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You don't need Steve Jobs' permission to watch TV on your iPhone any more. A native Orb client for the iPhone and iPod Touch popped up on the installer networks overnight, and Orb confirms that it's official.

The client software allows you to watch live TV on an iPhone or Touch wherever you are, in addition to your music. You'll need a TV card or adaptor for your PC, of course, to get the live TV. So provided you have an internet connection, there's no need to perform DIY transcoding using software such as Visual Hub. The client will even transcode the video stream nicely for 2.75G Edge networks. Orb does in software what Sling Media does in hardware.

One of the drawbacks of the iPhone/Touch is the narrow choice of supported video formats - a strange omission in what is the best personal media player on the market. But then it's not so strange when you consider Apple's ambitions to sell you TV shows and movies - which you've already paid for with your cable subscription.

Orb effectively fixes this problem, as the transcoding is performed "in the cloud" transparently.

And it looks a bit like this:


Can't see the video? Download Flash Player from Adobe.com

Since last December, you've been able to access your own media files on an iPhone or Touch via the built-in Safari browser - YouTube example here - but the native client makes it much easier and slicker.

iPhone and Touch owners with jailbroken devices will be able to see the Orb client in Apptap's Recent list, and in the Multimedia category after that.

The hacker community has done wonders to make Apple's excellent devices even more attractive and useful, and Orb reminds us how important this "unofficial" software channel is. Let's hope it flourishes when the "official" SDK is launched next month.

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