Watch Live TV on Your iPad: Ultimate iPad Cable TV App Roundup

It’s been a long time coming, but you can finally watch Live TV on your iPad.

No longer do you need to by a small TV to keep in each of your spare rooms and under the kitchen counter. Instead, open up your TV app for the iPad and you have a live TV experience anywhere in your house. Some of the apps will even work when you are at work or mobile.

Like all things cable, there are some catches to all of these apps, and we are in the early days of live TV streaming to the iPad so prepare for a road bump here and there.

In most cases it isn’t worth switching providers for one of these apps, at least note yet, but if you are new to an area you should check out all the offerings before you sign up. For existing subscribers, this is a great way to get a little more value from your already high cable bills.

TWCable TV for iPad – Free

TWCable app for iPad

TWCable app for iPad Streams Live TV.

If you are a Time Warner Cable customer, you can watch live TV on your iPad with this free app. The TWCable TV for iPad app delivers a wide array of channels to your iPad. The app has had a checkered past, losing access to Viacom channels like Comedy Central shortly after launch. The app has added numerous channels since then, but is still quite short of the full lineup.

The app lets you see a 7 day TV schedule and if you have a compatible DVR, you can schedule recordings.


  • Free
  • Decent Selection
  • Must be on Home WiFi
  • Not all Channels

Comcast Xfinity – Free

Xfinity iPad app

The Xfinity iPad App Delivers On Demand.

Comcast’ts XFINITY TV APP for the iPad doesn’t deliver live streaming TV, but it is still a nice cable TV iPad app because it delivers a feature missing from the TWCable app — access to on demand shows.

Personally I prefer to pull up primetime TV on my schedule instead of flipping through channels to see what’s on right now. The app also allows you to schedule recordings, change channels and search the On Demand listings. Unlike Time Warner, you can use this app anywhere you have WiFi.


  • Free
  • On-Demand Access
  • Use anywhere
  • No Live TV

Cablevision – Free

OPtimum iPad app

Watch Live TV on the OPtimum iPad App.

Cablevision customers are also eligible to live stream TV to their iPad with the Optimum for iPad app.

Optimum for iPad may be the most full featured free iPad app. On top of watching all of your subscribed to channels live, you also get access to On Demand content (including rentals) and you can use your device as a remote control, to manage your DVR or as a channel guide.


  • Free
  • On-Demand Access
  • Live streaming
  • At home WiFi access only
  • No Pay Per View

Dish Network – Free 

Dish Remote Access iPad app

Stream TV with the Dish Remote Access iPad App.

Dish Remote Access is the free streaming app for Dish Network subscribers, but you’ll need to have a properly equipped DVR or purchase a Sling adapter.

If you have the right DVR, you can watch all of your channels, including those carrying live sports! You can also schedule and watch recordings from the App. Unlike the Cable apps, you can be anywhere when you watch your shows. Unfortunately you need specific hardware or adapters to make all of this work.


  • Live TV, Movies and Sports
  • On-Demand Access
  • Anywhere access

iPad Cable Apps Without Streaming

There are a wide number of iPad apps from Cable and Satellite companies which offer access to some services, but don’t yet support streaming. Here are some of the apps from nationwide cable and satellite carriers.

  • U-verse Mobile for iPad – Schedule recordings, search and manage DVR
  • Verizon FIOS Mobile – Use your iPad as a remote control, program DVR remotely and manage recordings
  • TiVo – See program guide, search and manage TiVo, Remote control and additional features depending on your TiVo model.
  • Direct TV – Browse 14-day guide, control your TV and set recordings on your DVR.

Premium and Specialty Apps

NFL Sunday Ticket iPad app

Watch Live NFL Games on your iPad.

In addition to apps that are specific to a cable company, there are apps that channels have made available so that you can watch on the Go.

CNN App for iPad – If you have the right cable subscriber you can stream CNN live (well with a 30 second delay) to your iPad or computer. This only works if you are a subscriber to AT&T, Comcast, Cox Dish Network, Suddenlink or Verizon.

HBO Go – Again, if you have the right cable or satellite company, you can use the HBO Go iPad app to watch your favorite HBO shows on your iPad. There are a limited number of providers and Time Warner is notably missing.

NFL Sunday Ticket – If you have Direct TV and A Sunday Ticket subscription, with Sunday Ticket To-Go, you can watch your favorite team on the iPad wherever you have a good connection. Check out our review of NFL Sunday Ticket to see if it is worth the cost.