NEW YORK —
Tis’ the season for connected TV
add-ons as set-top box options continue to launch
to bring broadband entertainment to connected TV
screens this holiday season.
New products or extensions of existing products
were recently announced by Orb, Vudu and D-Link.
Orb Network’s just launched a hockey puckshaped
Internet TV set-top enables the watching
of online TV shows from Hulu, Netflix and
The advantage of the Orb TV over some other
systems on the market is its low price ($99 retail
from the OrbTV website), and ability to bring PCcentric
streaming to the TV, in some cases bypassing
extra subscription fees that are applied to TV
What’s somewhat unusual is that Orb TV requires
installing special software, called Orb Caster,
on the PC and leaving the PC running when
using the device to view content on the TV screen.
However, the software enables Orb to select
such services as Hulu to play TV shows without
the Hulu Plus subscription fee requirement.
are Netflix, with a
user account, and
will be added
down the line.
The system also does not include a remote control,
relying instead on users downloading a smartphone
app to their iPhone, Android, iPad or iPod
Touch to control the device.
The Orb controller smartphone app features a
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.
Meanwhile, Vudu, which started out offering
its own set-top box before expanding into an app available on other connected devices, said it is
now delivering HD streaming to the Sony Play-
Station 3 gaming console, and is rolling out a
next-generation 2.0 user interface.
The Vudu streaming service will be available
on the Sony PS3 in Nov. 23, offering HD, HDX
and Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound streaming service
directly to the console.
The game console joins other Vudu enabled
devices already in the market including various
Blu-ray players, Vudu set-top boxes, the
Boxee platform (for PC and Mac) and the justlaunched
D-Link Boxee Box.
The new Vudu 2.0 interface has been redesigned
and optimized for high-def wide-format
It features a more intuitive structure organized
around tabs, speeding up navigation.
Also added is a “social feed,” and enhanced
browsing and filter capabilities.
It will also support next-gen input devices,
including the PS3 Move controller, mice and
pointer remote controls.
Meanwhile, D-Link’s new Boxee Box is shipping,
after several delays, at a $199 street
retail and is available from
device offers a range of entertainment options,
although the previously announced Netflix
streaming and Hulu Plus applications will be
added as an update a little later down the line.
At launch, the box will offer users the ability
to view movies from Vudu, OpenFilm and IndieMoviesOnline,
The box is also designed to link with networked
PCs in the house to stream personal
content, and is compatible with a wide variety
of file formats for audio and video.
The Boxee Box also features a full web
browser and includes integrated search functions
to scan content available both from Boxee
service partners and HTML 5-based websites
on the Internet.
The Boxee Box is powered by Intel’s 1.2GHz
Atom processor, and includes integrated
802.11n Wi-Fi access and support for HD
video streaming, including full 1080p with 5.1-
and/or 7.1-channel audio.