While the MLB experience sucks in 2013, it’s still the best out there among the sports leagues and franchises. The MLB.TV package at $130 for the year for new users is still riddled with blackout and game restrictions (all Saturday games are blacked out) but, with a great Internet connection, you can watch games on your iOS and Android devices, PC and on your television. Samsung TVs even have the MLB app built in now. You need the Internet. Without MLB, well there’s your TV cable / satellite provider who will charge you about $250 for a season of games, also blackout restrictions apply. Finally, Satellite radio has you set for about $200 for the programing as a part of the deluxe package( Not an extra $20 a month but included in the $20 a month package)
The NFL, MLS and NHL leagues don’t have this sort of flexibility so, MLB is doing a good job but I don’t think it’s enough. We really need a one time fee that allows he end user to select what games they want, what features and where they want to watch or listen to those games. If I want only SF Giants games on my TV, iPad and in my car, that should be one price.
(Via Adam Jackson)
The MLB.tv & MLB At Bat apps are amazing. The league did a fantastic job creating the service, but to say the NHL doesn’t ofter the same amount of flexibility is just not true.
The MLS is expanding their reacher and their iOS apps are nice, but I do not think I have seen them on devices without app stores (TVs, set top boxes like Boxee & the Apple TV, etc). The NHL still requires a subscription via some satellite company and have some of the craziest black out rules in all of sports. Only MLB challengers their blackout rules.
With NHL GameCenter Live, I can watch old and live games from my computer, my iPhone, my AppleTV, an AppleTV, a Xbox 360, Boxee, Roku, Android, BlackBerry and Sony’s internet connected devices including the PlayStation 3. That is a lot of “flexibility.” All of this for only $50 for the entire season – granted, a shortened season of only 48 games which is much shorter than the baseball season.
The service also includes the radio streams, highlights and archives of games from the past. The NHL does blackout games, but the blackout regions are smaller than the regions covered by MLB teams. In Tulsa, I cannot watch the Dallas Stars hockey games. I also cannot watch the St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Royals, Texas Rangers and Houston Astros. I just cheat the blackouts with unblock-us to get around the stupid blackouts (DNS, not VPN). A great $5/month. It will allow me to get around the NHL’s blackouts of the playoffs in the US & Canada. International GCL customers get that for free. We’re stuck with the radio broadcasts here which may be free, at least in the playoffs.
The NHL also has one plan. $50 for the season in one or two payments. That is it. The MLB has season long and monthly passes for radio stream only. I cannot tell which is a better deal, but it would seem to be the monthly option. Then there is the two different MLB.tv offerings. One costs $110; the other $130. The cheaper one does not include the mobile apps which the other leagues include for free. From what I can pull from MLB.tv’s site, the cheaper option forces the broadcast feed on the user. Just seems like the MLB wants to have an option with a lower price tag knowing users will surely go for the more expensive option.
With satellite radio and pay TV. The NHL has a station on Sirius-XS which carries game and NHL Center Ice cost cable & satellite users $50 this year as well. They just need to get the NHL Network back on Uverse. NHL Network, NBC Sports Network and NBC games are blacked out online. Verizon users can cheat it because Verizon has a deal with the NHL & NBC. I really dislike that. NBC does stream NBC games on the web, iPad, iPhone and Android (maybe more) for free, so that does help us out. The Blues have three Sunday games starting at 11:30a in a row to end the season.
The NHL did have trouble keeping the site only when the league returned from a lockout last January, but the service has been fantastic since then. We still are stuck in SD at home, so going to HD (despite a low bit-rate HD) is amazing. Just makes the game feel that much better. I have had no trouble keeping the 3000 Kbps stream since opening day. The web player can be strange, but all full-screen video on my computer is acting up. All other devices I have used use Apple’s default video player it is great.
MLB.tv might have been first, but do not judge NHL GameCenter Live. They really improved the quality of their apps before this season, the service works fantastically, it is cheap and it works almost everywhere.
The Apple devices all share one common theme, they don’t allow MLB to inject advertisements into their stream.
Strange though. Apple allows ads for the NHL. Sure the MLB just does not do ads online? Not all of the NHL’s games have ads, just most.