Two Good (And Free) TV Apps for iPad

When I was a kid I used to rush home from school to watch The Millionaire, a show where some faceless benefactor doled out millions to people just to see how the gift would affect them and their lives. The show was amazing.

Out of the blue some guy walks up to you and hands you a check for $1,000,000.00, then walks away. No strings attached, no need to pay it back, yours free and clear. I had little concept of how much a million dollars was back in the early 60's, but now I know it was worth a heck of a lot more then than today and getting such a gift today would still change a life fundamentally.

Free on iTunes

Back then I'd imagine buying all the typical things people who don't truly know the worth of money dream of buying, big house, fancy car (chauffeur driven, of course), vacations to exotic places. I will say that I never wanted the other trappings of the overtly rich; gaudy jewels, obviously expensive clothes, gold plated this and that. All that seemed silly and a waste to me.

Even today, a million dollars buys a lot. Managed wisely, a person, regardless of age, could live a comfortable life on a million bucks.

What would you do if you were $1,000,000.00 richer?

I'm not a guy who enjoys reality shows, but I bet that concept would make a great new series. Instead of handing out millions maybe give $100,000.00, tax free. It's still a sizable amount, more than twice the average yearly salary in the U.S. A person can do amazing things with $100,000.00. A show that follows an ordinary person around for one year after receiving that extraordinary gift would be something I'd watch.

Ordinary people doing extraordinary things has been the staple of books, radio shows, and TV series forever, and there's a TV studio dedicated to looking into the lives of such folks, TLC (formerly The Learning Channel. I guess there was no money in learning.) is basically reality TV.

It's lineup of shows focus on people doing the unusual, or doing the usual in unusual ways. They offer shows like 19 Kids and Counting - a show about dealing with ups and downs of raising 19 kids; Breaking Amish - Amish and Mennonites take a look at the 'English' world; Bridezilla - you can guess what that's about, and so on.

Now, TLC has released an iPad-only app so you can get your fill of the weird and wonderful things people do.

TLC for iPad

TLC for iPad is typical of TV channel apps, it lists shows and showtimes, offers behind-the-scene videos, and goodies about the shows you like. What's really nice is that it also offers full episodes of shows. What's not so nice is that the full episodes are only available for a handful of shows. Even worse, past episodes and older shows no longer being aired are missing too. Bummer.

Another nice feature is the built-in reminder. Need to watch the latest episode of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo? Tap the calendar icon and you can schedule an alert. The app taps into the iOS calendar to create an event complete with invitees. The scheduler also lets you see which episode is airing when.

TLC for iPad

What's also typical of apps like these is that you can't download full episodes to watch off-line later, you have to have an internet connection. And there are ads. They appear in front of videos and in the strip along the bottom of the app. They aren't annoying unless you're in a hurry to watch something.

TLC for iPad

Also, make sure you have a nice internet connection, trying to watch even a video can try the patience of Mother Teresa.

In all, TLC for iPad is a good app. Not great, but good enough for those who must have TLC on hand.

If you are a fan of TLC's sibling channel, Discovery, then you're in luck as well. There's a similar iPad app called Discovery Channel HD. Like TLC for iPad, Discovery HD provide videos, show schedules, and other niceties, and some full episodes. It also offers info on the ever popular Shark Week. Good stuff if you're into sharks.

Discovery Channel HD

You can also get science oriented news divided into genres (History, Earth, Animals, so on). I do enjoy the news section because it alerts me to items I might have missed through other channels.

Discovery Channel HD

The ads in Discovery Channel HD are more intrusive than those on the TLC app, likely because it's a more popular channel. Still, there's a lot to like about the app.

Discovery Channel HD

So, if some guy hands you a million (or $100,000) bucks, check to see if he has a video team in tow. They could be filming a TLC or Discovery series and you could be the next star. (Take the money!!!)

That's a wrap for this week. I've got a great lineup of free apps for next week so please stop by.