Now all you need to watch live television on your iPad is to open the Safari web browser. A new service called FilmOn makes it possible to watch broadcast stations on iPads and other Apple iOS devices from anywhere. NBC, ABC, Fox, CBS and others are just some of the stations accessible through the web site, FilmOn.com. Some stations can also be watched on your computer's web browser or with an application download.
No app is required on the iPad. Local stations from Los Angeles are currently available entirely for free. Right now the streaming web video service charges a $9.95 monthly subscription fee to unlock additional stations. The networks are suing, of course.
Whether they are selling TV shows via iTunes or Hulu is showing advertising and charging for subscriptions, the networks are careful to put shows where they want them, when they want them to be available online. FilmOn founder Alki David believes he is operating within US copyright law, and intends to defend his company against the lawsuit. David believes that FCC regulations regarding secondary transmissions are on his side.
FilmOn is also currently in negotiations with all major cable providers in the US. Apple, Hulu, and Netflix have made news in the streaming video world lately. Users with Netflix subscriptions can access a full range of streaming television and movies on demand with their iPads thanks to a free Netflix app. Hulu offers a subscription service for iPad programming, and Apple rents movies and television shows through iTunes for a price.
Many other content providers have offered their own apps or provide portals on the web that contain iPad-compatible video streams. As the device becomes more popular, more content providers are sure to jump on the bandwagon. In the meantime, FilmOn will continue to offer its free television service as it battles the networks in court.