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Find and Watch Free TV on iPad

Though competition has stiffened with the growing quality of Android tablets, for most, the Apple iPad still reigns supreme. The unbeatable app selection and fast performance make it an incredibly versatile device. But when you get down to it, one of our favorite uses for the tablet is media consumption—namely, watching free TV shows on that gorgeous 2,048-by-1,536-pixel Retina display. Throw in the iPad’s robust battery life and obvious portability, and you’ve got a top-notch, on-the-go entertainment device. Here are the best ways to do just that.

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Hulu: The free version of this extensive service offers The Daily Show, South Park, The Vampire Diaries, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, The Simpsons, and other current series–as well as classic ones. There are limits, of course. As a rule, free Hulu only provides five full episodes per series; but they’re usually five recent episodes.

Youtube: Along with cat videos and regular folks spouting their personal philosophies, Youtube hosts a lot of professionally-made television. And parent company Google is pretty serious about keeping copy-protected material off the site unless the copyright holders have given their blessing. Just search for tv shows full episodes. Or search for a particular show, such as mad men full episodes.

HBO GO: If you’ve ever fancied watching any one of Home Box Office’s more than 1,400 shows while away from the big screen TV, HBO Go is your application. The free download lets you tune into Eastbound and Down, Real Time with Bill Maher, True Blood, and others on the iPad’s glossy 9.7-inch display.

Amazon Instant Video: Netflix and Hulu Plus are the standard-bearers for streaming video content, but Amazon video isn’t far behind. It offers a comparable selection of free and a la carte TV shows and movies that you can watch right on your iPad. Best of all, access is free if you’re an Amazon Prime member.

TWC TV/Xfinity/Dish Hopper/ DirecTV: Many of the streaming options here are about cutting the cable, but for those who are content with their cable subscriptions, there are a number of apps that are must haves if you also have an iPad. Apps from big cable providers like Time Warner Cable, Xfinity, Dish, and DirecTV let you control your DVR and watch the same live TV on your iPad that you get on your TV at home. It’s a no-brainer for subscribers.

Your favorite TV network: Go to the Comedy Central site and you’ll find a smattering of full episodes. News/opinion channels like Fox News and MSNBC offer everything from the previous day’s show. Broadcast networks like ABC and NBC stream selections of new episodes. Finally, you can get an enormous amount of entertainment over the Internet for a very low price. For only $8 a month, you can subscribe to either Netflix or Hulu Plus. Their shows aren’t always brand-new, but the options are huge. For instance, rather than the five recent episodes of Saturday Night Live you can get on free Hulu, the Plus service offers all 743 episodes dating back to 1975.