MLB Network expanded to an online format on Thursday, becoming the first league-owned TV network to do so.
On Thursday, MLB Network launched a full live stream online, to be available via computers and mobile devices. The move made it the first league-owned network to offer its full programming online. The stream will also include the MLB games that are routinely shown on the channel. It gives viewers an alternate option to view games that were not previously available, except for MLB.tv subscribers. Naturally the games will be subject to local blackout rules, but that was the case anyway for both MLB.tv and the TV channel.
“Since 2009, MLB Network has provided Major League Baseball fans with the most comprehensive coverage of the game on television through its award-winning programming,” said MLB Network president Rob McGlarry in a press release. “In partnership with MLB Advanced Media, which has been an industry leader in live streaming for over a decade, these new platforms will provide fans with MLB Network wherever they are.” (via SBN)
The HD stream for MLB Network was available beginning on Thursday via either MLBNetwork.com with a cable subscription log-in or via the MLB At Bat app, which is typically included free with an MLB.tv premium subscription. So the service isn’t “free” as is typical with most of these cable TV ports. The part likely to be maddening to MLB.tv subscribers is that, even though they likely have the At Bat app installed on their devices, trying to pull up MLB Network prompts you to enter your pay TV information in order to get access.
Which really begs the question for all of these ports, what is the point of putting programming online if the only people who can access it is those who already pay for TV and can presumably access it that way most of the time. Subscribers to the following networks will be able to access MLB Network in this manner: AT&T U-verse, Bright House, Cablevision, Cox, DirecTV, DISH, Time Warner Cable and Verizon FiOS.
As you can see, two big providers in Comcast and Charter aren’t on that list, so that crosses out another big section of people who won’t be able to access the online MLB Network programming. The blackout rules are also intact, so if you’re in that area, you’ll just be shown different programming.
The first games shown on the MLB Network streaming platform were on Thursday as well, with regional coverage of either the Giants vs Mets or Orioles vs Red Sox.
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