Whether you are looking how to watch latest TV shows or movies or wanting to copy films and TV shows on your iPad and watch them later, there are many different ways to do it. You can copy video files from your Windows PC or laptop to your iPad so that they don’t need to be converted into a special format which the iPad can play. Also you can download videos without using a computer at all, so you can watch them whenever and wherever you want offline.
If you sync movies or TV shows stored in your iTunes library, they’ll appear in the native Videos app on your iPad. But if your video isn’t in a format that iTunes can play, you can’t add it to the library, nor sync it with your iPad.
Also, you can only use one computer to sync your iPad. If you try to sync videos from another computer running iTunes, you’ll get a warning that all your media will be deleted first.
The good news is that there are lots of apps available in the App Store on your iPad which can play videos and allow you to ‘import’ files from any computer running iTunes. Most of them don’t require you to first convert the video into a format the iPad can play natively (i.e. MP4). Instead, you can play pretty much anything you like, including AVI, DIVX, MKV and more.
Transfer videos by using apps
There are various apps at iTunes, including the free VLC Player that can help you to transfer and play videos. Unfortunately, many such apps have had to remove codecs following legal requests and no longer support surround-sound audio like AC-3 and others.
This means that a video file with this audio format will play silently: you would have to convert your video in a suitable application to down-mix the surround sound to a stereo soundtrack first.
One free app which has excellent reviews is PlayerXtreme Media Player by PentaLoop. This lets you transfer videos by Wi-Fi, but for speed and reliability you will be using a USB cable for this guide.
So as a first step install whichever app you’re going to use before following the steps mentioned below.
- Then connect your iPad to a computer with a recent version of iTunes. iTunes should launch automatically and your iPad will show up on the left-hand side.
- Now click on the icon representing your iPad and then click on Apps in the menu on the left. Scroll down until you see the File Sharing section.
- Next scroll down the list if necessary and click on the appropriate video app, in this case like choosing PlayerXtreme. On the right is a list of the files you will copy.
- Next click the add File button and navigate to the video you want to put on your iPad. Select one or more and click Open at the bottom of the dialog box. Don’t forget to select any subtitle files which go with the videos.
- The films will start copying to your iPad – a progress bar is shown in the pane at the top of iTunes.
- Once they’re transferred, you can disconnect your iPad, launch PlayerXtreme or whichever video playback app you’re using and the videos will be there, ready to watch. Bear in mind that playing video formats which aren’t natively supported by iOS will use up the battery faster unless the app can use hardware acceleration like the PlayerXtreme can.
Transfer video with a Downloader App
If you don’t want to have to connect your iPad to a computer running iTunes, there are other ways to get films onto your iPad. One is to install a video downloader app. Using the app’s built-in web browser you can head to YouTube or another video streaming site and find a video you want to watch.
When it starts playing, a pop-up window should appear giving you the option to download or save the video. You might have to type in a name for it, or it might automatically take the name from the web page.
These apps tend to disappear from the App Store quickly because of Apple’s policies on potential copyright violation, so you may find difficulty in finding them and losing them quickly too.
Download TV and movie guide app
Australia’s first TV & Movie Guide app for iPad. Download the latest TV times and cinema sessions from eBroadcast to your iPad for free and get all your viewing needs in one convenient place on your iPad.
TV + Movie Guide Australia: iPad Edition is a unique 2-in-1 app that will allow you to view what’s on TV and look up cinema session times across Australia, from the comfort of your iPad.
Watch all FTA channels across Australia, have grid view, swipe up and down or sideways or customise your channels. Find full descriptions for TV shows, “Follow” your favourite shows or set up reminders. Find daily session times for all Australian cinemas, get new releases, top ten box office with trailers from IMDB and official websites. Download this app from iTunes all free.
Buy or rent from iTunes, Google Play, or another service
If you launch the iTunes store on your iPad, then tap on Films at the bottom, you’ll find a great selection of the latest movies available to rent or buy. Renting a new film costs $23 or more in standard definition or $8 in HD. Classic films are a pound cheaper. Buying one to watch repeatedly whenever you want costs $18 or $23 depending on the movie.
Although you can stream the films immediately, a bought or rented film will also be downloaded to your iPad so you can watch it without an internet connection.
Finally, if you prefer to stick with the built-in Videos app and want to put films from your computer onto your iPad, you’ll need to use the computer you use to sync and backup your iPad.
When your iPad appears at the top of iTunes (after connecting it with a USB cable or using Wi-Fi sync), click on the Films tab and you will see a list of all the films you’ve imported into your iTunes library. Note that they may appear in the TV Programmes tab if they’ve been incorrectly tagged. This is also true of TV shows which are wrongly tagged as films.
Now tick the Sync Films box, then tick the films you want to add to your iPad from the list. Alternatively, tick the box next to ‘Automatically include all films’, and use the drop-down menu to choose an option from the list such as ‘all unwatched’.
You can install the Google Play Movies and TV app if you prefer and buy or rent videos that way.
Download movies from Netflix or Amazon Prime Video
You are invited to try Netflix for one month for free. If you choose to continue, service plans start at $8.99 for a single standard definition stream. There are no contracts with Netflix so you can cancel the service at any time, but until then your credit card that was used to sign up will automatically be charged each month.
There are three plans offered by Netflix that you can choose from: Basic, Standard and Premium. The one you pick will depend on the types of features you want with your Netflix subscription.
The cost of Amazon Prime Membership is $99 (USD) a year. If you act quickly though, you can try Amazon Prime out for free. This is 30 days Free access to Amazon Prime and all its perks and benefits. These include but are not limited to Free shipping, Prime Instant Video, the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library free.