I have been a fan of Orb for years now. Orb is a free service that lets you stream anything you have on your Windows Media Center PC to any device that has a web browser. This includes your recorded TV, ripped music and movies, even pictures. I once used Orb to stream a Battlestar Galactica season premiere from home to my Laptop so my friend Michael J. Murphy and I would not miss it while away from home at a team meeting. It is a truly sweet service. I wish MS would buy them.
In lieu of purchasing a well-established third party, the people over at Microsoft Research worked up some code which has since been worked over by the people at London based Skinkers to develop Livestation. In one of the videos I link to below, Livestation is billed as “a SlingBox without the box”. A good analogy. A video and information was posted by Michael Arrington over at TechCrunch (note – the post incorrectly calls the product “Microsoft Livestation” when it is in fact a Skinkers product). There is another video over at Steve Clayton’s blog.
What makes this really cool is that we have another company developing an IP streaming technology that enables us to view the content we store to our home systems from anywhere we are. Timeshifting has allowed us to be away from home and still record what we want. But we still have to come home to watch it. More and more people want to be away from home and still access this content. Be it from a laptop, or, more increasingly from a PDA or cellphone, products like Orb and Livestation release from the restriction of having to use the TV as the content viewing medium. The technology for Livestation is also P2P based. No need for a hefty and costly server infrastructure. Oh yeah…..it is developed with Silverlight too!
Now….given a choice, I would have my own full size movie theater at home. No better way to watch a movie than at a good theater. Barring that I have the next best thing – a big screen TV and surround sound at home. But I don’t need to watch American Idol or the local news on a big screen. My Cingular 8525 will do just fine for those. And I can do those anywhere I have a phone signal….like when I am driving down the freeway putting on my makeup, talking on the cell, texting my friends….