Well, that statement comes with a couple asterisks. If you already have Silicondust’s HDHomeRun Prime – a cable TV tuner for computers – you can use Elgato’s HDHomeRun App in tandem with that to stream live cable TV right to your iPad 2 (and only iPad 2 – the app does not work with the original iPad). Like similar apps, HDHomeRun only works within the vicinity of your home Wi-Fi network – it’s strictly a way for you to use your iPad 2 as a mobile television screen within the home.
While you are within the home, though, you can check out most cable channels. Your iPad 2 will also function as a DVR – you can pause, record, and replay easily. The big selling point for Elgato is ease of use – you don’t need to use your computer to set anything up – the feed goes straight from the tuner to the iPad 2. It’s very simple, and very satisfying.
There are quite a few restrictions here, though – only ‘copy freely tagged’ cable channels are available. Basically, this means that standard cable channels are available, but premium channels, pay-per-view programs, and video on demand services will largely be unavailable, due to DRM restrictions. If you’re a Comcast or Verizon FiOS subscriber, you’re likely to run into less problems than others. Intriguingly, despite the name ‘HDHomeRun’ you will not be able to stream HD channels to your iPad 2, either.
If you already own an HDHomeRun Prime TV tuner, and you have an iPad 2, this app was pretty much made specifically for you. If you want a good way to watch TV as you move around the house, or want to take your favorite TV shows outside on the patio with you, it might be worth a look. If you don’t already have one of those tuners, they start at $249.99. On top of that, the HDHomeRun App costs $17.99 off the iTunes App Store – so if you’re really, really busy around the house, and really, really can’t bring yourself to miss a second of Glee, and really, really have some money laying around, the HDHomeRun App could be a worthwhile addition for you.