Orion from Halide makers turns USB-C iPads into HDMI monitors

The new Orion app lets you use your iPad as an external HDMI monitor for game consoles, video cameras and so on with a compatible USB-C capture card.

Monitoring eternal video capture with the Orion iPad app
Orion as a monitor for external video capture | Image: Lux Optics

This is possible because iPadOS 17 has unlocked support for the USB Video Class protocol, which lets the iPad connect to external capture devices like web cameras.

The new Orion app from the makers of the excellent Halide Camera software takes full advantage of this functionality to turn your iPad into a portable HDMI monitor for your web camera, gaming console, laptop or similar device.

You could even leverage Orion to use an iPad as an external HDMI monitor for video captures. All you need is a USB capture card. Orion includes recommendations for compatible capture cards within the app.

Orion turns your iPad into an external HDMI monitor

Video controls in the Orion iPad app
Buy a capture card to make the most of Orion | Image: Lux Optics

For those who don’t have a capture card, Orion includes a demo mode to explore its features. But if you do happen to own one, connect it to the iPad’s USB-C port.

Then, plug the video source, like a PlayStation 5 or your video camera, into the HDMI port on the capture card. That’s it—you can now use your iPad as an external monitor for, say, gaming or to monitor your web camera feed. The app features real-time 4K upscaling, so your Nintendo Switch gameplay and 1080p movies will look sharper.

Picture adjustment in the Orion iPad app
Visual effects and picture adjustments | Image: Lux Optics

Orion is especially useful when paired with a capture card and used for photography and video capture work. In this scenario, you can preview framing, focus, exposure, color and other imaging parameters of the iPad’s gorgeous display with Orion. You could even capture Screen Recordings of camera output if you wanted.

CRT emulation and other features

The CRT emulation feature is also nice, according to the Lux blog:

Orion was designed to emulate the joy of the peak of consumer electronics hardware in the 1980s. The app opens up to a cardboard box, letting the user unbox their new Orion Video System, and includes a retro manual for usage instructions. Orion also features a custom pixel font based on VCR on-screen displays for its in-app menus, as well as immersive, beautiful effects between screens based on vintage video hardware.

Demo mode in the Orion iPad app
Demo mode with retro graphics | Image: Lux Optics

Thanks to Apple silicon, Orion provides robust video controls, picture adjustment and customization options. For instance, you can darken the iPad’s display beyond native levels to use the monitor features in darker settings.

Visit the official Orion website for additional info.

Pricing and availability

Orion serves no ads, doesn’t track you and is free to download.

View Orion in the App Store

There’s an optional one-time $5 purchase to unlock advanced features like picture adjustment, AI-powered 4K upscaling and CRT emulation.

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