Tech | 5 years ago
FilmOn: the ultimate iPad app
The once-mighty web apps strike back on the iPad with FilmOn, a truly awesome app that lets you watch live TV on the tablet.

The once-mighty web apps strike back on the iPad with FilmOn, a truly awesome app that lets you watch live TV on the tablet.

By Leo Stiles

The whole world has gone so app crazy since the introduction of the various app stores over the last couple of years, that it’s easy to forget about the good old web apps that used to make a smartphone tick. From weather forecasts to cinema times, the web apps of old were useful, easy to use and most importantly, they were free. And because they were built using web standards, they were reliable and glitch-free for the most part.

While the habits of smartphone and tablet owners have moved on, some developers are still producing web apps and one of the very best is FilmOn.

FilmOn is a bit of genius and points to the future of entertainment apps by giving you live TV on your iPad. The channel selection is limited to free-to-air channels along with a selection of music stations. The big reasons to be excited are the inclusion of BBC 1, 2 and 3 along with their ITV counterparts and Channel 4 spin-offs E4 and Film 4.

There are even a couple of porn channels if that’s your thing, which strikes us a bit of a two finger salute to Steve Jobs, who declared the iPad a porn-free-zone earlier this year.


Performance of the app depends on the speed and quality of your internet connection. At first we tested the app with a 3G connection from O2 and got decent enough results. However, switching to a Wi-Fi connection delivered far superior results and the channels played flawlessly in seconds, while choosing what to watch is made easy thanks to a 24-hour programme guide for each channel.

There really aren’t any negatives and the only thing that might stop you from enjoying this early Christmas present is knowing just how to get your hands on it. Luckily for you we have included a brief how-to below.

Of course white men can jump, check out the long-jump Olympic records!

To get started, simply head over to When the page loads you will be greeted with a message to turn your iPad to the landscape position and when you do, a list of available channels will be displayed down the left hand side of the screen.

At this point you should press the bookmark button and you will be asked if you want to add the page to the home screen. Hit 'OK', Safari will quit and a new icon will be set up on the home screen (as if a new application has been downloaded). Launch the app and you will be presented with a full screen version of the web page and then you will be able to start watching TV immediately.

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