2011 MLB.TV subscription details announced

CovHlSqMLB.com has announced details of the 2011 MLB.TV subscriptions, which allow baseball fans in the UK to watch and listen online to Spring Training games, all 2,430 regular season games and the postseason.

Brits who subscribed in 2010 will notice that there are few differences compared with last year’s packages.  That is perhaps a slight disappointment to fans hoping for some new features, but the price freeze will be welcomed by all.

Once again, there are two ‘video’ options for subscribers to choose from: the standard MLB.TV and MLB.TV Premium. 

MLB.TV and MLB.TV Premium

MLB.TV is priced at $99.95 for a year-long subscription, which is £62 at the current conversion rate.  For that investment you can watch and listen to every regular season and postseason game live or on demand.  The picture quality will depend on your PC and broadband set-up, but a HD quality stream is available if you have the bandwidth to support it.  MLB.TV uses “speed detection technology” for optimum performance, adjusting the picture quality if traffic is starting to make the picture buffer.  You can also adjust the quality manually.

MLB.TV Premium is priced at $119.95, or £74.50. For the extra twelve pounds you have the option to pick between the home or away video feed, pause or rewind live games, and watch up to four live games at once in the “Quad Mode” feature.  The latter is probably the main reason why someone would choose to opt for the more expensive package.

The full range of features available are explained on the promotional page on MLB.com.  Some of the useful extras are the alerts that pop up in the media player, showing you highlights from around the Majors and letting you know when one of your fantasy players is coming up to bat in another game. The ‘clickable linescores’ and option to skip to specific at-bats in archived games proved to be a very handy addition to last year’s service and will surely be so again in 2011.

As well as the video feeds, subscriptions to both MLB.TV packages include the Gameday Audio service. This allows you to listen to the home or away radio broadcasts of every single game. 

As regularly readers will know, I’m a big fan of Gameday Audio and use it frequently during the season regardless of the fact that I could be watching the game instead.  Baseball, like cricket, suits the radio medium perfectly and it’s a great option, particularly if you are following a game while doing something else.   If BBC 5 Live Sports Extra’s MLB coverage last year introduced you to radio commentary of baseball, make a point to take advantage of this part of the subscription.

Focusing on the sound of the games does highlight one small, but potentially enjoyable, new feature in the 2011 subscriptions.  If you get tired of listening to the TV announcers, and I can think of a few I’d like to avoid, you can switch to the ‘Park’ option and listen to the “ballpark’s natural sounds”.  Hopefully it’s more atmospheric than a bit of chatter and someone shouting “hot dogs, get your HOT dogs” every thirty seconds.

Apps

The first feature listed on the subscription page is that MLB.TV is “portable to multiple devices”.  It’s worth making clear that the MLB.TV subscription alone doesn’t allow you to watch all the MLB.TV games on your iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android Phone.  You will need to buy the full MLB.com At Bat 2011 app as well for this functionality. 

MLB.com At Bat was the highest grossing iPhone and iPod Touch app last year.  That’s partly because, at £9, it is one of the more expensive apps you could buy.  One of the reasons it is relatively pricey is that the app includes a subscription to Gameday Audio.  The inclusion of the radio feeds helps to make it a great app.  The layout is very user-friendly and last year there was one free live MLB.TV game on the At Bat app every day, although understandably during the week this was often a night game so it wasn’t something that Brits could take full advantage of without being awake at one in the morning. 

If you’re mainly going to listen to games and have an iPhone or iPod Touch, buying this app might be your best option. It’s just a shame that MLB.TV annual subscribers don’t get a discount on the app as if you want to use it to its full capabilities, you end up paying for the live radio feeds twice. 

The answer to your prayers

£62 or £74.50 for the MLB.TV subscriptions isn’t loose change, but you get an incredible amount for the money.  If you want to follow your chosen team closely, or if you want to watch as many different teams and games as possible without being at the whim of the selections made by ESPN and their ilk, then an MLB.TV subscription (and/or the At Bat app) is the answer to your prayers. 

I’ve subscribed to MLB.TV every season since 2005 and I can’t imagine being without it.  I’ve found that even with a good broadband connection, you do occasionally get a bit of buffering on the video feeds; however most of the time it works well and the radio feed option is always there if traffic somewhere along the line is slowing up the video stream every now and then.

Quite simply, if you’ve got the desire and time to follow lots of baseball games, you’ll more than get your money’s worth out of the subscription.

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19 Responses to 2011 MLB.TV subscription details announced

  1. peter February 9, 2011 at 9:58 pm #

    any news when the prices of gameday audio will be out

  2. Matt Smith February 10, 2011 at 6:26 pm #

    Hi Peter. Haven’t seen any details yet. Suspect it will be in the normal $15-20 price range.

    The following message was posted on the GamedayAudio support forum on 26 January:

    “as we get closer to spring training, it [Gameday Audio] will be brought back.

    details are not know as yet. we will know more as spring training gets closer.

    if you are set up for automatic renewal, you will be notified via email prior to the renewal charge being processed”.

  3. peter February 10, 2011 at 9:25 pm #

    cheers matt

  4. Matthew Crawshaw February 11, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

    You can now get MLBTV on the PS3, allowing you to watch games on a ‘big screen’.

    If you buy the game MLB 11: The Show, you can take MLB TV free for a month.

    The game is import only and until I receive it, I cannot confirm if the free offer extends to UK PS3 owners.

    The game is out early March, so I will update you as and when!

  5. Matt Smith February 11, 2011 at 5:39 pm #

    Cheers for the info Matthew. Haven’t got a PS3 myself but I’m sure others will be interested to know if the month free offer does apply over here.

  6. Nick February 14, 2011 at 1:08 am #

    If you have a computer hooked up to your TV you can also get MLB.tv through a media center software called Boxee – http://www.boxee.tv.

    Can be remote controlled through your iPhone as well. Naturally still requires a subscription, but still very nice.

  7. Matt Smith February 14, 2011 at 10:02 pm #

    Thanks for the info Nick

  8. Nav February 16, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

    Are we able to access MLBTV through the PS3 here in the UK this year?

  9. Matt Smith February 18, 2011 at 8:34 pm #

    Hi Nav. I haven’t got any experience with PS3, but hopefully this thread on the UK MLB Supporters forum will help:

    http://www.baseballfan.co.uk/index.php?name=PNphpBB2&file=viewtopic&t=5024

  10. Shaun March 20, 2011 at 8:53 pm #

    Apple tv gives you the option for a big screen to view your games too… I haven’t bought the subscription yet, but I did get apple tv so this might be my next step. Hopefully it’s good for watching your favorite team, every game, since I’m no longer in town…:( any thoughts?

  11. Matthew Crawshaw March 27, 2011 at 6:55 am #

    Update ref: MLB TV/MLB 11: The Show (PS3)

    I received my copy of MLB 11: The Show this week. Once again the game is a very good interpretation of the game.

    New features for 2011 include pure analogue controls for pitching and hitting, plus there is also the added bonus of playing the Home Run Derby with Playstation Move for the first time. A solid update, however, there has been no overall improvement to online play with even the most local contests being subject to excessive lag.

    The game is best enjoyed with a bunch of mates around at yours with some beers!

    There was no MLB TV voucher with my copy, so I assume the offer was limited to people in the US.

    For the record, the PS3 MLB TV app has not yet been updated (it is still displayed as MLB TV 2010 with the last scheduled game being the World Series).

    I will update this page if a 2011 app becomes available. Essentially you need to create an account with the US PS3 store but the app is free. You then go to a link to pair the app with your existing MLB TV subscription and hey presto, you now have MLB TV on the big screen.

    The experience is enhanced with an app-based menu allowing you to select games from an i-player style schedule.

    More news when I get it!

  12. Matt Smith March 27, 2011 at 9:29 am #

    Thanks for the update, Matthew.

  13. Ben March 28, 2011 at 10:37 am #

    Do we think the PS3 app for 2011 will only arrive on opening day?

  14. Matthew Crawshaw March 30, 2011 at 7:52 pm #

    UPDATE

    MLB TV 2011 app is now available on US PS3 store.

    MLB TV is free all night tonight (across all formats)!!!

  15. Matt Smith March 30, 2011 at 8:04 pm #

    Good news for PS3 owners then. And good news for anyone still unsure whether to subscribe: give it a go today for free

  16. tom April 2, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

    Hi,

    I believe that the MLB site states that a connection speed of Broadband (768 kbps for standard video).

    I ran the speed test http://mlb.mlb.com/tools/bandwidthdetect/index.html on this site an mine is listed as 1.4Mb which should be fine.

    I am just a bit concerned that it states on this site that buffering can occur even when using a fast connection.

    Does anyone have any experience of an annoying level of buffering using a broadband connection speed of approximately 1.4Mb?

    Thanks,

    Tom.

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