Want to watch TV on your iPad? It's natural, healthy and it sure does seem like everyone is doing it. There are hearty hardware-supported options from companies like Elgato, and most pay TV subscription services (Time Warner Cable, Comcast, DirecTV, RCN, Dish Network etc.) have figured out a way to move some of the programming you're paying for from the big screen to the small.
Waiting a day or so, of course, means that prime-time programming on Hulu Plus and Netflix has you mostly covered; but that loses you local news, sports and talk. Even single channels, brands or sports leagues (ESPN, NBA Courtside, MLB At Bat) are getting into the action -- but getting live access means hefty subscription fees, being an existing cable/satellite customer, or both.
If you're not interested in the supra-broadcast offerings that cable or satellite can deliver -- or if you just can't stomach the idea of paying $60, $75 or more per month to watch television -- there is this ancient and hoary concept called "over the air." Yes, Americans are still benefiting from their divinely granted inalienable rights to free TV, but they need antennas and reasonable signal strength, not to mention TVs. Elgato's HDHomeRun product works well to take your TV programming to your Mac or PC, but it's a $179.95 cost and you can't really carry it around with you.
That's why Aereo's offering -- $12 a month for broadcast TV to your iPhone, iPad, Roku box or browser, as long as you live in New York City -- is so intriguing. Aereo has chosen to deliver over-the-air television programming straight to the browser, rather than through a native iOS app, and the result is remarkably smooth and easy to use. By combining your device with a remote antenna/DVR combo, and allowing easy AirPlay/Apple TV streaming or Roku integration for big-screen viewing, the service seems to have found a way to deliver a premium live and recorded programming experience without the steep price.