|For those in the US who are fans of college basketball, March Madness has arrived! Just in time, a how-to guide on allowing you to view those games (or anything else) remotely on your cell phone, at work, or anywhere else where you have an internet connection, a web browser and a media player. Total media domination is at hand!|
Step 1: Install a Television Tuner Card
Television tuner cards are pretty easy to get a hold of these days. All of the big box retailers carry them, and they are even cheaper online. You have your choice between internal tuners and external tuners – which typically run over USB 2.0. External tuners used to be inferior to the internal ones, but these days they do quite a nice job and are great if you have a laptop.
Of course, you can only watch TV with whatever channels your cable package provides. The whole cable system and encoding system is rather complicated and beyond the scope of this article, but a general rule of thumb is that whatever your old CRT cable ready TV can get, your PC will be able to get too. High definition is still in the works (copyright concerns from the content owners) but it will be a while before we see this on our PC’s.
Once your tuner card is installed, test it with the software that came with it to make sure it is working properly before proceeding.
Step 2: Download and Install Orb
Visit the Orb Download Page and download the client in the language of your choice. Make sure to download the version with the program guide, unless you want to manually pick which channel you want without guide data.
During the Orb setup you will need to first set up an account (or log into an existing account).
Make sure to allow Orb to access the internet and press “accept” on any firewalls you may have. It will also ask you to have access to Skype.
Orb requires a pretty fast PC – hopefully you will see two green traffic lights as above. I’ve installed Orb onto a P4 1.4Ghz PC and it barely worked, sometimes I would get a video stream and sometimes I wouldn’t.
Step 3: Set up Orb to work with your Tuner Card
Once you are done with the initial setup, Orb will move into it’s TV configuration stage. This step is only possible if you have your TV Tuner card all ready to go.
Each home setup will be different, so follow the prompts to the best of your knowledge. I personally have a direct cable hookup with no set top box (STB). If you have any questions about this or any of the steps, be sure to post it in comments as there is a wealth of knowlege on this site willing to chip in and help out!
After the hardware part, you will pick your guide and channel map. Enter your Zip code and select your provider.
Around this stage, Orb will begin indexing your media – audio, video and documents. Don’t be alarmed, we will fine tune what Orb looks for later. It picks the most common configuration at this point and starts banging away.
At this point, you’ve finished the installer. But we aren’t quite done yet. We need to set up our network properly to stream media. Most locations have a firewall these days, so port forwarding is essential.
Begin by opening up the Orb control panel:
Right click and go into the “Media” tab and remove any directories you do not want indexed, and add any that you do want to be indexed (and available from anywhere!). It can be your movies folder, anything.
Then click the “More Info” tab. It should look as below:
Since lots of programs use port 80, I suggest changing this to 8080. We’ll need this port, and port 554 for Real/3GPin the next step. Login to your firewall and adjust the port forwarding settings to forward port 8080 and 554, TCP and UDP to your PC. In order to do this you will likely need to have set up a static IP address before. If you need any help with that just drop us a line in comments.
If you need to know your IP address on your network, it is pretty easy to do in XP and Vista. Go to Start->Run and type in “cmd” and press enter. Type “ipconfig” and look for your wired or wireless adapter – the IP address will be listed there.
Save all changes.
Step 4: Visit MyCast to launch your TV stream
Now for the fun part! Visit mycast.orb.com. This works in a number of web browsers – from your own PC to the Wii Opera Browser, from Maemo Portable to Pocket IE to Opera Mini and Mobile. Depending on your device, Orb will either display a flash applet, like on the internet tablet Nokia N800’s Mozilla based MicroB browser:
And the TV Guide:
This guide is both easy to use and also provides a lot of options.
I couldn’t take a screencap on the N800, I just received a Green Screen. But, the video is definately tolerable, it was displaying at maybe 15-20 frames per second.
Likewise, Windows Mobile has it’s own MyCast interface:
Video on Windows Mobile, depending on your connection, is tolerable. On a fast connection I got maybe 10 frames a second. Not stellar but definitely watchable.
On a personal note, last March I used my Windows Mobile phone over Edge to watch some NCAA Games at a wedding. Needless to say, there was a group of guys watching over the screen in the corner. Maybe not the smartest thing to do but definitely satisfying to know your geekiness is getting put to good use!
Of course Orb MyCast is available to any PC with a browser.
The interface is very complete, allowing you access to any media (videos, docs, TV streams … ) you have added to your library in the previous section.
Finally, MyCast is available on Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, and PS3. The browser is similar to the N800 but content typically plays in a flash applet. I’ve personally tested this on the Wii, and it works great.
Your media, where you want it on almost every device imaginable. It even works on your old cell phones as long as you have the ability to browse the web and watch 3GP videos. So how much does this product cost, you might ask? Well it is FREE! I have to wonder how a company can offer such a great product, for such a long period of time and not even offer a paid premium version of the product. Using Orb offers Total Media Domination, where ever you go. Check it out, you’ll be glad you did! Just don’t get caught watching the game at a wedding!