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Orion turns your iPad into an external HDMI display

Published Sep 20th, 2023 5:59PM EDT
Orion turns iPad into an external HDMI display
Image: Orion/Lux

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The creators of Halide just announced Orion, a new app that turns any iPad running iPadOS 17 into an external HDMI display. It allows users to connect a camera, video game console, Game Boy camera, or even VHS to their iPad for a larger display experience.

Orion is free to download and only requires a USB-C hub with video input – Halide says there are many options for under $20. Over the past few months, BGR showed a few examples of how iPadOS 17 would bring more capabilities to the iPad, such as for playing Nintendo Switch.

During beta testing for iPadOS 17, we said users would need a USB-C hub in addition to an app to turn the iPad into an HDMI display. Now, Orion has just taken care of the app part. Here’s how developer Sebastiaan de With describes his app:

We built this to scratch a few itches. First, in professional cinematography, it’s common to connect an external screen to your camera to get a better view of the action. Orion not only gives you a bigger screen, but you can even share screenshots with your crew with a couple of taps.

We also built this for… pure fun. When traveling with a Nintendo Switch, it’s a delight to play games on a bigger screen, especially alongside friends.

Orion turns iPad into an external HDMI displayImage source: Orion/Lux

By turning your iPad into an HDMI display, you can take advantage of the iPad’s bright display (which can become incredibly dark in low-light environments) and HDR support.

To upgrade the experience, the Orion app offers a one-time $5 payment which unlocks AI upscaling, CRT emulation for retro games, other image adjustments, and whatever else Sebastiaan decides to add in the future. He believes the app will be complete after a few updates, but he’ll keep it up-to-date so it doesn’t break when a future iPadOS version arrives.

In a blog post, the developer tells a bit more of the story behind the product and even recommends a few accessories for your iPad when using it as an external display.

You can find Orion in the App Store for free.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.