Meet Orb Live, a versatile media app that lets you stream free Hulu content, premium videos, and even your home media library right to your Android device. Since it requires no subscription fee, it's $9.99 download price may be a great deal for those wishing for more multimedia on the go.
Here's how it works. First, install Orb Caster on your PC or Mac (for free), and point the program to your multimedia folders so it knows which files to make available for streaming. You can also point it to your iTunes and have it stream everything from there. Next, navigate to Settings and create a Remote Access Account for use on your mobile device. Finally, download Orb Live onto your Android mobile device, and sign in using your Remote Access credentials. From there, Orb Live will let you view photos, music, and videos broadcasted from your computer. You can also watch TV shows through Hulu's non-premium service, YouTube, Dailymotion, and more, all for free. If you have subscriptions to premium services like Hulu Plus, Amazon Video On Demand, or Netflix, you can add access to those as well.
Before downloading Orb Live, it's important to know that your computer must be powered on and have a reliable Web connection for you to use the mobile app. This is because all of the content is relayed through Orb Caster--even the online content like Hulu--which some might see as a pain. Video quality was not great, but certainly watchable. Meanwhile, photo and music streaming worked perfectly well.
As for Orb Live's interface, we found it to be in need of much improvement. It's decidedly unattractive and even a bit unintuitive. For instance, YouTube videos have the standard YouTube control bar at the bottom, yet none of the buttons work. That's because the user must tap the screen to bring up Orb Live's video controls. To add to the problem, Orb Live's video controls are huge. In fact, they cover well over half the video screen, which is obtrusive, to say the least. And it didn't help that the Pause button inexplicably didn't work. This meant the only option was to back out of videos and start them over again, which was obviously a significant inconvenience.
Though we love the idea behind Orb Live, the app is marred by some performance issues and a bad interface, which makes for a rather annoying user experience. That said, if you're not deterred by the major problems, $9.99 is a great price for all of the functionality the app offers. In any case, we do hope that Orb Live sees some significant improvement with its next update.