The new iPad is here, which means either you are fired up for all the bells and whistles, or smart enough just to buy the last version when the price drops now that iPad 3 is getting all the press. Either way, we at B&C put our heads together—and even checked in with some of you—and came up with a list of television-related apps that you really should have. They are free unless noted, but download them all—and don’t forget to expense the charges. It’s research, after all.
Contact Your Local Provider
Makes available select on demand shows for mobile devices, along with many of the usual features like allowing you to use an iPad to find content and program your DVR.
This app streams many live TV channels and allows users to treat the iPad as a remote for easier search and DVR scheduling. We like the feature where you can swipe your fingers on a program you are viewing on the iPad and then start watching it on television.
Dish Remote Access
All the bells and whistles of the typical MSO or satellite provider app, and great because of the number of channels you can watch.
FiOS has a deal with Xbox allowing voice and motion control over what content is being watched, and letting some connected TV makers (notably Samsung and LG) stream selected live channels over a game console or Internet-connected TV.
This Time Warner Cable app has access to nearly 200 channels live on a variety of devices inside the home and lets users control DVR recordings and other features. And TWC has also inked deals with some TV set manufacturers so its cable channels can be streamed onto a connected TV without a set-top box.
The Cablevision app gives in-home access to all the live channels in its lineup as well as free and subscription VOD content and closed captioning. That’s more than anyone else. It also allows the usual control options, such as search and DVR setting.
Comcast was the first of the major cable system operators to launch (and flaunt) an iPad app. It’s still the most important one to watch, in part because of Comcast’s huge subscriber reach, but also because the company has focused on video on demand content and now has thousands of television shows and movies available.
Whether you like to watch TV, want to buy a TV, want a book about TV, want…oh, you get the point.
Sony will be using this platform to build up its content offerings for PS3, its new line of smartphones and tablets. This app is definitely one to watch, as Sony tries to replicate what Microsoft has done with Xbox Live.
Free; use requires Netflix account, $7.99 per month
Whatever it’s called this week, it’s still the best place to go for catching up on TV shows, new and old. And before long, its own originals. And then…the world.
Once you have a Roku player, the app becomes a remote and then some, helping you add channels, switch between multiple Roku players and a whole lot more.
Free; use requires Hulu Plus account, $7.99 per month
It’s been quite a journey from Clown Co. to one of the must-have apps in television. Ownership questions remain, but quality questions for this app don’t.
Turn on, Tune in
It’s hard to curb our enthusiasm that this may be the best app in television. Packed with content, and the interface is so simple that Larry David would say it is pre-tty, pre-tty easy.
The first to put full episodes on the Web and the first net to develop an app for the first iPad, this app is still stellar, including a new version released last week. Plus, you know, Revenge.
The Weather Channel
The most popular app in the TV industry, it trails only Angry Birds as the most popular iPad app, period. Much more than just forecasts; new features include social media integrations such as targeted Twitter feeds.
Food Network in the Kitchen
iPhone and iPad: $1.99 each
For less than the cost of a head of lettuce, a database of recipes searchable by celebrity chef or ingredient.
Yes, there is more to PBS than Downton Abbey. This app not only has more full episodes than most of the broadcast networks and cable channels, but it highlights content from the local station along with the national content.
Sons of Anarchy
iPhone and iPad: $.99 each
If you can’t get enough of bombastic creator Kurt Sutter on Twitter and the boys of SAMCRO on TV, a few bucks gets you a lot more.
Dijit Universal Remote
Once you get the right gear, this turns your iPhone or iPad into a universal remote control (and IPG) for your DVD player and other toys.
Logitech Harmony for Logitech Revue
The well-known makers of remotes, Webcams and more put their knowledge into an app that turns your phone into a remote for up to eight devices, along with many other fun features.
This next-generation TV guide helps you find shows you might like, and when you do, it gives plenty of interactive options.
You’ve seen your friends post about it on Facebook and win stickers. No, not the stickers you grew up with.
It’s not just for remotely stalking ex-boyfriends and girlfriends or bragging about your vacation. Facebook is becoming as crucial a tool for networks and stations and the like as it is for viewers who want to share their thoughts about that jerk from The Bachelor— or “like” some else’s.
A lot of people are behind this interactive viewing app, especially folks at the local station level. This could be a real test case for second-screen apps.
Watch TV…get rewards. That’s right: The more TV you watch, the more Burger King you can eat.
Yep, this is brought to you by the same people who did the app that tells you the name of that Blake Shelton song playing that you can’t remember the name of. Shazam for TV now lets you tag both shows and commercials to get more content, games and more.
Yahoo’s app can identify anything you’re watching on a TV, computer or mobile device from the last five years (like that Cavemen episode!) and give you the full interactive, connected experience.
Yes, like the soup. A popular check-in service with interactive experiences and much more.
Pinning photos on a virtual board might seem silly to some, but it’s the latest craze. And the TV world is very much paying attention.
Yes, Twitter makes it seem like everyone in the world watches those low-rated NBC comedies, but before long the service will be much more important to television than you think. And it’s already very, very important.
They Get the Game
There are more than 10 universities in the Big Ten Conference (don’t ask), and this smooth app has great live streaming games from all of them.
ESPN ScoreCenter; WatchESPN
Two separate apps from one savvy company that gets the digital space. ScoreCenter is fantastic for its personalization and comprehensive info. WatchESPN is great because you can, well, watch ESPN.
NCAA March Madness Live
We know: Your bracket already looks like a war zone. But at least you got the chance to watch it fall apart right before your eyes.
MLB.com at Bat
A leader in online video back when apps still meant chicken wings and potato skins, Major League Baseball continues to be a winner in the sports world.
Hockey doesn’t have the biggest fan base, but it has one of the most passionate, and they are rewarded with a sleek app that (drops the gloves and) fights for its place as one of the best.
The News About the News
This family of apps in markets with CBS-owned TV and radio stations continues the company’s strong local focus. (Note: If you type “CBS Local” in your app search, the most popular nearby markets or downloads come up first.) CBS Local Digital Media last week launched the iPad app CBS Local YourDay, which locates the user and serves up content from the nearest CBS newsroom.
iPhone: free; iPad: $2.99
WMAR in Baltimore, which launched live streaming on iPhones last year along with the other Scripps stations, has a sleek look and all the bells and whistles, including making it easy to become the citizen reporter you’ve always wanted to be.
Exactly what stations need to be doing. The Atlanta station has an app just for the roads with GPS-driven, real-time traffic maps and much more. Of course, we have to say please don’t use it while you are actually driving. But we know you would never do that.
MyFox TampaBay.com Mobile; MyFoxHurricane
Crucial to this and many other markets, the free Tampa station app takes you to the well-designed MyFoxHurricane app ($3.99 fee required) that tracks storms around the U.S., the Caribbean, Mexico and more. (And MyFoxHurricane is not Tampa-exclusive, so it can be used for broader searches.)
CNN stands out both for the range of its content and the fact that it was the first U.S. news organization to stream its network live as part of TV Everywhere deals. Yes, Piers Morgan is available all over.
Plenty of content, including full episodes of the nightly newscast. The iconic 60 Minutes has its own separate app ($4.99, iPad only), as does the network’s new morning show, CBS This Morning (free, iPhone/iPad).
Very stylish design, great interface and lots and lots of content make this a very sticky app for the FNC faithful.
For international television news, this app really can’t be beat. You have live feeds of networks including Al Jazeera, France 24, Japan’s NHK World, the Russian RTV, the Iranian Press TV and much more.
This app offers up everything you could possibly need from NBC News except Brian Williams doing stand-up at the Laugh Factory. Though we hear that is due out by Q4 and will be free (with a two-drink minimum).