orbLogo_02.jpgOur colleague Mike Langberg today takes an even-handed look at Orb Networks, the Emeryville start-up that claims it can connect you to your music, video and other files wirelessly, via any device. Turns out Orb is a good start, but isn’t quite ready for most potential customers. It’s just the latest example of a Silicon Valley start-up going after what some have summed up as the “digital living environment,” a broad term that is more accurate than the much-maligned “digital living room”. Maligned, because much of the living room is now accessible from outside the home. Morgenthaler Ventures led a $4 million investment into Orb Networks, just one in a string of companies Morgenthaler’s partner Gary Little has pumped money into as part of the firm’s initiative to target such personal technology. Others he’s invested in are the file-sharing company SNOCAP, and the stealth file-sharing company imeem.

Others VCs are on the prowl too. Mayfield Fund has just hired a new partner, Raj Kapoor, specifically to exploit opportunities surrounding things like Internet Protocol Television in the home. For example, Kapoor is mulling over a way to deliver a photo viewing application, something akin to a “family channel”, where a family has its own dedicated TV channel to view photos of relatives.

UPDATE: Changed to reflect the new headquarters of Orb.