Television and Movies on Phones and Tablets

Date Posted:29 May 2013 

The smart phone just got a whole lot smarter, with movies and free-to-air tv now on the menu wherever you are.

Free to air tv

IDTV was launched last year, but it only worked on certain kinds of iPhones and iPads. Now there’s a version for the latest Android devices as well, meaning everyone can check out their favourite shows on the go.

A mini set-top box, the IDTV tuner plugs into your iPhone4S, new iPad or iPad2 and now into Android devices as well (those less than 18 months old, with a micro-USB port). You then simply download the free app from the iTunes store and start scanning in the channels.

It doesn’t require an internet connection, so you’re not using up any of your precious bandwidth and it’ll pick up all Australian free-to-air tv and digital radio channels. Other features include the ability to pause, rewind and record live tv programs and to record in the background while continuing to use your device for other things. There’s also an electronic program guide included with the app and a battery built into the tuner so you don’t drain the battery in your device.

The only drawback with the Android version of IDTV is that there’s no way to connect an external aerial, so you can only watch tv in areas where there’s good reception. But for under $100, the IDTV tuner is a great way to get free tv on the go, regardless of whether you’re an Apple or Android user.


Watching movies on smart phones and tablets can be something of a hit and miss affair. For instance, some devices will not support movies in certain file types or screen resolutions, meaning you must transcode them into another format in order to play them. There are plenty of transcoding software packages available for this purpose and one of the most popular is Handbrake, which is powerful, very user-friendly and works on all operating systems, be they Mac, Windows or Linux.

Another issue with watching movies on phones and tablets is their incompatibility with tvs and video projectors. When you want to plug your device into a wide screen, you may find that it does not have the capability. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab for instance has no ‘video out’ or HDMI port and neither does the HP TouchPad. Samsung does sell a connector to overcome this problem, but it does not support high definition. For that you will need to purchase a multimedia desk dock.

Apple has come up with a portable solution to the big screen dilemma with its i-FlashDrive HD, a pocket-sized drive for iPads, iPods and iPhone 3GS, 4/4S. It’s a portable storage device that lets you copy, swap, save, play and back up files between multiple devices. So, if you want to watch your movie on a bigger screen, you just plug your iPhone or iPad into the nearest computer or laptop, put your feet up, break out the popcorn and away you go.