The launch of iPadOS 17 this week includes a feature that allows any iPad with a USB-C charging port to serve as a monitor for displaying devices that output video over HDMI. In other words, you may never need to rely on using a crappy TV at a hotel or Airbnb again. Or, for those who don’t travel that much, your second-screen experience is about to get much better.
It hasn’t taken long for apps to come out that let you connect, say, your Nintendo Switch’s dock, a PS5, or even a PC to an iPad. All you need is Lux’s charming, retro-styled app called Orion, which is free to download, plus some kind of HDMI-to-USB-C capture card. (Lux recommends this $14.99 model.) Once you’ve connected your console or computer to your iPad as you would to a TV, there’s nothing more to it. I tried it with Genki’s Shadowcast USB-C capture card connected to my Sega Dreamcast (via a third-party HDMI solution — don’t ask, I went down a rabbit hole), and it worked perfectly.
Meet the Orion Video System. It’s an advanced new software application that turns your iPad into an HDMI monitor.— Sebastiaan de With (@sdw) September 20, 2023
We had a ton of fun making this. From unboxing (yes, really) to CRT emulation, to custom VCR OSD style typefaces. Get it now — it’s free. https://t.co/vxd7Aydc0l pic.twitter.com/kedtONhiM8
While the Orion app is free, there’s a $4.99 version that includes extra features, like AI-powered 4K upscaling, more picture settings, and a CRT filter that can emulate some visual fuzz on the iPad’s display.
As The Verge notes, iPadOS 17 introduced support for USB video class (UVC), and this support goes further than working with capture cards. You can connect things like webcams to use with iPads that have a USB-C charging port, too.