Best iPad apps for the TV and Movie fan

So you've just taken in a shiny new iPad. Great, but you'll soon realise that on its own the iPad doesn't do that much.

We've scoured the 3,500 dedicated iPad apps to bring you what we think are the best iPad apps available at the moment (early April) to get you started when it comes to TV and video, and help you make the most of that brilliant 9.7-inch screen.

We've tried, tested and reviewed all the iPad apps below ourselves rather than just guessing whether they are good or not. Now grab the popcorn.

Sky Go

It's clear that Sky is taking the tablet and smartphone revolution very seriously. Its Sky News app, released back in March, impressed us greatly and initial impressions of the iPad version of Sky Go are equally as striking. Flicking between channels is done nicely, as you're presented with an EPG and a mini TV - much like you get with Sky HD in your living room - so you can carry on watching something whilst you look for something better although with only a handful of channels to being with that doesn't take too long.

A killer feature of the app is AirPlay support - meaning that you can beam the action from your iPad straight to your Apple TV and onto your big screen. So, by sticking the little black hobby box in your bedroom you can go multi-room with your Sky, without paying extra for the privilege - yes we know you don't get all the channels but you get a selection of premium ones. HDMI out via the iPad 2 isn't supported, however. Read More

iTunes: Link

Price: Free with Sky Go subscription

Rating: 4/5

 

Movie Vault

If you are one of the many who believe that a lot of films these days have got it all wrong, with too much violence and a plot as thin as a, eh, particularly thin rake, then this is the app for you. Movie Vault brings together the best of classic cinema in one handy app, allowing you to stream movies at a moments notice to you iPhone/iPod.

There are over 1000 movies available to watch and the interface is all pretty straightforward, with swipe navigation and the ability to browse movies by genre, keyword, actor or director - it all looks nice too, with true cover art and info from IMDB. Read More

iTunes: Link

Price: £1.99

Rating: 4/5

 

AirVideo

AirVideo is a dual iPhone and iPad app that lets you stream movies and videos from a Mac or PC  to your iPad (and iPhone) so you don't have to worry about filling up your precious storage space.

Working over your wireless network, it requires you to have the AirVideo server software installed on the host PC/Mac (it's free and takes 2 seconds to set-up) and then you can stream at the press of the button. It will support virtually all video files, even though the iPad doesn't, and if the iPad doesn't support the video file, it will live convert it for you so you still can. Now you can watch your entire collection without the need to transfer it.

There are some drawbacks, mainly that the better the host machine the faster the service you'll get from it, and bigger files do take a little time to get started. But as a way to give you to access far more films that you could store on the device, this is a great app to have.

iTunes: Link

Price: £1.99

Rating: 4/5

 

IMdb

We've all been there. That moment where you are watching a movie and you see an actor that you recognise but just can't place. Here IMdb turns your iPad into a massive movie database so you can quickly search a movie and solve the riddle at the press of a button.

While the app will give you wealth of features like latest on what's coming to the cinema and the top 250 movies of all time. It's most helpful when its giving you the biography of actors that you are trying to place.

Find the movie, find the actor and then you get their page detailing their life story, with pictures, trailers, and links to buy the any of their movies from Amazon if you're that way inclined.

Never again will you have the pain of knowing you've seen them, but for the life of you not remembering where.

iTunes: Link

Price: Free

Rating: 4.5/5

 

Rowmote Pro

While Apple offers it's own iTunes / Apple TV remote for free for the iPhone, it hasn't got around to offering a dedicated iPad version yet, so if you want to control your music or videos from the couch you've got to double up the iPhone app - not great.

Rather than just let you control iTunes, the Rowmote Pro app lets you control your whole computer from your armchair, be it VLC or EyeTV, iTunes, Hulu Desktop, Boxee, and a stack of more serious office type applications like PowerPoint or Safari (we mention that because you can then use it as an excuse you're getting it for work).

When it comes to the remote functions (i.e., play/pause skip etc) the iPad doesn't use the screen to its full potential disappointingly, however we do like the added keyboard and trackpad support available at the press of a button - that turns your iPad into a massive trackpad to control your mouse.

There is Apple TV support, however you'll have to hack your set-top box from Apple to get this to work, suggesting the best possible option is to connect your computer to your TV and run it that way.

iTunes: Link

Price: £2.99

Rating: 3.5/5

 

TV Catchup

Not an app per se, TV catchup is still worth a look and an icon on your home page if you want to watch television in the UK on your iPad.

The trick here is to ignore the main website (it won't work as it needs Flash) and head over to the iPhone.Catchup.com website instead, get yourself a login and then get ready to watch any of the Freeview channels on your iPad without any fuss.

While the channel section choice is iPhone formatted, pressing play on one of the icons loads up the channel which is then automatically played full screen: don't worry you can get rid of your browser address bar by pressing the full screen icon.

Channels available include: BBC one, BBC two, ITV 1, Channel 4, Five, ITV 2, Five USA, E4, ITV 3, ITV 4, More 4, BBC Three, BBC Four, Fiver, Film 4, BBC News, cbbc, C ITV, Channel 4 +1, E4 +1, ITV 2 +1, Ceebies, 4 Music, More 4 +1, ITV 3 +1, ITV 4 +1, Film 4 +1, and BBC Parliament.

It's a live stream so you can't record from it, but you can pause it if you need a wee break.

iTunes: Link

Price: Free

Rating: 4.5/5 

 

Joost

Yep it's still going and yep it has a dedicated iPad app so you can watch the latest Joost videos for free when you're bored at home with nothing on the television.

It's a fairly basic app, but you'll get a selection of staff picks, most popular videos, the ability to browse genres, and search for stuff.

While some of the content is country specific (mainly the films), most is available to everyone. Oh and we know, while you might not openly admit it, you'll be seduced by He-Man the cartoon streamed to your new tablet computer.

iTunes: Link

Price: Free

Rating: 4/5 

 

Vimeo and YouTube

YouTube is a dedicated app already installed on your iPad that will let you surf the site's featured videos, its top rated offerings, its most viewed, your favourites, your subscriptions, your videos that you've actually uploaded from elsewhere and your viewing history. It's basic, but works well, giving you a laugh when you need it.

Vimeo's opted for an iPad friendly video site, rather than a dedicated app for the time being and it is also worth a look around. The Vimeo HD videos full screen are just amazing.

iTunes: Link

Price: Free

Rating: 4.5/5

 

Netflix, ABC player

One for our US readers, the Netflix app will let you stream movies directly to your iPad without you having to wait for them in the post. You'll have to have a subscription of course, but it begs the question of why you would ever want to buy any films ever again.

Meanwhile the ABC player will give you the chance to watch full episodes of your favourite ABC shows again. That means Lost, Grey's Anatomy, Modern Family, Desperate Housewives and more.

iTunes: Link / Link

Price: Free

Rating: 8/10

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