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Now THIS is what I'm talking about!!!


Prodigal Son
Today we are being pummelled with new streaming boxes from different manufacturers offering different capabilities. We have GoogleTV, AppleTV, Vudu, Boxee, and others. We also have all these TVs and BluRay disc players offering different streaming capabilities.

When the spec for Blu Ray was being released, I made a huge deal out of the power of the processor required for all Blu Ray players and the RAM & Storage requirements for the higher spec players. People thought I was crazy for caring. Most of you said, "All I want is a disc player, why would I want online content?"

Well, most of you who said that are now playing with Nextflix, Hulu, and other streaming capabilities on your new blu Ray players.

But look at this really cool innovation...

Orb, one of the many stand alone streaming box makers, got really smart. They realized what made their product compelling wasn't the tiny little round box that connected to the TV, it was the software running on said box. They also realized they could run that software within the limitations of the Blu Ray disc spec for online content. Then BING, POW, ZAP!!! They did it!!!

Now you can get the Orb capabilities as an add-on to your Blu Ray player by purchasing their Blu Ray disc and inserting into your BD+ Blu Ray player.


I think this is brilliant! I hope everyone else with a streaming box joins up with this approach. We could have Google TV discs, Vudu discs, and so on. If a certain software stack proved especially successful in this format, I imagine some Player manufacturers will add the software to their players' firmwares.

I love it!!!
? How would the apps on this disc be different/better/advantageous over the built-in apps already available on many/most current-production BD players (like your 570)?
The Orb software should allow you to pull content from your computer in addition to streaming from Hulu and Netflix.
I don't know if it would be better or if I care about it. What I am excited about is the idea that new features can be added by using the available BD+ capabilities. Some cool capability can be added just be loading a disc.
I still don't stream any media and don't find it all that interesting....at least yet.

Might be due to the fact that I have about 30min. per day to view anything.

I looked into Hulu and Netflix but really didn't see anything to get excited about.

Maybe I'm just boring.
Sounds like an awesome opportunity to really advance the capabilities of existing players. I'm really interested to see where this leads...
jamhead said:
I still don't stream any media and don't find it all that interesting....at least yet.

Might be due to the fact that I have about 30min. per day to view anything.

I looked into Hulu and Netflix but really didn't see anything to get excited about.

Maybe I'm just boring.

Technically you do. You just bought a Squeezebox recently didn't you?

I only scanned through the link, but my initial impression seems Orb brings stand-alone players a step or two closer to what a PS3 can already do by linking your PC to your player. Besides a few extra apps, like Amazon VoD, I don't see the need for it but, it's still cool none the less.
Thanks for the link, Flint.

So, if I understand correctly, these discs would operate similarly to how Netflix Streaming on PS3 did originally? It'd be like popping in a Blu-Ray disc, and then maybe the java progamming can be loaded off the web and we can start getting said streaming? If that's what it's doing, then it's certainly a far cooler implementation of BD's web abilities than all those lame commercials I see on BD-Live movies.

I wasn't able to tell if the $20 price would include multiple services (say Netflix, Hulu, plus Amazon VOD) or if it would be for only one service at time only so $20 just for Amazon VOD. Any idea, guys? And looks like we're maybe still only talking about standard definition so far with these? Or am I mistaken?
It's cool in the sense that you basically have player-independent software for streaming. The big problem I see is that you can't update your BD with the latest&greatest version of the software, new streaming sources, etc. You'd have to get a new disc, which is generally less convenient than simply doing a network firmware update on your player. But often firmware updates could be few and far between, or non-existent for older players, so this BD route could still be advantageous.
Kaz, I think the $20 is just for the streaming software, *not* for subscriptions to the content providers.
PaulyT said:
Kaz, I think the $20 is just for the streaming software, *not* for subscriptions to the content providers.

Right, I knew that. I had a difficult time putting into words what I meant to ask. I guess what I'm wondering is if that $20 disc gives me the option to subscribe and/or rent from multiple service providers, or if I have to buy multiple discs if I want to subscribe to, for example, both Hulu Plus and Amazon VOD.

I'm guessing the one disc would provide access to all of it? But I'm not sure.
Maybe AmazonVOD should sell a similar disc to enable their service on all discs, but make it practically free. One that works only with AmazonVOD, of course. Either that or just get on with working out an arrangement with Sony to add AmazonVOD to the PS3, already!

I gather the blu-ray disc association has something to gain from all this otherwise it seems this service would be potentially counter-productive to BD sales...I have to read the link still since I've been checking on and off all day from work but I'm just thinking aloud here.
I finally decided to read the company's press release and it's answered my question with regards to HD-content, but I've gotta say that I'm uncertain exactly how this disc is supposed to work. I think maybe my earlier assumption isn't entirely correct.

Are they saying that a smart phone or similar device is required to control it? And are they saying your computer needs to be on in order for it to work? So is it more like PlayOn, then, where all it's doing is using your computer to stream and then forwarding it to the BD player? And less like the old Netflix streaming disc for PS3? I'm totally clueless. The answer is probably obvious, but not to me. Blame it on the Heineken, I say.

Anyway, here's an excerpt:

  • Partial Press Release said:
    To set up Orb BR, consumers simply 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, Orb BR supports HD output at 720p and 1080p resolution. To help consumers easily find and watch their favorite shows, the Orb controller app features a powerful and easy-to-use global index of TV shows. Consumers can type in the name of the show they want and then Orb quickly finds the show, without requiring the user to specify its source (e.g. Hulu, ABC, CBS, etc).

If I can stay awake, maybe I'll peruse the "orb" company website. THAT's where the it's at, y'all! I heard it's just like the "Living Island" where they have a talking flute and all the animals talk just like people talk... only that they're animals. [Edit: The orb website surely does have products that appear to use the PC to stream to other devices, but I'm not sure if that's indicitive of what this $20 "Orb BR" product will do or not.]
I saw the Orb thing on Engadet a day or two ago and agree with Flint that the implications are cool. The actual Orb product itself doesn't interest me much, as the PS3 already has excellent clients for Netflix, Vudu and Hulu. I can also get Amazon VOD and a ton of other content via my lifetime subscription to PlayOn Premium. Every one of my BD players already does Netflix and YouTube. The only real perk I see with Orb's offering is Vudu and that is not a service I see myself using much until they lower their prices.
The Orb software does a couple of things that other machines don't.

It will allow you to turn a BD player into a media extender and stream music and video on your computer. Granted thet PS3 does that already, but the vast majority of players don't. Even those that do support DLNA can be a little complicated for the average user.

It also searches the web for content you want and delivers it you regardless of where it is from, assuming you have an account. That is essentially what GoogleTV and the Boxee box are supposed to do. But like those services, the value will be in the presentation.