Orby TV review

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Allconnect

Oct 30, 2020 — 7 min read

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Orby TV review summary 

  • Orby TV is a competitively priced satellite service that’s perfect for people without access to high-speed internet
  • Its base package features more than 40 popular channels
  • Premium add-ons like Cinemax and HBO are available for an extra monthly fee
  • The initial set-up can be costly with a dish, receiver and antenna all required
  • Unlike rival services, Orby TV doesn’t lock you into a lengthy contract
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What is Orby TV? A relatively recent addition to the satellite TV market, Orby TV is a simple way to watch over 40 well-known channels. Yes, it requires the installation of a dish, outdoor antenna and receiver, but once those costs are out of the way, the monthly price is pretty low. Another added advantage is that Orby TV doesn’t require you to sign an annual or multi-year contract, meaning you can cancel or pause your subscription whenever you feel like it. 

Choosing and using Orby TV is simple. Only one package is available and local channels are included for free in the TV guide. The selection is well-rounded, but it’s lacking in sports content. You also have the freedom to add a variety of extras, whether it’s DVR, 20+ extra channels or premium networks like STARZ

Orby TV channels

Orby’s single package comes with 44 channels — a much lower figure than some rival satellite or cable providers. There’s pure entertainment from the likes of AMC and Comedy Central and even a small selection of sports, courtesy of TBS and TNT. Kids will love the fact that the entire Nickelodeon selection is available to watch as well as Cartoon Network. And there’s plenty for documentary-lovers, whether it’s cuddly creatures on Animal Planet or a look back in time with History. Subscribers will also get 20 local channels on top of the aforementioned networks. These may vary depending on your area but tend to span national names like ABC, CBS and FOX along with other favorites such as The CW and PBS.

Here’s every channel available with Orby TV’s one and only package:


What channels are missing from Orby TV?

You may have noticed that several channels are absent from Orby TV’s line-up. Some of the biggest missing names include:

  • Bravo
  • Disney Channel
  • ESPN
  • FOX News
  • FS1
  • MSNBC
  • USA

There’s one simple reason to explain why these channels aren’t available with an Orby TV subscription: costs. The provider markets itself as a relatively low-cost streaming service. The more networks it adds, the higher the monthly price will be.

Orby TV has, at least, offered alternatives to most of the missing channels. Although several sports networks (including ESPN) aren’t on the list, you can still catch games via local channels and the likes of TBS and TNT. And children can watch an extensive amount of Nickelodeon content, instead of Disney-owned titles. When it comes to news, there are other options, too. CNN and Newsmax TV both come with the standard package.

Orby TV add-ons

Orby TV has a total of six add-ons to choose from. They range from premium networks like HBO and STARZ to an option that provides more than 20 additional channels. Oh, and you can pay for DVR storage — a must-have for any serious TV-watcher.

DVR

Orby TV charges an extra $4/mo. for package subscribers to record content. But if you ever get rid of the channels package to solely access local TV, you’ll have to pay $12/mo. for the DVR service.

Extras

The Extras add-on is an additional $10/mo. on top of your usual monthly fee. It’ll give you 24 extra networks, including BBC World News, Boomerang, Cooking Channel and even a few Spanish-language options.

Cinemax

The first of Orby TV’s premium add-ons is Cinemax. For $12/mo., you’ll get access to not only the main Cinemax channel but Action Max, More Max and 5 Star Max, too. 

Epix

The Epix add-on is Orby TV’s cheapest premium extra. It costs just $6/mo. and gives subscribers four Epix channels: Epix, Epix 2, Epix Drive-In and Epix Hits.

HBO

HBO is, of course, the priciest choice. So if you want access to HBO, HBO 2, HBO Comedy and HBO Signature, you’ll have to pay a further $18/mo.

STARZ

Finally, there’s STARZ. For $9/mo., Orby TV will give subscribers STARZ, STARZ Comedy, STARZ Encore and STARZ Encore Westerns.

Orby TV vs. other streaming services

DIRECTV and DISH Network are Orby TV’s two main competitors. But it does differ from them in a number of significant ways. For example, Orby TV doesn’t require you to sign up for a lengthy programming contract (although you will sign a contract to rent equipment). There are also no mysterious fees with an Orby TV subscription, and taxes are included in the advertised prices. But you will have to pay a three-figure sum for boxes and receivers at the beginning.

However, both DIRECTV and DISH come with tons more channels — hundreds compared to Orby TV’s 40+. Of course, this extensive line-up does come with a few downsides — namely, a much higher monthly price and potential multi-year commitments. Ultimately, Orby TV is a trimmed down service at a much more affordable price. Its rivals, on the other hand, are designed to please those who want the full TV experience with plenty of sports and international networks. 

Orby TV user experience

Orby TV prides itself on being user-friendly. Its set-top box has only one function: to watch regular TV. You won’t find any other apps or features — great if you love a simple life, but not so great if you’re heavily into the latest technology. The service does incorporate local channels into its satellite TV guide, though, making life much easier. And it does allow parents to block younger viewers from certain channels or ratings through a PIN. 

Up to four people can use Orby TV at any one time, and Orby TV remotes can be handily programmed to control your TV’s power, volume and inputs. However, there’s a catch: each user must have their own receiver, which can prove to be costly. Orby only works on TVs, so there’s also no way to watch on phones, computers or tablets. 

Video quality

Orby TV has a mixture of standard definition (SD) and high definition (HD) channels. Every local channel that the service offers is thankfully broadcast in HD. And generally, up to half of your overall channel list will be available in HD, depending on where you live. 

Orby TV app

Unfortunately, the Orby TV app only activates and controls your account — for example, to pause, stop or start your service. Orby users need a receiver to watch channels, meaning it’s only available on TVs. So if you were hoping to watch via any kind of mobile device, you’re out of luck.

How much is Orby TV?

Orby TV only offers one plan: the Essentials package. It costs $40/mo. for 44 channels with all taxes and fees included in that price. (You can combine the Extras add-on package with the Essentials for $50/mo.) However, that’s not the only thing you’ll have to pay for if you sign up for Orby TV.

The satellite service requires you to invest in a few pieces of equipment. You’ll need a satellite dish, a receiver for each TV and an outdoor antenna. Orby TV charges around $150 for installation of the dish and antenna — this price may increase if you want them wired to multiple rooms. The receivers are also pricey. The standard version costs around $100 each, with the DVR-capable receiver costing around $200. All in all, expect to pay a minimum of $250 for the initial set-up with the potential for a lot more if you’re looking to hook Orby TV up in several rooms. The company does occasionally offer installation discounts.

Alternatively, you can rent equipment from Orby TV. A standard receiver usually costs $15/mo. (with an extra $10/mo. for every additional receiver) and a DVR receiver is $20/mo. Unfortunately, you will have to sign up for a two-year contract if you rent.

Orby TV FAQs 

What channels come with Orby TV?

Orby TV includes more than 40 popular channels in its base package, including AMC, Nickelodeon and TBS. Around 20 local channels can also be yours — the total number of local networks does, however, vary by area. And if you sign up for any of Orby’s add-ons, you could receive over 80 networks in total, from Boomerang to HBO.

Is Orby TV any good?

Orby TV is great if you live in a rural area without high-speed internet and don’t want to be locked into a contract or don’t want to spend an exorbitant amount of money for basic TV. But be aware that you will have to splash out for equipment at the beginning of your subscription and won’t get the same channel range as other, more expensive, services. As Orby TV is a satellite service, there’s also a chance that you may experience a weak signal — especially if your satellite dish is anywhere near obstructions like trees. 

Is there an Orby TV free trial?

Orby TV offers a 30-day risk-free trial if you buy the equipment and installation directly from the service online or over the phone. If you’re not happy within this period, you can receive a full refund. (Note that this trial doesn’t include the monthly programming.) And if you buy Orby TV from another retailer, you’ll be bound by that retailer’s return policy. 

Do you need the internet for Orby TV?

Luckily, you don’t need an internet connection to access Orby TV’s satellite service.

Can I install Orby TV myself?

The provider recommends opting for its professional installation service. But if you’re comfortable with the installation process, you can buy a self-installation kit for around $70. 

Is there an Orby TV app?

Yes, but it doesn’t allow you to watch TV via mobile devices. Instead, the Orby TV app is solely reserved for controlling your account, whether that’s pausing your monthly autopay or stopping it completely.

Is there an Orby TV DVR?

Orby TV does have DVR capabilities, but it doesn’t have the biggest storage space. The hard drive can store up to 500 gigabytes (GB), which means you can record around 1,000 hours of SD TV and 100 hours of HD content. This feature isn’t free. Orby TV’s DVR receiver costs $199.99. Plus, you’ll have to pay $4/mo. on top of your monthly subscription or $12/mo. if you choose only to access local channels.

By Lauren Sharkey

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