Orby TV Review: 5 Things to Know Before You Sign Up

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Orby TV receiver, dish and program guide
Image Credit: Orby TV / Clark.com

If you want to lower your pay TV bill, maybe you’ve seen the ads for Orby TV and wondered if it’s a good option.

Team Clark has received several questions about Orby TV since it launched in early 2019, so I reached out to a company spokesperson to get some answers for you.

In this article, I’ll review how the service works, the pricing, available channels and other key features. Let’s get started…

Orby TV Review

  1. What Is Orby TV?
  2. How Does Orby TV Work?
  3. How Much Does Orby TV Cost?
  4. What Channels Do You Get With Orby TV?
  5. Can I Get Orby TV Where I Live?

1. What Is Orby TV?

Orby TV is a satellite TV service like Dish Network and DIRECTV, not an internet-based live TV streaming service.

The small, privately held company is based in Los Angeles, California. Its CEO and co-founder Michael Thornton is a TV industry veteran who previously worked for Starz.

The new service is targeting people who either can’t afford or don’t have access to high-speed internet service, which is required to use streaming services like YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV.

Since an internet connection isn’t needed for satellite TV, the service may appeal more to people in rural areas.

2. How Does Orby TV Work?

Although you don’t need an internet connection with Orby TV, you’ll have to invest in a few things to get started: a receiver, satellite dish and an outdoor antenna.

Satellite dish, antenna and receiver (Image: Orby TV)
Satellite dish, antenna and receiver (Image: Orby TV)

Orby sells the equipment and partners with MasTec Advanced Technologies to install the dish and antenna, typically on your roof. The antenna is attached to the dish and is used to pick up your local channels.

Once you’re set up, you’ll use a remote to access local and satellite channels from the same on-screen program guide.

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Orby TV program guide (Image: Orby TV)
Program guide (Image: Orby TV)

3. How Much Does Orby TV Cost?

Orby’s monthly price is lower than its satellite competitors and roughly the same as streaming providers, but the startup costs can still be significant.

One-time fees will set you back at least $250 and monthly charges start at $40. Here’s a closer look:

Startup Fees

The two main startup fees are for purchasing the receivers and professional installation.

Orby TV offers two different types of receivers: The standard TV receiver costs $100 and the DVR-capable receiver is $200. You must purchase an additional receiver for every room where you want to use the service.

These receivers are sold at retailers like Best Buy, select Target locations and online at OrbyTV.com. Sometimes you can find them on sale.

In addition to the receivers, you’ll have to pay at least $150 to have the satellite dish and outdoor antenna installed by the professionals at MasTec Advanced Technologies.

That $150 price includes the dish, antenna and wiring to a single room, but it’s $50 extra for each additional room.

When you add up the one-time expenses, it will cost a minimum of $250 to get started if you purchase the $100 receiver for a single room and pay $150 for installation.

A self-installation kit is available for $70, though Orby strongly recommends that you hire a pro.

Monthly Charges

As far as monthly charges, Orby TV offers two packages: Essentials and Extras. The Essentials plan is $40 per month and the Extras plan is $50 per month, both for up to four rooms.

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What makes this service different is that taxes and fees are included in that price — what you see is what you pay.

There are also no contracts if you purchase your equipment. Customers prepay for a month of service and decide at the end of the paid month if they want to continue.

Editor’s note: At the time of this writing, Orby TV required a 24-month commitment for those who rent (not buy) the equipment.

Add-On Fees 

The main add-on fee is for DVR and I’m not referring to the more expensive receiver. You must pay an additional $4 per month for DVR service if you have a programming package.

If you drop the programming package and want to just record local channels, the cost is $12 a month for DVR service.

Other than that, Orby TV’s add-on fees are for premium channels like HBO, Cinemax, Starz and Epix. You must have a base package to sign up for those networks.

4. What Channels Do You Get With Orby TV?

Orby TV offers fewer channels than a traditional cable or satellite provider, which is why the monthly price is so low.

To keep costs down for consumers, Orby TV doesn’t include expensive sports networks like ESPN as part of its channel lineups. That will be a dealbreaker for some and a savings opportunity for others.

Local channels like ABC, CBS and FOX will vary because they’re picked up by the outdoor antenna, not the satellite dish.

Orby TV Channel Lineups

Essentials: $40/month Extras: $50/month
A&E A&E
AMC AMC
American Heroes
Animal Planet Animal Planet
BBC America BBC America
BBC World News
BET BET
BET Gospel
BET Her
BET Jams
BET Soul
Boomerang
Cartoon Network Cartoon Network
CMT CMT
CNN CNN
CNN en Español
CNN International
Comedy Central Comedy Central
Cooking Channel
Crime + Investigation
CSPAN CSPAN
CSPAN 2 CSPAN 2
Destination America
Discovery Discovery
Discovery Español
Discovery Family
Discovery Life
DIY Network
Familia
Food Network Food Network
FYI FYI
Great American Country
Hallmark Channel Hallmark Channel
Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
HGTV HGTV
History Channel History Channel
History en Español
HLN HLN
IFC IFC
Investigation Discovery Investigation Discovery
Lifetime Lifetime
LMN (Lifetime Movies) LMN (Lifetime Movies)
Logo
LRW (Lifetime Real Women)
Military History
 MotorTrend MotorTrend
MTV MTV
MTV Classic
MTV2 MTV2
NEWSMAX NEWSMAX
Nick Jr Nick Jr
Nick Teen Nick Teen
Nick Toons
Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite
OWN OWN
Paramount Network Paramount Network
Science Science
Sundance TV Sundance TV
TBS TBS
TCM (Turner Classic Movies) TCM (Turner Classic Movies)
TLC TLC
TNT TNT
Travel Channel Travel Channel
TruTV TruTV
TV Land TV Land
VH1 VH1
VICELAND VICELAND
We TV We TV
Last Updated: October 27, 2019

Here’s my suggestion: Make a list of your must-have channels and compare it to Orby TV’s list.

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Orby’s startup costs are higher than streaming services, so you want to take this step seriously. Be sure that everyone in your household will be happy with the channels that are included and those that aren’t.

See this tool to learn about the local channels you’re likely to receive with the outdoor antenna.

5. Can I Get Orby TV Where I Live?

To ensure reliable service, the satellite dish must be placed in a location with a clear view to the south.

According to this FAQ page, if you already have a satellite dish on your home or a neighbor has one, there’s a good chance that Orby TV will work where you live.

Orby can also be installed at apartment and condo complexes, but you may need to request special permission.

Since this is a satellite TV service, trees and other obstructions may block the signal. You can also expect to experience service interruptions during severe weather events.

Orby is available in all U.S. states except Hawaii and Alaska.

Final Thought 

Orby TV is an affordable option for the millions of Americans who don’t have reliable high-speed internet service where they live.

But if you’re already paying for high-speed internet, you’re probably better off trying out a live TV streaming service like YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV or Sling TV first.

Those streaming services also cost around $50 per month, but the startup expenses are much lower.

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If you’ve signed up for Orby TV and have an experience to share, Team Clark wants to hear from you! Leave your Orby TV customer review in the comments below.

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