June means the end of school and the arrival of hot summer days at the ballpark. It means more Interleague Play on the way including a Yankees-Phillies World Series rematch; Stephen Strasburg's Nationals debut; Ubaldo Jimenez's continued quest for history; intense All-Star voting and perhaps even Alex Rodriguez's 600th career homer.
It also brings a deal to all Major League Baseball fans who like to watch live out-of-market games. The price for a yearly subscription has been lowered to $99.95 for MLB.TV Premium and $79.95 for the basic MLB.TV service.
Roughly a third of the regular season has gone into the books, and in some cases the books of baseball history. It is being billed as "the perfect season" now that we have just seen two perfect games hurled in the last month (in addition to a "regular" no-hitter), and for those who already enjoy MLB.TV, it has been fun to have the capability to see those moments at any time.
Just listen to longtime Phillies fan Steve Malinowski of New Milford, Ct. He watched MLB.TV on Memorial Day from the blissful peace of his hammock, holding the National Pastime on his iPod Touch. Sometimes he watches it on his Sony PlayStation 3.
"While we should all take time to honor our veterans, Memorial Day is also family time, barbecues and baseball to me," Malinowski said during the games. "To be able to enjoy the beginning of summer season relaxing on my hammock with a ball game on my iPod is a perfect match. As a Philadelphia fan out of market, it has been fantastic to follow my team. Yes, I also at times hook up my laptop via HDMI or use my PS3 depending where I am in the house."
Red Sox fan Scott Preston recently emailed MLB.com this testimonial from his home in Wellington, New Zealand: "This is my fourth year with MLB.TV and it's almost as good as a girlfriend. I have other sports leagues' online packages but MLB.TV is easily the best -- for price, accessibility, reliability and ease-of-use. I upgraded to the Premium option this season to be able to watch Red Sox games in HD, and coupled with a Mini Mac, big-screen and four-way split-screen, it has pretty much ensured I never get anything else done."
Baseball Everywhere is the ongoing theme in 2010, as the national pastime continues to gain a more convenient presence on an array of devices. The games are seemingly always in reach -- there whenever we need to catch up on an in-progress no-hitter or watch our favorite team from "Play Ball!" through the final out or walk-off homer. Consider:
This season, MLB.TV became available in North America on the PS3, the first and only gaming console to stream live baseball games in high-def. MLB.TV subscribers can enjoy every regular-season game live in HD through a combination of superior picture optimization and interactive tools made possible online, creating an unparalleled live viewing experience.
The combination of the PS3 system's technical capabilities and MLBAM's pioneering live HD streaming technology provides the foundation to make this a la carte option an instant hit. You may already be accustomed to using your PS3 control pad to simulate greatness for stars like Evan Longoria, Albert Pujols, Derek Jeter, Joey Votto, Miguel Cabrera, Tim Lincecum and Chipper Jones. You can still enjoy video games all you want on the device, and now you can watch every team either live -- or on-demand -- as well.
"MLB.com is the perfect partner to showcase the power and potential of PS3 as an in-home platform for all types of entertainment: games, TV, movies, original content and now, live, HD access to America's favorite pastime," said Jack Tretton, president and chief operating officer, SCEA. "We are excited for our customers who don't live near their favorite team and can now see every game, and keep an eye on the rest of the league, too, as this season promises to include many record-breaking moments that they won't want to miss."
"In addition to desktops and laptops, as well as mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, this represents another important distribution point for fans to enjoy live baseball via the Internet," said Kenny Gersh, senior vice president, business development, MLBAM.
The PS3 interface is truly amazing, designed exclusively for use in the PS3 ecosystem. Go to the PlayStation store and you will find MLB.TV. It will prompt you to activate your existing MLB.TV subscription (for no extra charge) or to purchase a new subscription right there. The scrollable scoreboard shows all the games, and an easy monthly calendar lets users click on any day's games for on-demand viewing or today's action. Choose your favorite teams if you wish, and they become highlighted and placed in primary view each time you enter.
A breakout sensation for Apple customers in 2009 became a full-fledged happening in 2010. For many fans, this truly changed the game in how you follow live baseball. MLB.com At Bat is one of the top-selling apps in the Apple iTunes Store, and if you get this app for $14.99, you can use it to enjoy your MLB.TV subscription and watch any live game (blackout restrictions apply).
We constantly hear from fans who use At Bat with their iPhones or iPod Touch devices in locations ranging from inside the ballpark to the office to the beach to driving to the store. Some people use that device to follow one game while they watch another on TV and/or the PC/Mac or laptop. You can watch or you can just listen.
The iPad arrived on the same weekend as this Major League Baseball regular season, and that was appropriate because for many the two go literally hand-in-hand.
The MLB.com At Bat 2010 App for iPad introduces fans to a best-in-class live game simulation designed exclusively for iPad's amazing Multi-Touch screen. With MLB.com's up-to-the-minute pitch tracking functionality, fans can track the location, speed and type of every pitch thrown. In addition, fans can customize the in-game experience to view detailed box scores, game summaries and player statistics or watch video highlights and listen live to the home or away audio broadcasts.
That is a separate app from the one installed by fans on the iPhone and iPod Touch devices. It was first demo'd by MLB.com on stage at the Apple event over the winter unveiling of the iPad, and at that time Apple chief Steve Jobs described it as "Awesome."
Got the little box? If you have a Roku player, then you are in business. It lets you hook up to any screen and get the most out of this HD experience. MLB.TV on Roku is now available as a pre-release version. It gives MLB.TV subscribers access to the previous seven days of MLB games up to and including live games that can be joined in progress or started from the beginning of each broadcast. As they say at Roku, it's "just the way you want to watch."
The device comes with its own remote control and includes all the cables necessary to connect to a standard television. The player features composite, S-video, and component video outputs, stereo and optical audio outputs, and an HDMI integrated audio/video connection. It allows you to hook up to both the Internet connection and to the TV. Many people watch Netflix on-demand videos this way, and now they also watch baseball games on a daily basis with Roku. Just activate your existing MLB.TV subscription for no additional fee.
For this season, Roku and MLB.TV also have added the ability to skip forward or backward by half-innings. This "Inning Skipper" functionality is an automatic update to the MLB.TV channel for all Roku customers. The whole experience is really easy.
If you are an MLB.TV subscriber and want to experience live MLB games on Boxee, download the latest version of Boxee for your Mac, Windows or Linux PC. Start Boxee from your program menu. Select the Apps icon at right from Boxee's main menu, find the MLB.TV app icon (or search for it from the left sidebar), and select it. Log into your MLB.TV account and start enjoying the games.
While Boxee users have been able to watch MLB.TV games since last June, this cool app was just given a makeover. There is a traditional baseball scoreboard look that makes it easy to see how your favorite teams are doing. Boxee's company blog says: "We also threw in a little special sauce to ensure that Boxee users have the option to stream the audio of blacked out games."
Oh, by the way, you can watch MLB.TV on your Mac or your PC, on desktop or laptop. That is how it all started. Many of us still watch live games this way -- at work, at home, at college, on that business trip in an otherwise ordinary hotel room. Many of us do this with an iPhone sitting right next to the screen just to have an extra edge. It is always on.
The 2010 MLB.TV media player delivers a fleet of enhancements in a convenient, cutting-edge Adobe Flash format, offering an unparalleled live viewing experience for all regular season action. Most of those games are delivered in HD quality (where available, which is generally the case). MLB.com's proprietary speed detection allows high-speed users to receive crisp, best-in-class streaming video on any size monitor.
Sign up and you will have real-time highlights and stats; on-demand access to full-game archives for viewing of any inning from the whole season; MLB.com condensed games featuring a quick, detailed journey from first pitch through the final out; access to live game audio and a new, interactive, proprietary pitch-by-pitch display; clickable linescores that take visitors straight to any half-inning of a game; and a fantasy player tracker consisting of ballplayers customized by subscribers and integrated with participating league rosters.
MLB.TV Premium subscribers have a choice of home or away broadcast feeds, so favorite announcers are always a simple click away; DVR for pausing, rewinding and jumping back to live action; and a multi-game view (Quad Mode, Picture in Picture and Split Screen).
This season features great races in all divisions, remarkable individual achievements including three no-hitters already, Ubaldo's 0.78 ERA and maybe even a bid at Bob Gibson's modern record of 1.12. You never know what will happens next, as we just saw in dramatic detail over the Memorial Day Weekend.
There is much more live Major League Baseball to watch on a multitude of devices, and a drop in the annual MLB.TV subscription just added yet another reason to be part of it.