As the 2011 MLB season approaches, for the fan that looks to always keep abreast of games, the choices have shifted radically over the last decade. Where options were either radio or television locally, now the ability to watch or listen to games isnâ€™t dictated by where you are at, but whether you have mobile or internet service.
Baseball fans have been blessed in that MLB Advanced Media has been the standard for producing streaming video, and as MLB.TV gets ready for the 2011 season, numbers bear that out.
According to MLB.com, the MLB.TV subscription service has now served one billion live video streams since its inception, 25% (250 million) of which were delivered in 2010 alone. The 2011 season packages for MLB.TV are on sale now at MLB.com.
â€śFans have continued to demonstrate, in record numbers, their desire to consume live baseball in the most convenient ways possible,â€ť said Noah Garden, Executive Vice President, Revenue, MLB.com. â€śWe remain committed to expanding MLB.TV for our subscribers by leveraging emerging technological platforms and partnerships that deliver a rich experience.â€ť
In 2011, fans will be able to follow every game wherever they are at (those nasty blackout restrictions the exception. Make sure and look closely before purchasing, and see the MLB TV territories map) with MLB.TV support across a variety of mobile and connected platforms, including iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Android devices through the top-selling MLB.com At Bat apps for each and Sony PS3 and other connected devices from the likes of LG, Samsung, Roku, Boxee, and more (see the listing). Additional platform offerings for MLB.TV live streaming will be announced as they become available.
For Android users, the video streaming option that was made available for the first time during last yearâ€™s postseason will now be standard for the 2011 regular season.
Cost for the 2011 season is $119.95 for "Premium" and $99.95 which doesn't give you PIP, home and away feeds, etc (see details)
Along with portability, this yearâ€™s product offers the following
- HD Quality Picture â€“ Speed detection technology delivers live high definition video at the industry standard of 720p on any size monitor.
- Home and Away Feeds â€“ Watch either the home or away teams' broadcasts.
- Alternate Audio Options â€“ Overlay the home or away teamsâ€™ radio broadcasts over the live video or use the â€śParkâ€ť option to include the ballparkâ€™s natural sounds.
- Live Game DVR Functionality â€“ Pause and rewind or fast-forward live games.
- Clickable Linescores â€“ Go directly to any at-bat or half-inning of a game.
- Multi-Game Viewing Options â€“ Watch up to four games simultaneously.
- Picture-in-Picture â€“ Choose one game and track another or watch in-game highlights simultaneously in a secondary window.
- Live Game Highlights â€“ Real-time highlights and player stats automatically load into the media player. With one click, the clip instantly launches in a picture-in-picture window.
- Player Tracker â€“ Customize a list to feature entire fantasy rosters and receive on-deck notifications to watch live at-bat look-ins for each player.
- Spring Training â€“ Watch about 150 live games from Florida and Arizona (details on when this is available not yet released).
Remember, mobile fans, to catch all games that are not blacked out in your location, youâ€™ll need to purchase not only MLB.TV, but At Bat 2011. Details on mobile device app coming shortly.
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, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. 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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