How To Replace Your Cable With An iPad 2

The iPad 2. It’s sleek. It’s thin. It’s the replacement for your cable.  Yes, it is possible to replace your cable with an iPad.  While you cannot get every single one of your over 500 channels, chances are you pay for a lot of what you don’t use anyway.  Here is how you can replace your cable with an iPad 2.

How To Replace Your Cable With An iPad 2

As cable bills continue to rise and people begin using their iPad’s more, there comes a time when you might want to explore replacing that costly cable subscription with something you already own: your iPad 2.  And here’s one way to do it.


Before you call the cable company and cancel your bill, here’s the hardware you will need:

As far as hardware goes, that’s about all you need to replace your cable with an iPad 2.  Most likely you have the iPad and a TV already.  So really the only thing you will need is the $39 Digital AV adapter.  The reason this is needed is because it does video mirroring (which cannot be done on the iPad 1).  This means that your entire iPad screen is shown (mirrored) on your TV screen.  So when you launch and app and play it, everyone will see it on your TV.

Apps To Replace Cable

The next think you will need are some apps (that’s usually going to be the case).  These are some of the best apps to replace your cable with and while you still cannot replace all 500 channels that you might have, you may find that these are just good enough.

Netflix (Free App)

Netflix for iPad

Netflix is the undisputed champion of getting rid of your cable with your iPad.  It is $7.99/month for iPad users and you not only get great TV shows but you get all of their movies as well.  It works over 3G (depending on the signal) and it is great for just about anyone that likes to be mobile while still enjoying their entertainment.  Download the Netflix app here.

Hulu Plus

Hulu Plus for your iPad

With Hulu Plus for the iPad 2, you can stream thousands of episodes from hundreds of current and classic TV shows right to your iPad.  Thus bypassing cable altogether.  The subscription is $7.99 per month and here is what you get:

    Learn more about Hulu Plus here

    ABC (free)

    ABC for iPad

    With the ABC Player for the iPad, you can view full length episodes  of Modern Family, Desperate Housewives and more. Not all of their shows are available but if you are a fan of one that are, then this is a great free alternative to cable.  Download it here.

    CNN (Free)

    CNN for iPad

    If you watch a lot of news then you will definitely want this iPad app when you replace your cable.  It has all of the latest and greatest news plus it has live hourly updates and live video of nearly all of the stories so it’s as good as just watching it on cable.  Download CNN for your iPad here.

    And that is the hardware/software you will need to begin to replace your cable with an iPad 2.  The transition might take you a bit to get used to since it’s far more convenient to just browse through on your cable box but if you want to save a bit of money, watch TV practically anywhere, and break free from cable then this is one of the best ways to get started.

    Have you replaced your cable with your iPad?  What apps did I miss?


    1. Robert L. says:

      I did this last week but with my iMac. Bought a converter to go to my 42″ LCD via HDMI. I am amazed by the picture. I use Hulu, Netflix, and various broadcast channels websites. I could see doing the same with my iPad but then I could not multitask with my iPad. (except some channels websites use flash)

      I wish I had done this sooner. Big monthly money savings.

      By the way used the Mini Displayport Male and USB Male/Toslink Audio to HDMI from monoprice dot com.

      1. Shane says:

        Hi there Robert!

        that’s really cool that you took the iMac route…I should have mentioned in my article that it was possible…Yeah, it saves huge money considering what they quoted me at the cable company….good to know what you used as well…thanks again

      2. J says:

        Can you explain in detail what you had to buy to connect your tv to your Mac. I bought what they told me to but it still will not work, I get my screen saver up there but can not do anything else. ANY help would be appreciated, bought the new tv just for this purpose,,,

        1. Robert L. says:

          I have an iMac with the Mini Displayport and a 42″ HDTV with several HDMI inputs. So with this output from the iMac and input to the TV this is what I used:

          I bought the “Mini Displayport Male and USB Male/Toslink Audio to HDMI Female Converting Adapter” from monoprice. ( They have two units like this. I chose the one with the Toslink because it allows true digital audio as opposed to just using the usb version for audio. Just plug-in in to the iMac mini displayport and the 3.5 audio jack.

          Then connect a HDMI cable to the other end of the adapter and run it to your HDMI port on your TV. I used a standard speed HDMI cable. I also bought from monoprice – ( Just buy what length you need. I just bought the standard speed and it works fantastic even at 15″.

          This is a great solution as it only involves one cable going to your TV and it provides high quality experience. After I first hooked it up I tried using it as a second monitor but quickly realized just to mirror the display. Much easier to use on the TV.

          Hulu, network websites, Netflix, etc all have the capability to expand the just the video to full screen so I do that. I am still amazed at the quality of the picture and sound on my 42″ HDTV. I actually made a folder of bookmarks straight to the full episodes page on each network, etc.

          Hope this helps.

    2. Al says:

      I watch a lot of PBS – seems like they have some – but not all – of their programs on their website.

      Anyone have experience with their programs without cable?

      1. Shane says:

        Hi Al,
        Does the PBS app actually show their programs?

        1. Al says:

          It shows a few – mostly previews and additiion stuff about a show

          1. Shane says:

            Thanks Al – I wish it did show all their shows, they have some amazing ones and it would be one of the best reasons I’ve had to get rid of cable!!!

    3. Robert L. says:

      Yes, I have found broadcast channels are somewhat hit or miss on what shows with full episodes they put on their web sites. I am sure it is all about rights and money depending on the different ones.

      I gave up cable and one show I knew I would miss would be Top Shot. I was pleasantly surprised that you can view the lastest two episodes on a computer or an iPad. Sweet!

    4. Todd says:

      Great article… I have recently been looking into replacing my cable with a Windows 7 HTPC, then my brother suggested the Ipad 2. Seems like a great alternative – the only question I have is regarding a remote control. Is there anyway to control the Ipad 2 from my couch??

      Thank you!

      1. Shane says:

        Hey there Todd – - thanks for the message! yes..the remote control…I should have added that in the post…well, there are a few options actually and great timing because I have a post coming all about that…but yes it actually is possible to control your iPad from an iPhone or another iPad….

        1. Cathy says:

          Hi Shane,
          I may have missed it, but did you post anything about how use your iPhone to control your iPad?

    5. ipaduser says:

      When I purchased the original iPad I found my MacBook was beginning to collect dust. When the new Mac Mini’s were announced I sold my MacBook and purchased one. I have the Mini connected to my HDTV and use the Rowmote Pro application to control the Mini from the comfort of my couch. I have not been able to convince my wife to cut the cable yet, but I’m working on it. I believe between Hulu, Netflix, and iTunes we’d have all of our bases covered.

      1. Shane says:

        Hi there. Yeah I have 3 macs and just recently discovered the rowmote app. I love it so far bur I’m still waiting for one that can control my iPad, macs, and other devices all at once!

    6. Tommy says:

      Hey there,

      Great article. Any kind of apps or sites that could stream sports live for free or a minimal fee? I don’t need cable except for sports!

      1. Shane says:

        Hey there Tommy…well, there is rumor that ESPN will have one at some point but so far nothing that is free (of course). DirectTV has streaming sports but you have to have the service to use the app. there is one called CBS Sports: College, but that only streams “some” of the college games!

    7. Peter Rauwerda says:

      I have been trying to download hulu from the app store on my iPad. It doesn’t find it, even the link above doesn’t take me there.

      1. Robert L. says:

        This should take you right to it:

        You can also go to the ‘app store’ on your ipad and then search in the upper right for Hulu Plus

        1. Shane says:

          Robert. You are the greatest!!!! Thanks. I was gonna go find it but you are fast :)

          1. Robert L. says:

            I am subscribed to the thread but more importantly I just had a double expresso!!! :-O

        2. Peter Rauwerda says:

          It tells me “your request can not be completed”. I can not find it by searching the app store. Is it possible my Internet provider has it blocked?

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