Many satellite and cable TV providers now offer apps that allow subscribers to watch programs on an iPad. Some limit you to video on demand, which allows you to watch programs after they have aired. But there are apps from providers like Cablevision and Time Warner that allow you to watch live TV.
So does the app from ESPN, which has another advantage: You can watch your shows away from home. That’s also true of other network apps, including those from HBO, Showtime, and PBS. But they provide video on demand only, no live programming.
Almost all the apps are free, at least to subscribers, but you could hit some other charges. If you’re streaming on a wireless data plan, you could easily run up to or even over your data limit. And some providers, like Comcast and Cox, have limits for home broadband plans. Still, you no longer have to be tethered to your television to enjoy your favorite shows.
If you have an iPhone or an iPod Touch, there are some apps available to watch TV on those, too, and there are even a few for Android phones. But if you get your television via satellite, there’s an additional charge. You’ll have to pay for either a subscription to a
high-definition DVR or buy a Slingbox adapter for $99.