Sprint to bundle Orb media access with DSL

Sprint last week said it will offer its broadband customers a remote media access service from Orb Networks .

The service lets users remotely access media stored on home PCs from a Web browser. It requires a home PC running the Windows XP or Windows Media Center operating systems and supports multimedia files such as video, audio and images. It also adds an electronic program guide and access to live television if a PC is equipped with a TV tuner.

The Orb service provides a front-end interface to multimedia stored on a host PC and customizes it for delivery to devices such as other PCs, PDAs or cell phones. Sprint will offer the service under the name Sprint Personal Media Link.

Orb launched its own brand service in January based on a monthly subscription model. This was scrapped in late March in favor of a free service and hope that revenue would come from deals such as the Sprint one announced Monday.

The fee removal caused service growth to increase, says Joe Harris, vice president of marketing at Orb. "Going to free has kicked things off, but a small start-up is not going to drive a revolution unless we do some big marketing, so working with partners is critical for our success."

The company also is looking at e-commerce as a revenue stream and hopes to launch such a service soon, Harris says. Another possibility is promotions for TV programs with money paid for each user who watches or records a program, he says.

Williams is a correspondent with the IDG News Service.

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