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Orby TV, LLC.
IndustrySatellite television
Founded2019; 2 years ago (2019) (as Orby TV)[1]
DefunctMarch 1, 2021; 5 months ago (2021-03-01)
Area served
Contiguous United States
ProductsPrepaid satellite pay television, streaming television

Orby TV was an American direct broadcast satellite provider based in Burbank, California. Founded in 2019, Orby transmitted digital satellite television and audio to households within the United States and territories on Pan-American satellite Eutelsat 117 West A. The company's primary competitors were Dish Network, DirecTV and cable television providers. Orby TV's CEO was Michael Thornton, the former chief executive officer for Starz, as well as former Programming Director at DirecTV.[2] On March 1, 2021, the company shut down and service ended abruptly due to the company running out of operating capital.[3] The company website was updated with a short text page recommending customers switch to DISH Network through a limited-time partnership discount.[4]

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The company was started in early 2019 by Michael Thornton, a former Starz executive who envisioned a low-cost satellite TV service built around the business model of prepaid mobile phones.

In September 2019, the company began offering its hardware for sale coupled with a free over-the-air antenna and pay TV packages starting at $40 a month.[5] Channels available at launch included general entertainment and lifestyle networks from ViacomCBS, A+E Networks, AMC Networks, WarnerMedia and Discovery Networks, among others. Premium movie networks HBO, Starz, Epix and Cinemax were also available for additional fees.

To receive service, prospective Orby TV customers first had to pay $100 for an Orby TV-branded satellite TV receiver and separately pay for professional installation of a satellite dish coupled with an over-the-air antenna.[6] The antenna was offered so Orby TV customers could receive free broadcast networks without Orby TV needing to negotiate carriage of those networks separately; Orby TV promised customers the over-the-air antenna would continue to work, even if customers stopped paying for a pay TV package.[7]

To keep operating and subscription costs low, Orby TV forged a lease agreement with Eutelsat,[8] which allowed it to rent transponder space without having to launch and maintain its own fleet of satellites.

By mid-2020, Thornton said Orby TV was reaching its break-even point, which was later revealed to be around 100,000 subscribers.[9] The company said it would launch support for TV Everywhere, which would allow customers to watch cable networks in their package on associated streaming apps.

In mid-February 2021, a notice on Orby TV's website said the company had stopped activating new customer accounts. A short time later, journalists noticed Orby TV receivers sold at Best Buy were deeply discounted and marked for clearance.[10] A few days later, the website began accepting new customers once again.[11]

On March 1, 2021, Orby TV announced via its website that the company was shutting down.[12] Customers with Orby TV dishes and receivers were asked to contact Dish Network for a special promotional offer.

It was later revealed Orby TV had run out of cash, and attempts to raise additional funds during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic were unsuccessful.[13]


Orby TV offered two packages: Essentials and Extras. Essentials includes 46 specialty channels, 20 of which were in high definition. The Extras package added 24 standard-definition specialty channels to the Essentials package, for a total of 70 channels. Orby TV derived the majority of its programming from the cable divisions of A&E Networks, Hallmark Entertainment, WarnerMedia, AMC Networks, ViacomCBS and Discovery, Inc.

The Orby TV satellite dish included a television antenna to receive local broadcast television stations (such as ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC), which allowed Orby TV to limit the amount of retransmission fees it paid to content distributors.[14][15][16][2] The local channels were unavailable via Orby TV satellite service, and availability varied per region.


  1. ^ "About Us | Orby TV". Orby TV. Retrieved May 28, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Orby TV Launched Pay-as-You-Go Satellite TV Service (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 28, 2020.
  3. ^ Keys, Matthew (March 1, 2021). "Orby TV shuts down after running out of cash". The Desk. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  4. ^ "Orby TV - $40 a Month High Quality Prepaid Satellite TV". Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  5. ^ "New U.S. Satellite Television Provider Orby TV Announces Senior Management Team for First-Ever Dedicated Prepaid Pay Television Service". September 5, 2019. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  6. ^ "Orby TV sees rapid growth since launching $40-a-month satellite TV service". The Desk. November 26, 2019. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  7. ^ "Orby TV sees rapid growth since launching $40-a-month satellite TV service". The Desk. November 26, 2019. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  8. ^ "Orby TV links up with Eutelsat for new prepaid satellite TV service in U.S." FierceVideo. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  9. ^ Keys, Matthew (March 1, 2021). "Orby TV shuts down after running out of cash". The Desk. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  10. ^ Baumgartner, Jeff (February 19, 2021). "Something's up at Orby TV". Light Reading. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  11. ^ Baumgartner, Jeff (February 23, 2021). "Orby TV website is back in action, touting a discount". Light Reading. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  12. ^ Balderston, Michael (March 1, 2021). "Satellite Startup Orby TV Shuts Down". TVTechnology. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  13. ^ "Exclusive: Pandemic hurt Orby TV's ability to raise new funds, CEO says". The Desk. March 2, 2021. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  14. ^ "Orby TV Review: 5 Things to Know Before You Sign Up". Clark Howard. November 1, 2019. Retrieved May 28, 2020.
  15. ^ Willcox, James K. "How Orby TV Is Targeting Cord-Cutters". Consumer Reports. Retrieved May 28, 2020.
  16. ^ (March 22, 2019). "About Us". Orby TV (in Spanish). Retrieved May 28, 2020.

This page was last edited on 3 June 2021, at 05:19
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