MLB.com have just released the options available to baseball fans for listening and watching baseball over the Internet in 2007. As always, there is a decent amount of choice to cater for different needs and systems.
The main shift this year is the launch of a MLB.TV Premium package to sit alongside the standard MLB.TV package and Gameday Audio. In previous years, “All Access” was the top product. This combined MLB.TV with Gameday Audio and added a few extras, such as access to condensed games. The MLB.TV Premium package gives you the “All Access” content and adds to it with a souped-up streaming rate of 700K and the fancy Mosaic feature that was trialed last year.
What stands out to me at first glance is that people who don’t quite want the top package will have a relative bargain on their hands. MLB.TV is now effectively last season’s All Access package, yet you only have to pay £46 ($89.95) for it instead of £52. Considering it seemed reasonably priced last year and a small price hike was expected, that’s a great result . The slight down side of course is that people can no longer buy MLB.TV on it’s own; however I doubt many will mind paying a bit extra considering the new price and the extras you receive.
MLB.TV Premium does look an enticing package, yet it’s probably best to check that Mosaic will work on your machine and with your internet connection. My PC is a bit cobbled together and I couldn’t get Mosaic to run when I tried it last year! There is a demo clip showing what games streamed at 700K will look like and if the clip is an accurate representation (not guaranteed!) then it will be a considerable improvement. I like to watch games on full-screen mode and I can get away with it by sitting further back from my screen than I would when I’m doing things such as writing blog posts. The picture isn’t crystal clear, but it’s more than good enough. Watching the 700K demo clip, I can send it to full-screen and keep sitting in the same place and the picture quality is impressive (again, not perfect but pretty good). Obviously this has to be balanced against the possibility that the doubled streaming rate might leave you “buffering” every minute or so.
Right now, I’m in a bit of a quandary over whether I should go for the Premium package or not. Even if I can get the mosaic feature to work, I doubt I will use it much (not least because the time difference means there are far fewer occasions as a Brit when there are six live games going on at one time that you want to keep an eye on). The 700K picture is fairly seductive though and my 2MB connection should cope! Premium will cost £62 so that will mean a £16 extra outlay over the MLB.TV package, which isn’t much over the course of the season. I will have to think it over!
So the main points are:
- Gameday Audio is an absolute bargain at around £8. If you haven’t got the spare cash or the technical set-up for MLB.TV, I would heartily recommend investing in this. Even with MLB.TV, I still listen to plenty of games on Gameday audio over the season.
- MLB.TV is essentially last year’s All Access package for just approximately £46: an absolute bargain! The live action at 400K is perfectly watchable and the condensed games (generally 9-10 minutes of highlights of every single game) are fantastic for those of us who can’t spend their days and nights watching live games.
- MLB.TV Premium will cost you approximately £62 and the extra £16 gets you a much better picture than the standard MLB.TV, and MLB Mosaic.
Don’t forget, you may be liable for a small overseas transaction charge as well depending on who you bank with (generally only around £1).
MLB work on the policy of an automatic renewal, so I imagine people like myself who subscribed to All Access last year will immediately be charged for the Premium package (although you can cancel it before it goes through).
Check out the subscriptions section on MLB.com for more info.