Watch free full-length TV episodes with NBC, TNT iPad apps

Your iPad is starting to look a lot more like your TV thanks to on-demand viewing from these two big networks.

The newly updated NBC for iPad app can stream full-length TV episodes free of charge.
Screenshot by Rick Broida

Your iPad just took two big steps closer to replacing your TV--or at least your Hulu Plus subscription. Last week, NBC released an updated version of its iPad app, allowing users to view full-length episodes of pretty much every show in its lineup.

That means you can stream "30 Rock," "America's Got Talent," "Community," "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon," and, when they debut, new shows like "The Playboy Club" and "Whitney." All this happens totally free of charge, and with surprisingly minimal commercial interruption.

For example, I decided to check out "Friends with Benefits," which, though derivative and predictable, was actually not awful. The only commercial breaks were short, silent banner ads for Extra gum.

Also last week, TNT debuted its eponymous iPad app, complete with full-length TV shows and movies. Just one catch: as with HBO Go, you need to be a cable subscriber to unlock all the good stuff. And although the app supports most of the major providers, Time Warner Cable isn't one of them.

Unlike NBC's busy, feature-laden app, TNT for iPad has a spartan, simple interface divided into Shows, Movies, and Schedule. (There's also a History option if you want to review what you've watched.)

Most of the shows are TNT originals, including "The Closer," "Franklin and Bash," "Falling Skies," and every single episode of the criminally underrated, canceled-too-soon "Men of a Certain Age." But you'll also find a couple syndicated favorites, including "Bones" and "Dallas."

Alas, the movie selection is weak: about 20 made-for-TNT (I think) titles I've never heard of, like "Cooperstown" and "Last Stand at Saber River." Meanwhile, the app is slow and buggy; it wouldn't even run properly until I rebooted my iPad.

The NBC and TNT apps are free, so you've got nothing to lose--and hours upon hours of viewing enjoyment to gain--by checking them out. While you're at it, leave a comment letting me know which of the network's streaming apps you like best. One of these two? ABC? TBS? HBO?

TNT for iPad makes most of the network's original shows available for streaming.
TNT for iPad makes most of the network's original shows available for streaming. Screenshot by Rick Broida