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MLB Extra Innings vs. MLB.tv. Which one is right for me?
The baseball season is upon us. The scent of new, green grass will soon wake up our hibernating senses and the sound of the bat crushing the baseball will begin another season of heartbreak and elation. The long awaited Opening Day is only a week away. The fans are dusting off their team jerseys, fitting into new caps, and becoming familiar with the new faces on the team.
While most of the baseball fans will find their way to the ball park of their home team this season, a transplant like me will have to find the Yankees playing on a screen of a TV, computer, or smart phone in Denver.
My options are straight forward: MLB.tv or MLB Extra Innings. I have used DirecTV MLB Extra Innings for 5 years now and decided to consider a switch to MLB.tv due to its lower cost. Before I made the move, I looked into the differences between the two.
MLB Extra Innings
MLB Extra Innings is available with DirecTV and these other cable and satellite providers:
The deal with MLB extra Innings is simple: $35.99/mo for 6 months or $215.94 for the season. You get pretty much every game played on the daily basis; the only caveat is your home team feed may not be available from time to time. I haven’t ever had any big problems with blocked games. Saturday morning and early afternoon games are blocked by FOX as they still have the rights to do so. We will talk about how you can listen to the Saturday games later.
My situation is unique because the first pitch is scheduled for 7:10pm Boogie Down time which is 5:10pm Mountain Time. At this time I am either wrapping up my projects for the day or still entirely engulfed in work. Since I watch the games from the first pitch, I do not usually follow the early innings of the games. There is something religious about getting my DVR fired up and hearing the sweet voice of legendary Bob Shepherd- “Your attention please, ladies and gentlemen, you are watching the YES Network, the home of the champions”.
I have to warn you that if you are recording two programs at once, there is a very good chance that your TV will turn on while tuned into the game channel. Before you have the time to flip through the DVR menu and begin the game from the start, the score will be reveled on the screen. After letting it happen a few times, I learned to navigate the DVR menu without turning on the TV. Three or four clicks on your remote control before you turn on the TV will ensure that you watch the game from the start.
I enjoy having the control of the recording as well. Some nights and days I have less time to watch the game than others. Games can get long and drag out. First benefit is cutting out commercial time by fast forward action. I also fast forward when the managers begin mercilessly changing pitchers for match ups and all other none-game time wasting. If you get really good, you can even watch the game in fast mode. You control how quickly or how long you want the game to go on.
One more tip on DVR use, do not forget to set your recording for an hour or two later than the scheduled end of the game. I can’t tell you how disappointing it is when Enter Sandman comes on and the recording ends. Always extend the time of the recording or you will be catching the walk off home run on ESPN highlight instead.
While MLB Extra Innings is one deal package, MLB.tv offers a few packages for their customers:
· MLB.tv Premium - $124.99/year or $24.99/month for 6 months
· MLB.tv - $109.99/year or $19.99/month for 6 months
· MLB.com ATBat.12- $14.99/year or $$2.99/month for 6 months.
MLB.tv Premium package is an MLB.tv and ATBat.12 bundle. With this package you can watch any game with cool features like mosaic view, pitch by pitch widget, clickable linescores, fantasy player tracker, in-game highlights, stats and more. If you are playing baseball fantasy, you will love the features.
You will be able to watch the game on the computer, hook it up to the TV and watch it on there as well. With AtBat.12, you can watch the game on your mobile device like iPhone, iPad and Android phones and tablets.
I used AtBat.11 last year alone as an iPhone app and loved it. You get your Gameday feature, where virtual at bats take place to mimic the live game, and more importantly for me, the radio. You can stream any audio feed all season long for $14.99. That was money well spent for me. If the Yankees play early on Saturday, I will be at the pool or on the hike tuning in for “Something sort of Grandish” or “Swishilicious”.
As I mentioned before, I enjoy my MLB Extra Innings subscription, but the perceived savings had me consider MLB.tv. Right away we notice one year of MLB EI at $215.94 vs. MLB.tv Premium at $124.99. Throw in the $14.99 for AtBat.12 and my season cost is $230.93. Now I am looking at $105.94 in savings by switching.
Since I am planning to be billed monthly, let’s look at the savings this way: MLB EI at $35.99/month vs. MLB.tv at 24.99/month. This comes out to $11 savings monthly over a 6 month period, resulting in $66 season savings. Throw in the $14.99 for AtBat.12 and I would save $80.99 for the year paying monthly.
As you see the savings are substantial and the features of MLB.tv are very tempting for a baseball fan. In order to make the final decision, I needed to know if I could watch the game on MLB.tv from the beginning while it was still airing live. I found little on this topic online so I made the call to MLB.tv. The response was discouraging. The game cannot be played from the start until 90 minutes after the game’s end! For me that meant that I will either have to watch the game from the 4th or 6th inning or wait until 10pm to begin from the start. Since I prefer to control when I watch the game instead of being controlled by the game I decided to stick with MLB EI. The savings are nice and I could find many things to spend $105 on, but when I look at it from a 162 game perspective, being able to watch the game when I want is the key for me. Also, controlling the game with the remote control is a lot more efficient for me than having to control the game with the mouse and keyboard.
If I were a travelling salesman, I would choose MLB.tv. If I played baseball fantasy, I would choose MLB.tv. Everyone’s baseball watching habits are different and I bet we can all find the perfect package within the two services.
I feel so lucky when I watch the black and white reels with folks hovering over a radio, listening to the game and keeping score on paper. I can pause CC Sabathia’s pitch in mid-air now from my couch, grab a beer from the fridge, come back and see the batter whiff without missing a moment. The way we watch baseball has definitely changed in the last 100 years, but the fundamental love for American pastime is the same regardless where in America we get to watch our home team play.