The Big iPad TV App Smackdown
Verizon FiOS Mobile
Last August, Verizon showed off an iPad app that would let users watch live TV on their tablets--but when the app arrived in December, the streaming feature was nowhere to be found, and Verizon had nothing to say about it. What's left of Verizon FiOS Mobile is an app that lets users jump to channels, schedule a DVR, and operate a virtual remote. It's a serviceable app, but it's also a letdown after last summer's promises.
Optimum for iPad
Cablevision's Optimum for iPad app has the best streaming options that don't require a DVR. Users can watch any channel to which they subscribe directly on the tablet (so long as they are behind their Optimum modem), and they can select from a list of on-demand content. The only thing missing is streaming from a DVR.
The Optimum app includes DVR scheduling and management, as well as the ability to set a list of favorite channels for the on-app TV guide, but so far it has no virtual remote control.
TiVo, of course, is not a television provider, but it's worth considering here because it's an upgrade option available from some cable companies, allowing you to replace your set-top box. Cable services such as Comcast, Cox, and RCN all offer TiVo as an upgrade. Of course, cable customers can also choose to replace their existing cable box with a TiVo DVR and CableCards.
The TiVo iPad app does not offer live or on-demand streaming, although TiVo reportedly has been asking customers how they would feel about such features. For now the app is just another DVR manager and channel selector, providing a virtual remote, favorite channels, and the ability to comment about movies and shows on Facebook or Twitter. Welcome to the social sphere, TiVo, but let's see live streaming soon.