So, I took the big leap this year, abandoned Extra Innings, and got MLB.tv. Before I did it, I had some trepidation.
As it stands, I have mixed feelings. There's some good, and some bad. Also, there's still things I'm figuring out about how to make it go the way I think it should.
Seriously important, then, is that we share some tips and tricks to get it to do what we want. Also, this being RR, we should rant a bit about what it would have been if it had been done properly, and what Chris Carpenter will tell his kids when the game is blacked out in their region.
If you are so inclined, share with us your MLB.tv experience, your computer/bandwidth, and what you think. I'll go first, after the jump. I've always wanted to write something after the jump.
So, I got a Dell Zino to put next to my HD TV, so that I could watch baseball from the couch, instead of having to sit at my computer which seemed not so much like watching baseball. I got the premium account, because HD makes a big difference on a TV rather than a monitor. Plus it wasn't that much more money, and still cheaper than Extra Innings.
I have AT&T U-verse, with "up to 12 Mbps" download. Speed tests on my TV computer indicate that I'm getting about 11.5 Mbps consistently (I'm running that computer wired). That should be plenty for HD streaming; most things I've read say that 6 Mbps is plenty.
It definitely comes in in HD, which is to say that it is in 720(p or i, not sure). However, the bit rate is quite a bit lower than, say, ESPN. That means that you end up with little blurry spots pretty often. The bit rate is not constant, either: sometimes it gets really good for a while, then not so good. While it's a bit annoying, it's certainly not unwatchable.
The player leaves something to be desired, IMHO. Here's some stuff it needs:
- "Jump back 10 seconds" button, like the one on every DVR on the planet. If I was catching junior as he hurled himself off the couch towards the wall while carrying a drum stick when Arroyo hit a home run, I want to click back and see it. I'll patch up the kid afterwards.
- Skip the commercials. When watching a game a bit delayed (hey, I'm on the west coast!) you should be able to skip through the innings breaks. I have not been able to do that successfully. Clicking on the inning you want seems to have inconsistent results.
- Hide the score past where you are currently watching! The whole point of watching the game delayed is that I don't want to know what's going to happen until I see it! I want to CONTROL TIME! Mmmmm-wha-hahahahahaha!
- Come on, Bud. Up your bandwidth and stream a bit higher quality.
- It's very hard to know how much behind real-time you are. Not quite sure how to fix that, but that's why I'm not a software guy.
Here's something I just learned you could do. I used to think it was impossible:
If you click on "pitch tracker" or whatever it's called in regular view, THEN click the full screen button, you get to keep the pitch tracker. If you go to full screen first, you can't get it. It's cool to get the robot's opinion on calls you think the ump blew.
Et tu, RR?