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TV on your iPad

May 18, 2012 8:21:20 PM PDT
One in ten of us are watching television shows on something other than our TV. Leading the way in online viewing is Apple's iPad. Consumer Reports says it's a rapidly changing world and the offerings really vary.

Doing the dishes doesn't stop Terry Voltaggio from watching her favorite shows. And working out doesn't prevent her from seeing her top programs. That's because she watches TV on her iPad.

"I can watch it anywhere in the house at any time. I'm not tied to the television's schedule," Voltaggio said.

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

So does the app from the ESPN network, which is being heavily promoted.

Another advantage with ESPN's app, 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. 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," Reynold said.

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, 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 D-V-R or buy a Slingbox adapter for 99 dollars.

You can find more about this subject in the current June 2012 issue of Consumer Reports magazine, page 19.

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