Apps That Turn Your iPad into a TV

Most people realize that any computer with an internet connection can be used to streams movies, TV shows, and other video content. This is also true for the iPad. With apps like Netflix and Hulu, you pay a monthly fee to access a variety of media that (mostly) first appeared on Television. YouTube is also now competing for eyes-on-screen time, which was once dominated by broadcast television.

But what about live TV on the iPad?

Many TV channels can be streamed with an app from the owner, but the best one-stop shop for watching just about anything live is the TVCatchup app. It offers over 50 channels to watch for free, including the bulk of Freeview channels and all the big free channels from the major UK broadcasters. It's a free download, and the Universal app supports iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, so you can watch on any of them.

Giving you much less in the way of selection but keeping it simple, the BBC iPlayer app and ITV Player app both let you watch their respective channels directly through the apps, and in the case of iPlayer, you get a much better guide to what's on that through the minimal but effective interface of TVCatchup.

The BBC and ITV's offerings aren't the only official broadcaster apps to offer something along these lines. The Sky Go app allows Sky subscribers to watch up to 32 live channels, depending on their subscription. All the Sky Sports channels are available, along with Sky Movies and Sky's own other channels, including Sky1 and Sky Atlantic.

Tivo's Roamio Pro is a fairly expensive set-top box that also requires a monthly subscription charge. It allows full access to both live and recorded video from anywhere with an internet connection (by logging into the TIVO app on your iPad). 

Of course, any live stream is dependent on the quality of the internet connection. Most hotels and coffee shops offer an unsatisfactory viewing experience. But if you find yourself in a situation with a very fast broadband connection, life is good.