By Jason Snell
March 6, 2015 3:30 PM PT
Testing out the MLB.TV Mac app
Spring is in the air and baseballs are being tossed around by highly paid professionals on grass fields all over Florida and Arizona. And so, naturally, a young fan’s mind turns to thoughts of streaming audio and video of baseball games on their various devices. Which prompts reader Craig Clavin to write:
Because I am not always a helpful person, I answered by telling Craig that while a non-Flash media stream obviously existed, I had no idea where you could get to it. Well, you know the parable: Give a man a fish and he’ll live for a day. Tell a man you have no idea where the fish are, and he’ll go off and find his own damned fish. Which is why, 17 minutes later, Craig reported back:
So, full credit to Craig for finding something I didn’t know existed, namely a beta version of MLB.TV for Mac that doesn’t require Flash and runs as its own app rather than in a browser window. (Update:: My sources at MLB say this is very much a tech development project, so it’s unclear if it will ever be an officially supported platform… we’ll see. I love the idea of not running MLB.TV in a browser, though…)
I’ve been using it for the last couple of days, and it seems to work just fine. I’m unclear if it’ll offer all of the features of the web version—multiple-game views and the like. It doesn’t now, but it’s still Spring Training. But I’m excited by the existence of this app, because dislike of Flash aside, I hated using my web browser when I was streaming a game, because I would invariably open or close the wrong window and mess everything up1. Now the baseball lives in its own little app. This is better.
The app’s feature list is still rudimentary. There’s a menu from which you can see all the current day’s games, and you can navigate from there to previous days. You can listen to audio of games if you prefer that to video. There’s an option to hide scores of games, in case you don’t want to be spoiled. And within the game, the app gives you access to MLB’s “Live DVR” feature, so you can back up and move around within the video of a game, even if it’s live. You can even opt to have the score of the game you’re watching appear in your Mac’s menu bar.
Now the fine print: This is for subscribers to MLB’s streaming package, which costs $130 per year for MLB Premium (which includes PC, mobile, and console apps) and $110 per year for PC-only access. And as always, you can’t watch games that are being played by your local teams2.
So thanks very much to Craig for persevering, and for introducing me to an app that I’ll probably have on my screen for most of the next seven months. Play ball!
Yes, sometimes I would use a second browser such as Chrome for my baseball videos, and I tried using Fluid to set up a site-specific browser, but could never get it to work properly with MLB.TV. ↩
This restriction makes people furious, and I understand it, but MLB.TV isn’t connected to your local cable channel that just paid billions of dollars to broadcast the local team’s games. One of these days that connection will get made and you’ll be able to watch—but you’ll have to pay a lot more for the privilege. ↩
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