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5 Ways to Watch TV and Movies on Your iPad

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5 Ways to Watch TV and Movies on Your iPad
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The iPad can perform many wonderful feats. One of our favorites — its ability to stream television shows, movies and even some live broadcasting on a high-res screen. And we don't even have to tote around a heavy laptop.

ABC was the first major network to allow iPad users to stream full episodes. Ever since, many other networks have jumped on the mobile bandwagon. For the most part, these apps are free of charge. Most importantly, they're filled with full episodes of the shows you missed or want to watch again.

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Sorted by category, here are the best entertainment programming apps to download for your tablet.

Channels

If you want to search for a show by channel, chances are there's an app for that. Most channels offer digital viewing of full episodes via their platforms, as well as added features and bonus material, such as schedules, social fan interaction and video clips. Check out ABC, ABC Family, The CW, Discovery Channel, Disney, NBC, PBS, TBS, TLC and TNT.

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Movies and TV

You’ve probably already heard about Netflix and Hulu, both of which have compatible iPad apps. These popular options are only accessible though paid subscriptions, which cost $7.99 per month.

If you don't want to shell out the cash, you can access other platforms to stream movies. Crackle, for instance, may be more limited in terms of available content, but it is free to download and easy to navigate. The service offers movies and TV shows, as well as originally produced programming, such as The Unknown, a horror series starring Dominic Monaghan, of Lost and Lord of the Rings fame.

For another free option, try TV.com. The app includes shows from CBS, The CW and Showtime, searchable by channel, title or popularity.

If you're looking for timeless entertainment, try Tap TV, a platform full of hundreds of old cartoons, the best YouTube videos, silent classics and documentaries. Curators hand-select felicitous content to populate this app.

Browsing

Sleek and simple in design, NextGuide is a personalized program guide that aggregates information across multiple video apps and keeps you informed about when and where your shows are playing. You can customize notifications for certain actors or even your favorite sports team.

Similarly, use BuddyTV to select your favorite shows and personalize your viewer preferences. Soon enough, the service gives you suggestions based on what you chose. An in-app TV guide allows you to select your favorite channels and see what is airing at that very moment. Additionally, you can view previews, recaps and opt for reminders when your favorite shows are about to air.

Live TV

Rejoice, for technology has bestowed upon us the ability to watch live television on our tablets.

Sports fans, WatchESPN offers streaming feeds from ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3 and ESPNU, depending on your TV provider. The app gives you access to thousands of live events from college basketball to the NBA playoffs, and shows like SportsCenter.

For news, CNN lets you live stream select programming, again dependent on your provider.

You'll also find that a lot of cable TV providers offer livestreams within their own apps. See: Cox TV Connect, DirectTV, Time Warner, Cablevision and DISH Network. Most also allow you to set your DVR and turn your iPad into a remote control.

Interactive

As if the show wasn’t enough, certain apps allow you to interact with the content.

With Viggle, you can sync to a featured show and answer trivia questions as you watch. For every correct reply, you earn reward points you can redeem at retailers such as Best Buy, Burger King, Fandango and Old Navy.

Known for identifying music, Shazam also works with TV. Tap into a show you are watching and access cast information, episode soundtracks, actor tweets and merchandise links.

For an out-of-the-box viewing experience, try Boxfish. The app captures every word spoken on the TV. It processes the information in real time to see what topics are being discussed. You can set notifications for certain words or topics, view topic-specific clips and determine the number of times it has been mentioned the past few days.

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Images courtesy of Flickr, Wayan Vota and Photo Giddy

This story originally published on Mashable here.

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