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Watching TV on the iPad



Tonight I tried watching a TV show on my iPad for the first time with my wife. She had just started watching a recorded episode of ‘V’ and I fired up the ABC app and found same episode on the iPad. Holding the iPad in my lap in landscape mode steadily with one hand wasn’t as easy as I’d thought and the shakiness annoyed my wife. I propped it up on a pillow, but after a few minutes she tired of the iPad’s small screen and went back to watching the show on the HDTV.

The iPad makes a nice little personal theater, but it doesn’t compare to watching videos on and HDTV or a PC with a larger display. One advantage of  using the iPad to watch video is it’s weight to display size ratio. At just 1.5lb, the iPad is much lighter than my tablet and ultraportable notebooks.

Holding an iPad at a comfortable viewing angle is one thing for a few minutes, but it probably wouldn’t be very fun to do so for a feature-length film.  It’d be great to have a kickstand on the back of the iPad and I’m sure one of the case manufacturers will offer one (if they aren’t already).

The show looked nice on the iPad, but my wife asked – “why would we watch TV on the iPad when we have a big TV?” We don’t always agree on what should be up on the big screen when we’re putting in time as couch potatoes. She likes crime dramas shows and the Lifetime Movie Channel, while I prefer documentaries and war movies. In a pinch, one of us could watch the iPad and the other watch the HDTV while on the couch.Long story short, we’re probably not going to use the iPad for watching a lot of video in the living room.

We have our HP TouchSmart 600xt for watching movies in the bedroom, so I don’t think I’ll be using the iPad to watch TV or movies late at night.

The iPad seems too delicate to hand over to any of our nephews to watch shows on their own.

So when are we going to use the iPad for watching movies and TV shows? Maybe when we’re on the road with the MiFi or in hotel rooms with crummy channel selection. At home I think we’ll be sticking with the HDTV and PCs.



  1. Gavin Miller

    04/04/2010 at 4:11 am

    For those in the UK getting an iPad we’ll be able to watch all the ‘freeview’ channels here: There’s an iPhone login page.

    All legal and above board, and great for the situation Xavier describes, i.e. faced with a crummy hotel TV.

  2. HG

    04/04/2010 at 11:57 am

    Yes the only time I will using the iPad to watch shows or movies is either when traveling and on vacation. Also might just fire up the TV listing on the iPad to see what’s playing etc… but then go to the Plasma to watch the show.

  3. DNel

    04/04/2010 at 6:13 pm

    Xavier, How does the display look outside? I expect most viewing would be done indoors, but there are times that a person would like to use the ipad outdoors.

  4. Rob Bushway

    04/04/2010 at 7:26 pm

    Xavier, sounds like you need one of these

    I picked one up on Saturday….works great

  5. Mike

    04/05/2010 at 5:37 am

    You should have just attached any ready hdmi cable to the ipad out and into the TV.
    Then used a common remote to quickly teach the ipad the essential functions of stop/start/pause/ff/rw …and probably the 4-way controller and ‘enter’.
    Then you are off to the races using your ipad for TV out!

    …. if only the ipad had though to include hdmi output and high def output and an infra-red receiver… and an infra-red port in general… and an HDSD slot… and… and….and….

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