With the iPad’s large screen and light weight, it makes it the ideal device for watching movies and TV shows lying in bed, on the go, or pretty much anywhere you want to. That said, Apple’s embargo on flash makes it difficult to find a lot of content to stream online.
We’ve put together a comprehensive list of some of the major websites and apps you can use to watch TV shows, movies, documentaries, and much much more.
Some of the sites can only be accessed from their country of origin, so unfortunately not everyone can watch the latest network TV video on their iPad.
ABC (USA only)
ABC is one of the few network channels that has a dedicated app [iTunes link] where you can watch full episodes on your iPad. ABC’s show list includes popular shows like Modern Family, Cougar Town and Grey’s Anatomy. They also have a separate app [iTunes link] for news buffs who like to get the latest news from CBS.
Bravo (USA only)
Bravo’s iPad app [iTunes link] allows you to watch clips from their shows. The clips aren’t very long at 30 seconds, but if you’re a fan of Bravo’s reality shows you might like to watch short videos when you have a little bit of time to kill. Unfortunately, if you want to watch full episodes on your iPad, you’ll have to pay.
TBS (USA Only)
The TBS iPad app [iTunes link] has the same limitations as the Bravo app – you can only watch short clips from each show. But with shows like The Office and Family Guy, we’ll take what we can get, even if the app hasn’t really been optimised for the iPad’s larger screen.
The Ellen Show
If you’re a fan of The Ellen Show, you can watch clips from the latest episodes on the official website or by downloading the free app [iTunes link]. The iTunes app while compatible with the iPad has not been optimised for the larger screen. Of course this does not affect video playback.
The NBC mobile website leaves a lot to be desired, but if you’re a fan of their shows, you can at least watch short clips on your iPad. The size of the screen is not optimised for the iPad, but this does not affect the videos themselves.
TVCatchup (UK Only)
TVCatchup is one of the best websites for UK residents to watch TV shows live as they are aired. With BBC, ITV, Sky and much more, their iPad optimised site makes it easy to find what you want to watch. If you’d rather watch your favourite BBC shows at any time, you can use the BBC’s iPlayer.
The History Channel
The History Channel is another of the few channels that allows you to watch full episodes of a large selection of their shows on their website. They even have a large selection of Halloween related videos on their front page at the moment.
Watch clips of up to 10 minutes in length on the National Geographic website on your iPad. Topics are varied from videos about animals, environmental issues, news, and kid-friendly videos, and much more.
Sports fans can watch news and game clips from all the latest in sporting events on the ESPN and the Sports Illustrated websites.
Muviez [iTunes link] is a free iPad app that allows you to stream a small selection of independent shorts using your WiFi connection, and you can even download the videos to watch when you don’t have an internet connection. The only drawback to the app is that the longer documentaries and movies require a paid subscription – with no obvious way how to sign up for the subscription on the iPad.
NFB Films [iTunes link] brings over 1,000 Canadian films and shows to iPad users for free. Their channels include short films, classics, animated films and documentaries, amongst many others.
TapTV is another impressive app with a large library of public domain movies, children’s shows, documentaries, and even audio books.
The free app, BrainPOP [iTunes link] is a great resource for educational videos for kids. With science, social studies, english, math, arts and music, health and tech and engineering, they haven’t left anything out. A new video is added every day.
Vimeo & YouTube
If all you’re looking for is trailers, look no further than Apple’s very own website. Fox Searchlight [iTunes link] and HBO [iTunes link] have their own dedicated apps, but it’s much easier to fire up Safari and get all of the latest trailers regardless of who’s behind the films.
How do you stream video on your iPad for free? Let us know in the comments.