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Nokia adds Orb for go-anywhere TV

But for one phone only

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Nokia is bundling Orb's "MyCasting" client onto one of its smartphones, giving punters the chance to access their own TV subscriptions and music libraries on the go.

Today's announcement is for one phone, and one market only - the N80 Internet Edition Wi-Fi/3G slider phone soon to be launched in the USA - but the deal is sure to be closely watched by the wider industry. Vodafone launched an Orb trial deal in Germany this summer under the name "MeinFlo".

This year has seen plenty of hype about TV on mobile devices. Verizon's VCast and Sprint's Sprint TV offer clips and content in a range of subscription deals.

Vendors are pushing TV operators to adopt DVB-H and MediaFlo, a digital broadcast system optimised for mobile devices.

But why bother when you can simply use the cable subscription, and the channels it includes, that you already pay for? Orb requires a TV tuner card and a small run-time client on a Windows PC: that's enough to unlock music and photo collections, and streaming radio and TV broadcasts, for use on another PC or mobile device. Users can also remotely record TV shows and play them back later.

Widespread adoption of Orb would make operators' investments in high bandwidth multimedia services such as DVB-H fairly pointless.

We reviewed the N80 here and previewed the Internet Edition, here. ®

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