I rarely begin my reviews pouring out my heart over the love of any game, movie or app. But MLB.tv makes watching baseball games easy, convenient and fun on the PlayStation 3… and yes I’m in with love it! Bandwidth requirements are low and you can stream MLB.tv onto your PS3 with as little as 1Mbps (or >3Mbps for HD). DSL offers 3Mbps and FiOS and cable offer >15Mbps. So most of you will be fine.
For the baseball enthusiast it’s a no brainer. Many would see the sticker price as a deal breaker, but at $120 it’s a bargain. If I have to break down the pricing scheme I will. Most people pay an average of $150 – $200 a month for cable. Barring local black outs and special circumstances (games of the week) you can watch up to 15 games a day. Let me dive in and break down what MLB.tv offers and why it’s a must own.
Setting up the MLB.tv app on your PS3 was a piece of cake. You can download the app from the PS Store and once installed you can access it under “Video” on your cross media bar (xmb). When you launch the MLB.tv app you will be provided an activate code similar to setting up Netflix. Once you link your account on MLB.tv/ps3 from your computer, the PS3 launches right into the scoreboard.
Now here’s where the magic happens. You’ll see all the games for that day displayed in a grid. Start times and starting pitchers are listed in each games box. Pressing select on your PS3 controller allows opens up the monthly calendar which you can advance to a certain date and check out those games. And if you want to go back, they’ve put in a dummy proof system, the square button, that brings you back to today’s games.
DVR it! MLB.tv has implemented a DVR system that makes watching games awesome. You can pause, rewind or even skip to an event thanks to the markers displayed on the DVR time-line using the R1 button. I LOVE this feature. You can scroll through all the games highlights for run scoring plays highlighted with different colors. One for Home and the other for Away.
Watching the game from every angle. Watching the game on dual feeds is an option and I’m so glad they put that in. Not only do I like watching my favorite team, Boston Red Sox, through their NESN feed bust sometime I may like to hear the audio through the Home teams announcer. Why would you ever want this? Let’s say one of the two feeds is a bit choppy or in a rare example knocked out, you have a backup feed waiting to be used with your favorite teams broadcaster as a choice.
Watch for Blackouts. Unfortunately, Blackouts are a thorn in the side of MLB.tv. Games on MLB.TV and available through MLB.com Gameday Audio are subject to local blackouts. Such live games will be blacked out in each applicable Club’s home television territory, regardless of whether that Club is playing at home or away. Check here for those Blackout games. Local team games are blacked out and in my situation both the New York Yankees and New York Mets are not watchable. I understand the way blackout restrictions are done, but there should be an exception to MLB.tv. Why? Because most viewers of MLB.tv want to see their Home team play. However, if a game is blacked out and not within your Home television territory you’ll be able to watch that archived game 90 minutes after the last out.
A Fantasy Must! Fantasy baseball fans love their stats. And stats through MLB.tv keeps you informed of your entire roster once you enter them. Along with tuning in and watching your player LIVE, you can also turn on the notifier which will let you know when your other players are on deck.
For the 2011 MLB season, the MLB.tv team is introducing significant advancements, including an improved user interface, more integration and more sophisticated tools for live streaming.
Some of the new 2011 upgrades include:
- Highest Quality HD Streaming – Speed detection technology gives users ultra-HQ video access (NexDef 4.5 mbps) depending on available bandwidth.
- Enhanced Audio – In-game alternate audio selection allows users to overlay the home or away team’s broadcasters over the live video or use the “Park” option to include the ballpark’s natural sounds.
- Quick-Access Stats – View player cards with full career stats, league leaders, and in-game stats including AB, R, H, RBI, K, BB, SO, LOB, AVG, HR, SB.
- Event Navigation – Select in-game event types, such as home runs, hits or stolen bases, to show on a progression timeline and jump directly to the at bat where they happened.
- Improved User Interface – User-friendly design makes it even easier to browse.
Simply put. The age of broadcasting sports over standard cable is still there but internet based streaming is steadily increasing. Allowing viewers to choose their method of baseball programming opens the door for the consumer, and its about time. With technology pushing the envelop through iPads, PS3’s and Roku boxes we could very well see the demise of cable programming. Portability is also becoming a must and MLB.tv satisfies all those forms of viewing. For those looking to watch all live out of market games or archived home territory TV games MLB.tv for the PS3 is for you, Blackouts aside.