MLB.TV Premium will see several new features for 2009,
including "DVR" functionality. Fans will also see prices down
$10 from last year for the streaming video package.
MLB.com has rolled out the latest offerings of their streaming-video package for out-of-market games via MLB.TV and MLB.TV Premium, adding new functionality, and at a lower price than last year.
Fans will find the price of both online packages down $10 from 2008, showing that MLB is working to pull in subscribers that are being hit by the downturn in the economy. The new prices will be $109.95 for the season, or $19.95 a month, for MLB.TV Premium, while MLB.TV will be $79.95 for the season, or $14.95 a month
The lower price is being coupled with key upgrades for MLB.TV Premium.
The biggest wow-factor for 2009 is a DVR-like function that will allow you to pause, rewind, and fast-forward live game feeds.
Picture quality continues to approach near broadcast grade for those that have high-speed internet access. MLB.com tells The Biz of Baseball that "proprietary speed detection will allow those customers that have high-speed access to enjoy an HD quality picture on any size monitor."
You now have the option of watching up to four games or highlights simultaneously, and use picture-in-picture via a secondary window. Where available, you will be able to watch or listen to either the home or away team's broadcasts. Also, where available, fans can now choose whether they want to listen to the radio or TV announcers of each game.
Other features include...
- Live Game Highlights
Real-time highlights and player stats automatically load into the media player. Simply click on a highlight and the clip instantly launches in a Picture in Picture window.
- Player Tracker
Customize alerts to feature entire fantasy rosters or players that you are interested in. You will be notified any time a listed player is on deck. Simply click the real-time alert and watch live at-bat look-ins.
- Live Game Chat
Comment on the action with either friends or rivals as games are played.
The biggest technical change, however, comes by way of the player used to watch games. MLB.com’s agreement to use Microsoft’s Silverlight player has ended, and in its place, an agreement to use Adobe’s Flash Player will be used. Along with the new player, engineers have been working under the covers to the system. MLB.com tells The Biz of Baseball that upon launch of the new system, it will automatically detect a user's location and thus determine instantly whether or not the user is authorized to access the requested game.
A free demo of the new features and picture quality is available online. MLB.com has said that the media player is still in development leading up to opening day of the 2009 season.
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
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