Baseball's Internet Opening Day

Baseball's Internet Opening Day

Summary: It's baseball season's opening day, and thanks to MLB.TV you can watch your team's opening day almost anywhere you have a a broadband Internet connection.


I've been a baseball fan since 1969 when the "Miracle" Mets bounced my Chicago Cubs from the National League championship. Living in the backwoods of West Virginia, I never saw my Cubs play in person or on TV. Instead, I listened to my beloved Cubs at night on my radio, which was tuned in to WGN. Today, thanks to MLB.TV, I can watch the Cubs, or any other team, anywhere I've got broadband and on almost any device.

MLB.TV takes the various local sports network broadcasts--NESN for the Boston Red Sox, YES for the Yankees and so on-and enables you to watch them over your Internet connection. In my experience, you'll need at least a 768Kbps (Kilobit per second) down connection for Standard Definition (SD) TV, and for High Definition (HD) broadcasts, you'll need at least a 3Mbps (Megabit per second). You'll be happier though with at least 1.5Mbps for SD.

This in turn means that while you can use smartphones and tablets to watch baseball over the Internet, 3G usually isn't going to do the job. Instead, you'll need a high-speed Wi-Fi connection. Indeed, the At Bat 11 applications for iPhone, iPod Touch, Android, Blackberry, and iPad doesn't try to give you live video. Instead, it provides a simulated video. You can still use a mobile device's Web browser, if Flash is supported, to 'see' a game, but without 4G, it's not that great. Personally, if I were stuck with using a mobile device most of the time, I'd just subscribe to the Internet radio MLB.COM Gameday Audio service.

While MLB.TV only talks about Windows and Macs, it actually works well, in my experience, on Linux PCs as well. To view HD though you need the free Windows and Mac specific NextDef plug-in.

MLB.TV is a Web-based video service and will work with pretty much any Web browser. I usually use Chrome. The real key is that you need Adobe Flash. On a PC, you'll also need JavaScript turned on; cookies enabled; and you should disable your pop-up and ad blockers.

As for Internet video extender devices, you can use a Sony PS3, the second-generation Apple TV, a Roku or Boxee media player, and, some LG and Samsung Internet-enabled HDTVs and Blu-Ray DVD player.

The one downside to MLB.TV is that you're still stuck with local broadcast blackouts. So, for example, in Asheville, NC, I may not be able to watch all Atlanta Braves or Cincinnati Reds games. That's no skin off my nose, but before buying the service make sure your team isn't subject to local blackouts.

The cost for the service, with all the extras, such as your choice of home and away broadcasts and DVR style controls, is $119.99 for the whole season. It's $99.99 for the basic version. By comparison, DirecTV's MLB Extra Innings is $209.44, and, of course, you have to subscribe to DirecTV. For those of you, like me, who still find just listening to baseball a little bit magical, Gameday Audio is only $19.95 for the whole season.

Play ball!

See Also:

Roku XD rolls out to Best Buy locations nationwide

D-Link Boxee Box Review

Netgear gets back into Internet video with Roku

Apple TV Video Review

Topics: Mobility, Browser, Hardware

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: Baseball's Internet Opening Day

    Steven -

    I need my Phillies fix, no matter where I am. My solution? I use a Slingbox Pro and the iPhone app. At little more than the price of a single season, I can watch games on my phone, even on AT&T' Edge network, with acceptable audio and video. If I'm in 3G range, the quality is even better.

    of course this only works because i have a home, with cable TV and Internet, in the phillies broadcast area. But it does mean I can watch Phillies games anywhere I happen to be, on my phone or notebook.
    David Chernicoff
    • RE: Baseball's Internet Opening Day

      @David Chernicoff

      Does the HDTV need to be on and tuned to the target channel before Slingshot can stream the telecast to your remote (in my case) iPad device?
      • RE: Baseball's Internet Opening Day


        No. The Slingbox connects directly to your cable/satellite box and you can turn the box on/off and change channels, watch on-demand programming, use PPV. Anything you can do locally with the connected device (you get a virtual remote). You can also connect it to other video media players.

        Because the Slingbox takes over the cable box, a person watching that TV would have to watch the same programming. Ifthey change the channel at the host the channel would change on the Slingbox.

        Also, only one person can access the Slingbox remotely at a time.
        David Chernicoff
  • RE: Baseball's Internet Opening Day

    when i am at a baseball game the internet is never on my mind.
  • RE: Baseball's Internet Opening Day

    wait, I have to pay for a service that broadcasts cable tv that I am already paying for? Why do people subscribe to this, do they just like to give their money away? I love me some Red Sox, but I'm not gonna drop $100 a season when I'm already paying to see them on NESN.
  • Our Baseball team is owned by

    a Monopoly here in Canada. The team is the Toronto Blue Jays and the owner is one of the largest telecoms giant and corporation in Canada. Rogers owns cellular phone towers through large cities in Canada. Reception is non existent everywhere I go. They own Fiber Optic cable in large cities and offer internet service. Rogers owns wireless cable as well as Rogers Stadium in Toronto and the only Major League team in Canada, the Toronto Blue Jays. purchased anywhere in Canada blacks out all Blue Jays Home games and in some cases the nearest US team southward.

    If I want to watch all Blue Jays games I need to purchase all of Rogers Sports Net's channels from my local satellite provider.
    It's a big waste of money for me because I don't want cable or satellite. I also use a Magic Jack for telephone.
    • Kind of odd

      Canada is a very big country. It's not like people in Vancouver are going to travel to Toronto just to catch a Blue Jays game (at least not very often)... but monopolies can be leveraged in all sorts of ways that customers find unpleasant.

      My condolences.
      John L. Ries
    • RE: Baseball's Internet Opening Day

      @Level-headed : As A Canadian, do I really care about the Blue Jays? Nope. For most, the Expos was Canada's team. They are gone. Dictator for Life Bud Selig made that happen - and the National are doing worse than the Expos.

      Call it a monpoly with Rogers. Maybe ask your future MP to start an investigation. I could understand a blackout around Toronah [after all the last sell out was when?] but all over Canada. If I'm in Calgary, why should it be blacked out?
      Gis Bun
  • RE: Baseball's Internet Opening Day

    What do you mean by "simulated video"? The At Bat apps for iDevices, at least, give you the same video broadcast you get on a computer or other supported MLB.TV devices. The quality over 3G isn't great, but it is video.
  • Nice to see...

    ...that we can at least discuss baseball without igniting a flame war.
    John L. Ries
  • RE: Baseball's Internet Opening Day

    ..All i know is I want a refund. I bought the monthly subscription with the intent of watching it on my about disappointment. Slooooow bit rate, choppy audio, lots of compression artifacts such as blocking, tearing and blurring. I would love to see a full review on here about it. DO NOT waste your money.
  • RE: Baseball's Internet Opening Day

    Message has been deleted.