How to Find Videos to Watch on Your iPad

You have a few main ways to find and watch videos on your iPad. You can fetch all sorts of fare from the iTunes Store, whose virtual doors you can open directly from the iPad. Or, you can sync content that already resides on your Mac or PC.

The videos you can watch on the iPad generally fall into one of the following categories:

  • Movies, TV shows, and music videos that you purchase or fetch free in the iTunes Store: You can watch these by tapping the Videos icon on the Home screen.

    The iTunes Store features dedicated sections for purchasing or renting episodes of TV shows, and for buying or renting movies, as shown in these figures.

    Buying and watching TV shows on the iPad.
    Buying and watching TV shows on the iPad.
    You can spend hours watching movies on the iPad.
    You can spend hours watching movies on the iPad.
  • Video podcasts, just about all free, featured in the iTunes Store: Podcasts started out as another form of Internet radio, although instead of listening to live streams, you download files onto your computer or iPod to take in at your leisure. You can still find lots of audio podcasts, but the focus here is on video.

  • Videos that play via entertainment apps: For example, Netflix offers an app that enables you to use your Netflix subscription, if you have one, to stream video on your iPad. Similarly, the ABC television network offers an appealing app so that you can catch up on its shows on your iPad. The Hulu Plus subscription app also lets you catch up on favorite TV.

  • Seminars at Harvard, Stanford, or numerous other prestigious institutions: iTunes U boasts more than 500,000 free lectures from around the world, many of them videos in what Apple calls the world's largest catalog of educational content. In early 2012, Apple created a free iTunes U app, shown here, so you no longer go directly through the iTunes Store to “enroll” in such lectures.

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  • Homegrown videos from the popular YouTube Internet site: Apple obviously thinks highly of YouTube because it devoted a dedicated Home screen icon to the site.

  • The movies you’ve created in iMovie software or other software on the Mac or, for that matter, other programs on the PC: Plus, you can view all the other videos you may have downloaded from the Internet.

  • Videos you’ve given birth to using the rear- or front-facing camera on the iPad 2 or third-generation iPad: Oh, and now a version of iMovie is made especially for iPads with cameras.

You may have to prepare some videos so that they’ll play on your iPad. To do so, highlight the video in question after it resides in your iTunes library. In iTunes, choose Advanced→Create iPad or Apple TV Version. Alas, creating an iPad version of a video doesn’t work for all the video content you download off the Internet, including video files in the AVI, DivX, MKV, Flash, WMV, and Xvid formats.

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