Top 10 streaming TV apps for the iPad

There are a lot of great and popular streaming TV and movie apps for the iPad. Some are apps are free, some require a paid subscription, and others offer multiple pricing options. Below is a list 10 best options for getting streaming video content to your iPad tablet.

View attachment 2408 Content service providers offer apps for various platforms and they aren't always of the same quality or offer the same feature set. Until there is some uniformity there we may have to weigh what is more important, whether it be the feature-set or usability of the app itself, the price, the content availability, or a combination of all that or more.

I based the decisions below primarily on overall value, and weighed heavily on the popularity of each iPad app.

Crackle by Sony Pictures

The Crackle app is a free download and offers free content. With it, you get access to feature length movies and select TV shows. Crackle, Inc. is owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment so naturally most of the content will be of that which Sony has the rights to.

While it marketed towards men with video content in genres like: action, sci-fi, horror, crime and comedy, many women are users of the Crackle app as well.

Crackle has a primary goal of providing free un-cut content. More than just the iPad it is available for many other mobile devices and tablets, Smart TVs, streaming boxes, gaming consoles and online.

Online options include the Google Chrome app, YouTube, and Anyplace TV by Rogers.

Netflix app for iPad

Of course Netflix boasts a larger library than Crackle but because the content on Netflix requires a monthly subscription I ranked it number 2 rather than number 1.

Netflix has a $7.99 per month plan that offers 2 simultaneous content streams. This is a limitation set forth by requests by investors because of the amount of Netflix account sharing that presumably takes place. A new plan was brought forward for households that require more simultaneous connections. The new Netflix subscription plan now allows 4 streams at once for $11.99 per month which is still considered very reasonable based on the large content library, which includes Netflix exclusives.

Hulu Plus app

Hulu Plus is another free-to-download app with a great deal more content than Crackle but with a paid subscription ($7.99 per month, on par with Netflix). Many people are bothered by the fact that there is a subscription cost as well as commercial breaks within the content. Regardless, Hulu Plus is an extremely popular app with a large subscription base.

Hulu Plus is available to a much smaller audience (in terms of countries where it is available) than Netflix, but those that want fast access to recently played 'live' TV shows (often next day), really enjoy Hulu Plus for that content availability alone.

HBO Go free app

HBO Go is only available free to subscribers of HBO content. So, unlike some other apps that can fully cater to a cable-cutting audience, HBO Go requires a cable to be in tact. Having a paid HBO subscription, a user can bring the HBO experience with them on their iPad.

More than just what is on right now on HBO, past shows, full series, behind the scenes extras and more are also available when using the HBO Go streaming app.

YouTube app for iPad

Sure, YouTube can be used in the existing Safari browser just fine, but the iPad app provides a unique, more streamlined YouTube experience.

YouTube has what everyone knows that it has, which is videos uploaded by just about anyone from almost any walk of life. But there is more to YouTube than some realize. There is original scripted drama content on the WIGS channel with some of the shows starring Julia Stiles. Plus, as mentioned, Crackle has content on their very own YouTube channel.

YouTube has far surpassed (but is still a source of) content created with flip cams, webcams, and camera phones. Plenty of channels are professionally produced and have mass appeal and exposure. Clips from popular TV shows and talk shows are often presented on YouTube to reach a wider audience.

Xfinity TV Player app

Another free download that is tied to a paid account, the Xfinity TV Player app for iPad is for paying Comcast cable subscribers only. It gives you access to thousands of Xfinity On Demand TV shows and movies. In addition users can even download shows and movies from Showtime, Starz, MoviePlex and Encore for offline viewing from the iPad.

TV show and movie streaming opportunites open up from popular networks and even premium channels such as: HBO, Starz, Showtime, and Cinemax. Cable channels like TNT, TBS, Cartoon Network and BBC America can also be streamed with this app.

Interestingly, many of those who downloaded this free app from the iTunes store also purchased the "A Charlie Brown Christmas" app for $4.99.

DISH Anywhere for iPad

This app is similar to that of the Xfinity and HBO Go apps in that it requires a paid subscription with an 'offline' provider, in this case, DISH Network.

With Dish Anywhere you get access to live or recorded content, the same that you would get at home, but on the go on the iPad. You can also manage the at-home DVR even though you aren't there. The app also provides access to on demand and preminum content from the likes of HBO, Cinemax, Epix, plus other networks.

More TV streaming apps for the iPad

To round out the list of the top 10 apps for the iPad used for streaming video content we have: TWC which provided iPad access to content from a paid subscription to Time Warner Cable; the Crunchyroll iPad app provides a source of free Asian anime and dramas and with a paid version you get improved video quality and an ad-free experience; and for sports fans the WatchESPN app is a popular (limited by cable provider and sometimes ISP) choice for streaming TV on the iPad.


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