Lest we think MLB.tv is perfect…

My last post fairly gushed with love for MLB.tv, justifiably I think. But I don’t want anyone over at MLB Advanced Media thinking they should rest on their laurels. To wit, some nits, for the picking:

Linux/Mac Support
This is the first year where it has actually been straightforward to get the full MLB experience on Linux. A couple of years ago it was really awful; Linux users felt pretty abused. Like I said, this year has been pretty good. I had to download the autobahn.jar and run it by hand to get HD in Linux, but that’s a pretty low bar.

To some degree I feel like this year’s Linux compatibility is by accident. Since they MLB.tv technology is Flash-based, and Adobe is suddenly interested in Linux, it works out. But it could easily fall by the wayside again (witness last years’ Silverlight mess). I’d like to see a clear statement from MLBAM that they are committed to supported Firefox/Chrome/Safari/IE on Linux/Mac/Windows. Period.

Part of why I want that commitment, of course, is because MLB will be able to force their partners to support Linux. You can bet someone at Adobe realized that good Linux support would be a plus for MLB.

Blackout Restrictions
Oh Bog! I don’t care that MASN has the O’s-Yank’s on locally: it is not the YES feed. Blackout restrictions are so 19th century.

Slice and Dice Pricing on the iPhone App
I want to pay once, thank you. I want Gameday Audio, MLV.tv Premium, the iPhone App, Gameday Premium all for one price. Period.

Inline Network Status and Feedback
In the beginning of the season, there were lots of little issues as the kinks were worked out. Plus, with so many different links in the chain delivering the YES Network feed to me, it is always possible for something to go wrong. I’d like to know what is wrong when it is down.

I’d also really appreciate, right from the video stream, if I could see both a high-level status for each team’s various streams (green thumb/red thumb?) as well as a more detailed status including if a fix is estimated during the game. Currently, you can look at the support forums, but it breaks the viewing paradigm.

Additionally, I like to be able to give feedback on the stream performance, and have the user feedback (aggregated) feed into the status above.

Local Pre-Game and Post-Game Shows
I know I am the millionth person to request this, but I really want to see the pre-game and post-game shows for each video stream, as well as hear the pre-game and post-game shows for the audio. Please! I am sure there are byzantine problems securing rights for this, but try! ($20 says they already have a plan.)

More Testing
I am not suggesting they don’t test; I know they test. But I think they need to campaign for more volunteers. I’d have been happy to run a piece of software for three months in the off-season to let MLBAM try different things. I’m just saying. I volunteer!

Inline Condensed Games
Condensed games are awesome, but there is a pretty big time lag (usually overnight) before they are available. Sometimes, when I jump into a game in the middle, I’d like to be able to one-click select a reel of highlights so far. I want in-game condensed games. It seems to me this would have to be automated, so it might not be perfect, but it seems doable.

Gameday Audio/MLB.tv Audio/Video Unbundling
This has to be a legal rights mess, but there are technical hurdles as well. I want to be able to, for example, watch the Yankees YES Network feed in HD, but with the WCBS Gameday Audio on. This would require (beyond a bunch of legal wrangling) ironclad synchronization among the audio feed and the video feed. Tricky, but possible. In fact, there are probably folks who would like to listen to the YES Network audio only; strange, but the world is a wide place. Unbundling the audio and video feeds would be cool — how about watching the YES feed while listening to the Boston radio stream? Why not?

So, lots of room for improvement. Get on it MLB! Stop slacking!

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2 Comments on “Lest we think MLB.tv is perfect…”

  1. Baseballbriefs.com tracking back Lest we think MLB.tv is perfect……

    Baseballbriefs.com tracking back Lest we think MLB.tv is perfect……

  2. John Dowdell Says:

    fwiw, although there was a gap in Linux support back when YouTube became popular, there’s simultaneous Mac/Win/Lin development now. Over the next year we’ll see more televisions and smartphones, many Linux-based. The publishing technology will be there.

    But my own top wish for online baseball (if I can piggyback on your list here 😉 would be for fixed-camera feeds into each dugout, including the base coaches. If it’s cropped to avoid the stands and inning-changes, the bandwidth would be relatively low. It would be nice to see the signals like the players do!


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