This a must for the ultimate baseball fan anywhere in the world. That’s right, unlike other services based in the US only available to US residents, a MLB.tv subscription may be purchased from anywhere. That’s something I like about MLB, you are allowed to be a fan anywhere in the world, not only because of the MLB.tv package availability but for example for buying tickets. You could for example buy a ticket and choose “print at home” and have your ticket in hand even before traveling to the US (exception are those teams still associated with Ticketmaster).
Ok, I’m deviating from the subject of this article. Back to MLB.tv This is one of those out of market packs in a similar fashion as the NFL Sunday Ticket. According to the MLB website all you need is a broadband connection (pretty common nowdays) of at least 768k, 3M if you want to watch in High Def. In my experience 1.7M (meassured using speedtest.net) will give you a steady broadcast.
If your computer is not recent, you’ll have to settle for a lower quality setting since the application is processor and graphics card intensive. In any case, the game is displayed in 16:9 aspect ratio which is still pretty good for a HDTV.
Most of the time, the video quality is excellent. I say “most of the time” because like many things in life is not perfect. I noticed for some games (usually when the Yankees play) even using the lowest quality setting and even if you have plenty of available bandwidth, the video may freeze at times, using the lowest quality setting helps alleviate the problem and with some patience it’ll go away.
Where it really fails is in the auditory department, most of the time you find yourself cranking up the volume on both your computer and your stereo. Also the audio quality sometimes reminds me of the early days of the Real Player.
When I began using the service in early May, commercial were practically non existent, which made it kinda weird only to see the MLB logo with the “commercial break in progress” legend. Lately for some games, somoe external spondors have begun to appear like some recreational park chain and Toyota. So the commercial breaks are less silent.
Overall is a pretty good service, you get to see any team outside your market and I think the price is very competitive ($99 USD for the basic version).
Blackouts are non existent outside the US and Canada regardless of what is being broadcasted in local TV systems. In the US and Canada there are blackouts, however I haven’t encountered a problem because of 1) the main purpose is to watch something outside my market (currently for me, any game involving the Cubs and the Whitesox) 2)if want to watch something in my market, those games are broadcasted on local TV and regional sport networks.
For information and to subscribe visit www.mlb.com
See you soon.