An MLB.tv joke

From RAP’s main home:
 
A joke, from past/present MLBloggers’ erstwhile friend Mark Newman, in his annual “news” article on MLB.com selling MLB.tv:

Opening Day is a time for the players to step up and perform for real, and
the same is expected of the best technology in sports today. MLB.TV Premium has
gone through its own Spring Training, being carefully fine-tuned with the
assistance of the many fans who beta-tested it beginning with the World Baseball
Classic and on through Grapefruit and Cactus League exhibitions. Major League
Baseball Advanced Media developed this amazing technology with the fans and for
the fans, allowing them to follow the live action in a fashion previously
unimagined.

MLB.TV Premium is available for $109.99 for the entire year, a $10 drop
from 2008 despite multiple upgrades in features, quality and performance.
Highlights include dazzling HD picture quality (where HD is available), adaptive
bit-rate determination to ensure clarity along with manual override capability;
home and away broadcasts allowing you to choose which team’s broadcast you
watch; a Live Radio Option that allow you to choose between TV or radio booth
feeds; a live game DVR and jump-to-inning navigation; picture-in-picture, which
will be huge when you need to follow other games that impact your team’s pennant
race; a built-in live scoreboard of the day’s games; game summaries and box
score widgets; full-screen and multi-view switching; a user preference setting
that can show/hide score spoilers; archived games and more.

Yeah.

Last year, with the standard Media Player, I could comfortably stream the highest quality video with virtually no buffering issues or freezing. The picture quality could only be described as excellent.

Today?

Judge for yourselves.

Not only is that terrible quality – I mean it is back to the 400k days from 3 or 4 years ago – but its not even streaming smoothly. It just freezes constantly. Right now I am listening to the voiceover from some advert while looking at a freeze of Jeremy Guthrie.

Some two or three weeks ago (shockingly my last post!) I pondered on the potential problems of MLB.tv’s much heralded new player. Judging from the support blog and support forums reactions, my worst fears have been realised on a rather large scale.
And the support being offered? A joke. “Try rebooting your modem.” “What graphics card do you have?” “Try reinstalling NextDef.” Ha. If only. You can reinstall NextDef to your heart’s content, and you still won’t be able to access the Hi Def feed. Not that it would stream if you could.

I don’t, by any means, claim to be a computer expert, but I know enough. I know that this problem is not at my end – however much the support team wish to make us believe that it is so.

This is a spectacular failure on MLB Advanced Media’s part. Trying to launch what is a potentially excellent player with massively limited testing, and with no option of using the tried and tested old player as a backup for when the inevitable happens. Instead, I cannot watch baseball at the moment. I cannot get the product that I paid for. And I am not the only one.
MLB.tv is the only way that I can watch baseball. For that opportunity, I am thankful. But I paid a lot of money. And I am not receiving the product as advertised. Hell, right now I am not receiving any product at all.

That is totally unacceptable.

And while me ranting may not achieve anything – it won’t miraculously fix the problem, and I highly doubt that it will get me any form of compensation, it will make me feel better. And to that end, I am going to go against my normal tendencies, and spread this blog post as widely as I possibly can.

Sort it out MLBAM. Sort out MLB.tv. Do it now. And apologise. Publicly and profusely. It is the very least you can do.
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8 comments

  1. lunkhead

    I agree 100% and would like to add that have you noticed how the support team and the blog team have disappeared into thin air while all these issues continue? I also get a laugh when support tells someone to reboot modem, or PC, or both and also tells them to restart NexDef.

    Another ruined opening day… Last year it was almost mid-season before they got it working right and it looks like this year will be the same!

  2. chjris.toms@gmail.com

    The problem isn’t really with the player. . .it’s with NexDef. I watched most of the Marlins game, with few and far interruptions because I decided not to install NexDef, as I felt I had installed it enough times over the past two weeks, and watch the game in, what I can only describe as, adequate quality. It was much better than the 400k of yesteryear, and even better, in my mind, better than 800k (what I used to have to use with my old PC), but I would have liked to watch it in HD. I mean, I didn’t pay $109.95 to watch the ballgames in $79.95 quality (what I was getting without NexDef turned on).
    NexDef aside, I did have some problems with the actual player. It skipped to the MLB.TV Premium advert a few times during play (I’ll get onto my gripe about the advert in a minute). Because of this, I missed the whole of the bottom of the 3rd inning (and consequently four runs). And the strangest thing, in the 9th inning, it switched station. . .not to the National’s broadcast, but to a game that was happening on the other side of the country (Dodgers @ Padres) (as the linked picture below shows).

    Something’s wrong with this.

    I did get a little annoyed with the full screen mode a couple of times. While exiting, the picture got stuck and I had to close the window to get it back up again. And come about the 6th or 7th inning, I found that I could exit full screen. Even pressing “Ctrl + Windows + Tab” and going to another window wouldn’t exit full screen. I was hesitant to “Ctrl + Alt + Delete”, “Task Manager” to get the full screen closed, because of the annoyance of getting the game in a watchable state, but come the 9th inning when it switched over to the other game, I had no choice.
    In my own opinion, I think MLB should have stuck with their standard Windows Media player until they ironed out all the bugs in the new one. I see it as them selling us a car and saying, “you can have the car, but we’re still working on the engine”. . .the least they could do is give us a courtesy car. . .or in this case, a courtesy player.
    Haha. I was just reading up on you and we’re from the same town. How random is that? Two 22 year old guys from Basingstoke, both following Floridian teams. That more than makes up for you being a Rays fan 😉

  3. jjuk

    Mark – What happened is typical MLB AM fare, they rolled out the player as the only option, before they had finished ironing out the kinks while it was a small-scale beta. No proper testing, and no fallback plan.
    chjris (Chris?!) – yep, the point isn’t being able to get an adequate picture, its being able to get the service as advertised. And the constant adverts annoy me too – especially when they end up with you missing some of the game!

    And you’re from Basingstoke? How random – what a very small world!! Though I’m actually in Edinburgh these days, haven’t updated the profile for a fair old while…
    John

  4. chjris.toms@gmail.com

    John – I kinda figured you weren’t still in Basingstoke. The line at the top, “Following the Rays all the way from Scotland(!)” kinda gave that one away 😉

    I tried Leeds and then south Florida myself (hence me being a Marlins fan), but I still can’t get away from this damned town. My next attempt will be Amsterdam. lol.

    And Chris or Chjris will do fine. It started as a typo (long before the email address you see) and it just stuck. . .which I’m telling you about because everyone always asks 😉

    Anyway, luckily I paid with PayPal, so if MLB don’t sort it out, I can easily get my money back. I did it last year when they were giving me a message saying my 2007-2008 renewal hadn’t gone through. . .even though I wasn’t a subscriber in 2007 and I only became a subscriber half way through the season in 2008. But I was quite happy with it because I took out a second subscription while PayPal were working on my case for $10 less than I had paid for the original subscription. . .so I got a months worth of MLB.TV for free. Haha. And, just like now, MLB.TV fobbed me off, saying it was a problem with my computer. Now, I know I didn’t have the best set-up in the world back then, but getting it fine for a month then getting a screen saying my subscription wasn’t up to date. . .you know what I mean??

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