Best iPad apps to turn your tablet into a TV

Whether you are laid up in bed, or merely trying to avoid having a second TV in your bedroom - in the bath, your spare house, the car, or anywhere else for that matter - and if you've got an iPad, then there are plenty of apps that will help it become an iPad TV all of its own.

Here are the best iPad TV apps in the UK to make you get the most of that 9.7-inch, portable screen.

BBC iPlayer for iPad

One of the first places to start is with the BBC iPlayer for iPad app that will allow you to catch up on the last seven days of BBC shows as well as listen to and watch live streams of the Beeb's channels.

Sadly, thanks to licensing laws, you won't be able to catch up with or watch everything on the BBC, but it should be more than enough to keep you entertained. Those with young kids will find access to hours Octonauts enormously helpful.

Price: Free

iTunes: Link

Rating: 5/5

 

ITV Player for iPad

Like the BBC iPlayer iPad app, ITV also has the ITV Player iPad app that lets you catch up on what's going on. But you can't watch any live streams and you are only able to use the app over a Wi-Fi connection. Still that shouldn't stop you from watching your favourite ITV shows from ITV1, ITV2, ITV3, ITV4, and CITV which include...um...yeah. 

The app also lets you see what shows are "Most watched" and shows that you shouldn't "Miss". The interface is clean and easy to use, although you will have to watch adverts. If you're worried that your little ones might get into The Only Way Is Essex, don't, you can parental lock shows with a pin to make sure that even if they want to they can't.

Price: Free

iTunes: Link

Rating: 4/5

 

4oD on iPad

Yep, 4oD is Channel 4's catch up app and like iPlayer and ITV player lets you view shows that have already aired on Channel 4. It's approach is slightly different in that you have can go back in time for around a month - meaning you really do get the chance to catch up on TV shows you might have missed if your friends are only just recommending them now three episodes in.

The app itself is spilt up into easy-to-understand sections including big and popular TV shows (Inbetweeners, Rules of Engagement, Desperate Housewives) as well as alphabetical listings or just shows the Channel 4 team think you should be watching.

Price: Free

iTunes: Link

Rating: 4/5

 

Demand 5 for iPad

Channel 5's Demand 5 for iPad app is a lot more basic than the other terrestrial channels in the UK, but still lets you catch up on all your favourite Channel 5 TV shows be they Aussie soaps Neighbours and Home and Away or World's Toughest Trucker.

Sadly the app doesn't include shows from Channel 5's sister channels 5USA and 5star. Like ITV and 4oD, you will be expected to watch adverts before you start viewing

Price: Free

iTunes: Link

Rating: 3/5

 

Sky Go

If you are a Sky customer, you can use the Sky Go app to live stream Sky News, Sky Atlantic, Sky Sports, and Sky Movies to your iPad, so you can watch away from your main Sky box and therefore living room whether your are on Wi-Fi or 3G.

The app will automatically adjust the quality of the picture based on your connection speed and you can even share the image out to an Apple TV and therefore your TV in a hotel room if you don't want to watch it on the iPad itself.

What makes the app even more appealing is that it also comes with Anytime+ allowing you to access hundreds of movies on demand at the press of a couple of buttons. Very cool.

Price: Free but will need Sky subscription

iTunes: Link

Rating: 5/5

 

TVCatchup

If the apps above allow you to catch up on TV shows over the last month, TVCatchup will literally turn your iPad into a Freeview TV box without having to buy anything. The idea is to download the app, set up an account, and then that automatically gives you access to around 50 channels Including BBC One, ITV, Channel 4, Five, Dave, CBeebies, 4Music, movies4men and Film4 to watch as they are streamed live.

Although the name of the app suggests it, there isn't any way of watching past shows and you must be in the UK to use the service. In what is probably a surreal move, if you have an Apple TV you can use the app to stream the TV shows you are watching back to your TV.

Price: Free

iTunes: Link

Rating: 5/5

 

Netflix

While the focus on the adverts is all about letting you catch up on the latest films on your iPad, Netflix's crowing glory, for us, is letting you watch box set after box set of some of the great TV shows of our time. Everything from Dexter to Breaking Bad, to other TV shows are all here and all ready to be streamed to your iPad when your are in bed struggling to get to sleep.

While the app is free, take note that Netflix in the UK comes with a £5.99 a month subscription cost, but for that you can watch as many films or episodes as you want. The app itself is easy to use, and if you want to stop your movie or show half way through, the app remembers where you took a break so that next time you fire it up you can carry on where you left off.

Price: Free

iTunes: Link

Rating: 5/5

 

Lovefilm

The Lovefilm app taps into the company's hugely successful DVD-by-post rental service as well as letting you watch some films straight away by streaming them over your Wi-Fi connection as long as you have the latest version of iOS (4.3) installed.

The app is simple enough to use, although, like Netflix, you will need to be a paying member (£5.99) to use it. Sadly there isn't a TV-out or AirPlay option so you can't watch your movies on the big screen.

Price: Free

iTunes: Link

Rating: 4/5

 

SlingPlayer Mobile for iPad by Sling Media

While there are several "catch up" apps that allow you to simply access TV via the broadcasters, there are also a number of apps that, combined with some hardware, give you considerably more power to watch television on your iPad even though it hasn't a stonking big aerial or satellite dish sticking out of the back.

The Slingbox app for iPad is one such. Buy the accompanying box of tricks (around £150), plug it into your DVD player, Freeview box, or Sky HD box and you can then intercept and stream the signal to your iPad from anywhere in the world as long as the source box and you are connected to the internet.

The beauty here is that you can also change channel even if you happen to be on the other side of the world. Trips to foreign countries where the TV "ain't no good" will never be the same again.

Price: £20.99

iTunes: Link

Rating: 5/5

 

EyeTV by Elgato Systems

EyeTV is a similar proposition from Elgato Systems to the one from Sling Media, although works in a slightly different way using your computer as the hub rather than just a box of tricks underneath your TV. 

Rather than just streaming whatever you are feeding it - like Slingbox does your Sky EPG for example - EyeTV alongside software on your Mac provides you with a channel guide info and the ability to record programmes on your computer.

That comes with its pros and cons compared to a standalone system, but it is considerably cheaper to set up.

Price: £2.99

iTunes: Link

Rating: 4/5

Vimeo

No doubt your familiar with Vimeo and its video hosting website. It's like the posh version of YouTube. Vimeo's app enables you to search the site's extensive libraries, comment on videos, like videos and share videos with your pals on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and the like. However, the video watching option is just a very small part of what is a very impressive app indeed. It's also a full video editing package.

 

 

You can combine, edit, and trim your videos and also add effects, titles and transitions. You can even add music or sound recordings from a built in library or by using Wi-Fi or a USB iTunes connection. When you're done playing Hollywood you can save the edited videos to your camera roll or upload them directly to Vimeo (in SD or HD). And all for nada. Read More

iTunes: Link

Price: Free

Rating: 5/5

 

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: £1.49

Rating: 4/5

Know any really good apps for letting you watch television from your iPad? Let us know in the comments below. 



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