Watching TV on the iPad

I pay a large amount to Comcast/Xfinity each month to view nearly their entire lineup (ex non-English channels) at our home. And because we pay for a Time-Warner Cable sub as a gift for a family member, I also have access to a TWC account. A lot of dollars per month.

I’d like to watch all this content on my iPad when I am in a room with no tv or when I am out of the house, and I don’t feel like that is an unreasonable expectation given the dollars I spend.

So how do I watch on the iPad? Well as a start I downloaded as many of the branded apps for various channels and distributors as I could find.

* Xfinity TV app. Sounds great but is not useful. Basically a super duper remote control if I am in a room with a Xfinity branded settop box. Doesn’t let me see video, doesn’t do anything if I am out of the room. And since I am mostly a TiVo house, basically not much utility here. I had hoped/expected that Xfinity would give me an iPad app that basically acted as a dvr+tv, and would let me see all my streaming xfinity content. I was wrong.
* TiVo iPad app. Looks nice and for some things — remotely managing my scheduled recordings — it is fine. But for watching video? It blows. Apparently I need to have my TiVo and iPad on the same wifi network, and none of my tivos are on wifi, so I can’t watch video.
* Showtime app. Performs a distributor validation, only works on AT&T Uverse and Verizon networks. Seriously? I am paying a ton for Showtime access and you guys are going to squabble with Comcast and deny me this service?
* HBO Go. A reasonable app. Works on Comcast and works anywhere as near as I can tell, I can watch shows anywhere. So this is great but if the world we end up in is 57 separate apps, one per channel, each with their own UI and login, that will kind of suck. Imagine if your tv had no single guide but per-channel guides which each worked differently, and then different remotes for each channel. Barf.
* NBC. A decent experience. Seems to have all their recent shows, no crazy access control. Yes you have to watch ads but that is ok with me, I have to watch ads on TV too.
* WatchESPN — nice when it works, but only on TWC, Verizon, Brighthouse. Another case of distributors squabbling and screwing users.
* btn2go. no comcast. More distributor squabbling
* CBS sports. Claims to have live seasonal NCAAFB and NCAABB content. We will see.

So — I get very little of my content; I am prevented from getting a lot of choices due to squabbling between various members of the distribution chain; when I do get content, it is spewed across many different apps with all kinds of different UIs, guides, control interfaces, etc.

The whole set of players is really underdelivering to me. Is it any wonder people just seek out torrents?