Watching Shows on Your iPad with the TV App

By Bob LeVitus, Edward C. Baig, Bryan Chaffin

When you first launch the TV app, it opens on the Watch Now tab, alongside tabs for Library, Store, and Search. All of these tabs are designed for content from iTunes, third-party apps, and videos you’ve loaded onto your iPad through iTunes (or shared from iTunes). Videos you’ve made on your iPad are in the Photos app.

The Watch Now tab is the main point of the TV app. It allows you to find TV shows and movies, no matter where they are. It’s almost like having an Apple TV box inside your iPad. For instance, at the time of this writing, Seth McFarland’s new comedy The Orville is being offered under the What to Watch section of the TV app. Tap that show, and you get a new page with a description, an episode list, and a Play in FOX NOW button. Tap that button, and if the app is not already installed, you get a new screen inviting you to Get the Free FOX NOW app, as shown. A quick download later, and FOX NOW launches.

Want to watch The Orville? The FOX NOW app is a tap away!

And that’s the secret of the TV app. You don’t need to know which network or service a given TV show is on to find it. The TV app acts as a centralized location for finding shows available in your region, be they on Netflix, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, HBO, iTunes, and many other services, including streaming services in other markets. When a show is available in two places, say iTunes and Netflix, you can choose which source you want to get it from.

Some streaming services, such as Netflix and HBO NOW, require subscriptions. Others, such as the ABC app, show commercials during streams. Still others, like HBO GO, rely on your cable or satellite subscription.

You can browse the TV app by genre, hits, trending movies, trending TV shows, and a list of recently watched shows.

In the Library tab at the bottom of the app, you find all the shows you’ve purchased or rented from iTunes as well as other videos. Tap the Library button in the upper-left corner of the screen, as shown here, and you get options for Recently Added, TV Shows, Movies, Home Videos, Downloaded, and your shared iTunes Library, if you’ve turned on Home Sharing in iTunes on your Mac or PC.

The Library tab in the TV app is the new home for movies, TV shows, and downloaded videos.

The Store tab is a store for TV apps. Think of it as a sort of mini App Store with nothing but streaming video apps. Tap on one, say ABC, and it takes you to the App Store page for that app — even if you already have the app installed.

Apple’s new TV app is a one-stop shop for all your streaming needs. You can still choose to use any given streaming app on its own — you don’t have to go through the TV app — but the TV app can be a great way of finding shows you’re looking for and discovering new shows you didn’t even know you wanted to watch.