Monday, December 20, 2010

Reasons why the iPad rocks-#4 watching TV

So the Christmas holidays are upon us and the UK TV channels begin their "imaginative" holiday scheduling, what is one to do? Mrs RNG is engrossed in the Celebrity Dogs on Ice 4 hour Christmas special, Five US has the whole of CSI series 1 - 10 running back to back, hmmm. I suppose I could always retire to the bedroom and switch on the portable TV but it's a tad anti-social. Enter the iPad, or more accurately, Internet TV. This is 2010, you don't even need to have a TV arial anymore (OK, I'm showing my age a bit here, I can still remember the days of 3 channels!), just an Internet connection, brilliant. I can sit next to Mrs RNG, fein interest in whatever she is watching whilst really, I'm engrossed in Gil and the lab rats being all clever, way to go!

So, for the uninitiated, the iEduc8 guide to TV on the iPad:

1. BBC iPlayer

Quite simple really, if you are in the UK, go to the BBC website and hit the iPlayer link on the right hand side of the site. You will be taken to the iPlayer page where you get access to the content for all the BBC channels. Click on what you want and it will open up as a QuickTime movie and play. Streaming is pretty solid and quality is excellent.

2. iPlayer Downloader

Strictly, not TV on the iPad as such, this cool program (available for Mac, Linux and Windows) fools the iPlayer into thinking the computer is an iPhone and then streams the movie to a local cache where it is saved as an MP4 movie (with apologies is this isn't technically correct but you get the idea). The movie can be played on the host computer or dropped into iTunes and then synced with the iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch where the downloaded movies will appear in the Movies app. I tend to scour BBC 2 and 4 for documentaries and series like Reggie Perrin and download them, then add a block of stuff for holidays etc. A brilliant program and it's free from here. (read the whole page for links to various GUI's for the program).


Go to tvcatchup, make yourself an account, watch live UK TV on your computer or IOS device, simple as that. There is a part of the site that is optimised for iPhone/iPod Touch and will work passably well over 3G and another part for iPad. It streams reasonably well (strangely, the Five channels tend to be the worst and stutter as they buffer, just as they did on On Digital if you remember that!) and has access to all the channels currently on

5. Elgato Eye TV.

This requires you to spend money (around 30 UK pounds) for a box that plugs into your Mac or PC (don't think there is Linux support but I haven't looked too hard so may be wrong) and picks up Free to view TV via either a built in arial or your ordinary TV arial. So far so good but the best bit is there is a free app that allows you to stream the TV from elgato to your iDevice. An added bonus is that the elgato desktop software also allows you to record TV ( and watch a different channel at the same time) onto your computer. More info can be found here.

So there we have it, TV on your iDevice. Now, I do realise that whilst Britain was once a great and mighty power (or oppressive force depending on your viewpoint/nationality), the UK is now just a small island in the North Atlantic and as such, not really representative of the rest of the world. As such, I would like to apologise for this rather UK centric review. If any non-UK readers (I know you are out there, I watch the stats on blogger dashboard, sad I know) would like to add international or country specific site, please add a comment or e-mail me and I will add to the post.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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