Apple approved an app that streams live TV over Wi-Fi, AT&T's EDGE and 3G connections. The updated version of OrbLive for iPhone which was previously Wi-Fi/EDGE only, now allows for the streaming of live TV, videos, music, and photos from your home PC to your iPhone over the 3G network.In the past, any iPhone apps that streamed live video were restricted by Apple. The apps could only use Wi-Fi or EDGE, and not AT&T's 3G network, if they wanted App Store approval. Yesterday, though,
Orb Networks is a company who makes software for streaming your media from your home PC to other devices including mobile phones, gaming systems like the Xbox and Wii, other internet-connected computers, and, of course, the iPhone. In order to use the service, you must first install the downloadable Orb software on your home's XP or Vista PC which will act as the media hub. If that PC has a TV tuner card installed, you can then stream live TV in addition to the other shared media on the computer to any internet-connected device. The media is accessed from the device's web browser by logging into a centralized portal at mycast.orb.com.
With the new iPhone app, available in both a free version and a paid version which allows for more control over what you watch (OrbLive free just streams random files), you can now stream your media over 3G in addition to Wi-Fi and EDGE. Given Apple's approval of this application, they've set a precedent for approving apps that stream live video over 3G. They could now no longer block approval to apps like Slingbox, for example, as doing so would be illegal and anti-competitive. If they approved the OrbLive app knowingly, then we can expect a slew of 3G-enabled live TV and streaming media applications in the near future.
Of course, the new OrbLive app may have been admitted into the App Store by mistake, so before shelling out the $9.99 to purchase it, you may want to wait and see if the app is yanked in the next few days. We hope that's not the case, because live TV on the iPhone over 3G would be truly incredible. But this is Apple, so you never really know.