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iPad app options for watching TV

May 11, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Do you watch TV shows live or streaming? One in 10 Americans is watching television shows on something other than a TV. Leading the way in online viewing is Apple's iPad. Here's a look at the new providers and how the services differ.

Consumer Reports Electronics Editor Paul Reynolds says 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 -- that is watching after the programs have aired," said Reynolds. "But there are apps from providers like Cablevision and Time Warner that do allow you to watch live TV."

So does the app from the ESPN network. An advantage with the ESPN app is that you can watch your shows away from home. That's also true of other network apps, including HBO, Showtime and PBS. But those only provide video on demand, no live programming.

"While almost all these apps are free, at least to subscribers, you could hit some other charges," said Reynolds. "If you're streaming on a wireless data plan, you could easily run up or even over your data limit. And some providers, like Comcast and Cox, even have limits for home broadband plans that you'll need to pay attention to as well."

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 even a few for Android phones. But be aware that 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.