How the iPad is becoming my new favorite home-entertainment device

Don Reisinger - Jul 31, 2010, 9:30 am CDT
How the iPad is becoming my new favorite home-entertainment device

It’s not often that I sing the praises of a single product. Most times, I use several different devices to do what I want. Whether that means listening to music, computing, or watching television, it doesn’t matter. If I want to do it, chances are, several devices will be needed to get the job done.

But as I continue to use my launch-day iPad, it’s becoming clear that all my hopes for an all-in-one device have finally been realized. Apple’s lightweight tablet is quickly becoming my go-to entertainment device for those times when I want to surf the Web, check my e-mail, watch a quick movie, or catch up on a favorite show. It simply provides everything I need in my house in one small package that makes just about everything else unnecessary.

I know you might wonder why I would want to give up a 50-inch plasma for a tablet sporting a 9.7-inch display. It’s an understandable question and one that I can’t so easily answer. I certainly see the value of a big screen, and with all the gadgets I have connected to it, I’m fully capable of doing everything I can on my iPad, on my television, as well. But that doesn’t matter. With the ease of use that the iPad provides me, I’m much happier sitting on the couch and using my tablet.

Let me take you through an average day with my iPad to show you why.

When I wake up, I check the iPad next to the bed to see any e-mails that I might have received that night. After examining them, I take a seat at the table and have my breakfast with the iPad in hand, checking out the breaking tech news. From there, I put it next to my couch and head in to my home office to get going on the day.

Once my work is done each day, I take a seat on the couch, pick up the iPad, and check to see if there are any updates to the online video or television shows I watch. I’ll either watch them through iTunes or, if it’s an older show, on the free Netflix app that works beautifully with the iPad.

If I’m up for a movie, I can either turn “The Godfather II” on, which I purchased from iTunes, or simply pick another film that’s available. iTunes has a great selection, but as mentioned, Netflix is pretty worthwhile too.

It gets better. If my wife asks me a question or I hear something on the news that I want to look up, I can pick up the iPad again and do it. And let’s not forget that I can also play games, thanks to the App Store’s multitude of available apps.

So, let’s recap. For me, the iPad allows me to surf the Web, check e-mail, watch movies, watch television shows, view online video, and play games. It provides me with the same experience as my entire home-entertainment set up.

But there are two major differences between that set-up and the iPad.

For one, the iPad is a self-contained unit that allows me to bring all that entertainment with me wherever I go. And although the screen is smaller, I don’t miss the 50-inch display in most cases.

Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, it could save me a lot of money. Right now, I have an HDTV, three game consoles, two HTPCs, and a few set-top boxes connected in my home-entertainment system. That adds up to thousands of dollars worth of equipment. Compare that to the iPad, which retails for as little as $499, and it quickly becomes clear why folks on a budget would be well-suited to get an iPad to enjoy themselves away from the office, rather than load up on all kinds of gadgets.

I will freely admit that the iPad can’t totally replace all those products — live television will always make televisions relevant — but for the vast majority of my home-entertainment needs, Apple’s tablet gets the job done well every time.

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