Orby TV set to relaunch with faith-based programming

Defunct satellite television service Orby TV is set to make a return — this time, with a line-up of faith-based and family-friendly programming.

A new version of the Orby TV website that launched this week is promising access to the Christian Broadcasting Network, Great American Country and the conservative-leaning news networks Newsmax and One America News Network, among other stations.

The programming line-up is a far departure from what Orby TV once offered when it first launched in early 2019. Then, the prepaid satellite service offered channels from ViacomCBS (now Paramount Global), AMC Networks, A+E Networks, Discovery Networks and WarnerMedia.

None of those programmers appear to be part of the forthcoming Orby TV revival, according to a channel list reviewed by Fierce Video on Friday.

Orby TV launched in 2019 with a business strategy that its then-CEO Michael Thornton said was modeled off the prepaid phone industry. Customers purchased set-top boxes for $100 each, then paid around $120 for installation of a satellite dish and over-the-air antenna. After installation, customers signed up for a package of general entertainment and news channels, starting at $40 a month. Over-the-air broadcast channels were free to receive, even if a customer didn't keep their Orby TV subscription active.

The coronavirus pandemic hurt Orby TV's ability to raise a new round of investment funding, and the service shut down last March. It declared bankruptcy within a few days of going offline. Last August, a Florida-based satellite broadcaster called Disitron Satellite Group acquired the rights to the Orby TV brand and its remaining equipment as part of the bankruptcy proceedings.

The revived website shows a Disitron subsidiary called Upcom Technologies intends to start services under the Orby TV brand name. The new Orby TV website was first spotted on Friday by Robbie Strike, a YouTube personality who covers the free-to-air satellite broadcast industry.

It was not clear when Orby TV intends to start offering service to customers, or how much the company will charge for access to its faith-based programming line-up. An inquiry sent to an e-mail address on Orby TV's website went unreturned as of Friday afternoon.