The Top iPad Movie and TV Streaming Apps

The Best of Streaming Video on Your iPad

The iPad is often referred to as a 'consumption device,' which means a device intended for the consumption of media. And while this is not altogether correct -- there are many great uses for the iPad -- it certainly does make a great device for reading books, watching movies and playing console-quality games. But before you can really take advantage of the iPad, you need which are the best apps for streaming movies and video to your iPad.

1
Crackle

Crackle logo
Crackle / Wikimedia Commons

Crackle is a relative newcomer to the field of streaming video on the iPad, but it shoots to the top of the list for one very simple reason: it's free. Not only is it a free download, but it also doesn't take a subscription fee to watch premier movies and television. Owned by Sony Pictures, Crackle has a lot of great content, including some great programming produced solely for Crackle.

2
Netflix

Netflix logo
Netflix / Wikimedia Commons

While the Netflix app for the iPad resembles a cheaply produced iPhone app rather than a full fledged and fully functional iPad app, it does reign supreme in one department: it's ability to stream great video to your iPad. And because the app supports the video out functionality of the iPad, it really comes to life if you have your iPad connected to your TV. With a great collection of movies and TV, Netflix is sure to keep you entertained. The streaming-only subscription cost for Netflix is $7.99.

3
Amazon Video

Amazon / Wikimedia Commons

Amazon Prime is easily one of the best deals online.  Not only do you get free two-day shopping from Amazon, you get a host of other goodies like Amazon Prime video and Amazon Music, a music streaming service similar to Apple Music.   Amazon Prime might not top Netflix in terms of the quality of movies and shows you get, but it's by far the closest competitor.   

4
Hulu Plus

Hulu logo
Hulu Plus / Wikimedia Commons

The Hulu Plus app takes some flack for both requiring a subscription cost ($7.99 a month) and having commercials within the video playback, but one thing few can argue with is its presentation. Compared to Netflix's watered down interface, Hulu Plus is quite a dream to use. The app does lack some key features, such as video out support.  And soon after the iPad 2's release, Hulu hijacked the ability to do display mirroring, flinging a message to the screen saying they were working on a feature to bring video to the television.  

5
YouTube

YouTube Logo
Google / Wikimedia Commons

YouTube was one of the default apps on the iPad until iOS 6.0. Now, you can find an improved version of the app in the App Store. While YouTube videos will play perfectly fine from within the website in the Safari browser, the YouTube app presents a superior interface for browsing through videos and picking out the best ones to watch.

6
FunnyOrDie.com

Funny or Die / Wikimedia Commons

It doesn't take an app to provide excellent streaming video service to the iPad, as FunnyOrDie.com proves. The same great comedy found on the website can easily be viewed with the iPad. And because the website supports iPad video, it supports the video out capabilities of the iPad. FunnyOrDie.com also offers HD version of their videos, so if you do stream them to your TV, they'll look fantastic.

There are many other great websites that support iPad video without the need for an app, but FunnyOrDie.com certainly tops the list.

7
TED

By TED inc. Vectorization: Totie (https://www.ted.com) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

There is something for everyone in TED, which hosts speeches and presentations from the world's most fascinating people. There's everything from Stephen Hawking to Steve Jobs to Tony Robbins to teenaged boy wonders playing bluegrass.   TED is a great educational app that explores topics in depth and helps simplify complex issues.  

8
Google Play

Google / Wikimedia Commons

Google Play may seem like an odd choice for a roundup of movie streaming apps for the iPad, but for those who have moved over from Android and who have already built up a Google Play library, this is a must-have app.   In fact, many iPad and iPhone users have ditched iTunes for universal collections like Amazon and Google to leave their options open in the future, so even if you don't have and have never owned an Android device, building a library in Google Play may not be a bad idea.  

9
Fan TV

Have you ever wanted to stream a particular show but didn't know which service offered it?  One of the few frustrating areas of streaming video is the act of opening Netflix, Crackle, Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus and other providers hunting for the one that offers a particular movie or television series.  Fan TV aggregates the video collection of providers and gives you the full list, and if you have the particular app installed on your iPad, it will launch it for you.    

10
Cable Networks / Broadcast TV

HBO logo
By english: HBOportuguês: HBO (http://www.hbo.com) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In addition to premium services like Netflix and Hulu Plus, free movies like Crackle, free video from YouTube and video aggregators like Fant TV, many different TV channels from broadcast TV to cable networks have iPad apps that show video clips and full-length videos. Most of the premium channels (HBO, Showtime, etc.) have companion apps with a large amount of content you can access by verifying your cable subscription, and many different cable providers like Verizon FIOS and Time Warner have apps that include the ability to watch a select number of channels live.

Browse the list of cable networks and broadcast TV networks available on the iPad

Connect Your iPad to Your HDTV

The iPad makes a great portable television when you load it up with all of these apps, but what if you want to watch them on your big screen television? There are a number of easy ways you can get your iPad's screen onto your HDTV.

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