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Orb offers easy media streaming

Newly free web service streams your media to many devices

If you've got a big collection of digital music and video, you know that bringing it with you when you roam can be a hassle. Large media files can quickly overload a notebook's hard drive and they certainly won't fit on most cell phones or PDAs.

That's where Orb Networks comes in. The web-based service streams music, video and photos from your Windows XP PC to other web-connected devices, including any notebook, many PDAs (generally including PocketPCs, but not Palms) and Microsoft Smartphone mobile phones. If your home PC has a TV tuner, you can even watch live television on your portable device.

We tested the service, which recently became free, using both a notebook and a Nokia 6620 mobile phone. We found that it worked remarkably well for such a new technology.

To access your content, you first download and install the Orb application on the PC that will be hosting your files. From your mobile device, you can then sign into your account on the Orb website and access your files through a spartan, but clear folder system.

In addition to showing the media files on your own PC, Orb shows you content (some free, some paid) from providers such as Audible and Beatport. The company plans to make money by selling customers content.

Orb uses the processing power of your host Windows PC to scale your content so the service can transport it over the network you're using and fits it on your portable device's screen.

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