Demand as well as YouTube, personal videos and photos on a TV.

"The combined cost of a Blu-ray player and Orb BR software is less expensive than most of the other Internet TV solutions, like Boxee and Google TV, while providing more capabilities," said Joe Costello, CEO of Orb Networks, in a statement. "With more than eight million connected Blu-ray players and 40 million PS3 players already in homes, the market opportunity for Orb BR is huge."

In launching the new product, Orb is hoping to capitalize on the rapid growth in the number of people using the Internet. A recently published Forrester Research study found that 33 percent of adults surveyed in 2010 said they use the Internet to watch video, up from 18 percent in 2007.

To use the software and set up Orb BR, consumers must insert the Orb BR software CD into their Blu-ray player, download the free Orb Caster software to their PC or Mac, and then download the free Orb controller app to their smartphone.

Orb BR works with a range of Blu-ray players and PS3 units that are connected to the Internet via a wired or wireless connection and supports 720p and 1080p HD formats.

Recently the company also launched Orb TV, with a hockey puck-sized device priced at $99 that plugs into a TV, which enables consumers to stream online video content to a TV.