MLB.TV available in time for Spring Training


Every season one of the most popular phrases for a baseball fan is that pitchers and catchers have reported, meaning that the preseason has started and regular season baseball is not too far away. Now a new phrase may start bringing the same excitement-MLB.TV is now on sale.

While this may be a bit of an exaggeration it is not that big of a leap since the huge popularity of the program has seemingly increased every year as baseball fans continue to sign up to watch the streaming video of MLB games. Now in its 12th year the program is the top sports streaming product.

The program allows fans to watch out of market games on a growing variety of platforms ranging from televisions to on iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, supported Android smartphones and tablets, Amazon Kindle Fire and Windows Phone 8. There is a range of additional devices that are or will be supported as well such as the Xbox and Sony’s Playstation.

It should be noted that the games shown are only those that are out of market games and the map for which teams claim which territory is very convoluted. For instance I think four or five teams claim Las Vegas. There is (or was I cannot find the current status) a court case that seeks to throw out MLB’s blackout policy, but you should probably not hold your breath for any changes this season.

All subscribers to the service that sign up early i.e. prior to the start of the regular season, will have access to more than 200 live games from Spring Training in Florida and Arizona. Spring Training game broadcasts are scheduled to begin on Wednesday, February 26, 2014.

Some subscribers, depending on which version they select will also receive a free subscription to At Bat, enabling fans to listen to any game on a huge range of supported platforms. MLB.TV comes in two flavors. For $129.99 a year you also get At Bat as well as support on mobile devices. For $109.99 you just get the standard features that do not include mobile devices and choice of feeds.

Will Enhanced Access to Live Sports Boost Xbox Sales?


Microsoft has enhanced a pair of sports apps that will be made available added an along with its pending Xbox release due later this fall with reworked ESPN apps as well as one that will enable users to access a good deal of NFL video and information, including fantasy football features

The ESPN app is enhanced from the earlier app available for Xbox 360 and provides a great deal of customization by users so that each experience will be tailored to individuals’ preferences such as the ability to create personalized highlight reels on specific players.

Users need to subscribe to a cable service that offers ESPN and with that they can view content not just on ESPN 3 but also programming and live sports from ESPN, ESPN 2 and other related broadcast partners.

The NFL app ties into NFL.Com and provides news and clips from games as well as enabling access to NFL Network programming and provides NFL Red Zone, a program that moves from game to game as teams near the Red Zone and try to score. It enables users to track fantasy teams in real time and they can snap the updates to the screen when playing a game on the console. It should be noted that the console will not ship in time for the start of the NFL season.

The video game console market is a very competitive field and some are even predicting that it will morph into something very different in the future, possibly as a dongle or another add on feature to a television.

But that is in the future and currently Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft are still competing for a market that generates billions in revenue worldwide. By adding enhanced features to apps that access the most popular sports programming and most popular sports in the US, Microsoft could see an advantage over its rivals. Sony is also expected to revamp its PlayStation lineup later this year.

ESPN kicks up Xbox service in time for College Kickoff

ESPN plans to launch a revamped version of its live sports service in time for users to for the start of the college football season. The latest version is designed to give viewers enhanced customization so that they can fine tune their broadcast watching experience.

Slated for release on Aug. 25, which not so coincidentally is just a week before the Sept 1 start of the NCAA Division 1-A season starts, so that if you rush you will be able to watch that Villanova at Temple game that has been intriguing you all off-season. Snide comment aside ESPN will be making over 400 regular season games available as well as 31 bowl games.

The live sport streaming service, available on Microsoft’s Xbox 360 gaming console will now feature a host of additional features and upgrades, with possible the most interesting being the ability to have a split screen so that you can watch two games, or programs, at once.

There are many more ranging from a live college scoreboard, the ability to use a Kinect controller from Microsoft to gain voice control capabilities that will enable a user to pause, rewind, play and skip all using voice control. Upgrades will also allow users to set reminders, receive live alerts if they wish add the ESPN crawler at the bottom of their screen for scores and other sports news. This can be personalized to feature a users favorite sports and teams.

The deal is available to customers of EXPN’s Internet and broadband partners which show ESPN.3 and includes include Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner Cable, Verizon, Cox Communications, Charter Communications, Bright House Networks and Suddenlink Communications.