You would’ve thought it was an April fools’ joke.
Having canceled my cable subscription over a year ago I caught most of the games on the radio last season. So this year, on Friday April 1, 2011 I signed up with MLBTV.com.
Having been pleased with my rabbit ears and Netflix subscription I thought it was great when MLBTV showed up as an internet service on my LG BluRay player after installing a recent firmware update.
So, while at work yesterday I completed the subscription process and looked forward to the Astros season opener against the Phillies at noon.
The first disappointment came when I discovered I could not watch the game due to blackout restrictions. Now I’m sure MLB can line up a host of lawyers to explain why that is the case, but nothing they say can make it make sense.
Here I am doing business directly with the content provider, paying $20 a month just to watch baseball and my home team games are blacked-out. (Even when they are away games!) This is absurd.
Now I have of course, since signing-up, discovered the fine-print which clearly says that games are subject to blackout regardless of whether they are home or away games. It’s still STUPID!
So I listened to the game with the Game Day feature up and tried to console myself with the knowledge that at least I could watch the games 90 minutes after their completion. (And yes, as usual the Astros gave up the game in the final innings.)
Fast-forward to last night, when I get home and fire up the BluRay player and settle in to watch some baseball. I completed the device activation process without issue, but quickly discovered that there is a bug in the system which prevents some devices from being able to stream the games.
I immediately went back to the computer and searched Google for issues related to MLBTV and/or my LG BluRay player.
I wish I had done that before signing-up, because it was clear that MLBTV has serious problems.
Apparently the issue revolves around the new technology being used to stream the games. (As I have since discovered that I can watch games from last season without issue.) This seems like a reasonable oversight until you consider that the new system was obviously not adequately tested before being rolled out and relied on for opening day.
A visit to the MLBTV forums will reveal an unending barrage of disappointment and disgust with MLBTV regarding this problem.
In addition to the glaring technical issues is the look and feel of the MLBTV website. It looks like it was designed in 1998. It is ugly and difficult to navigate. And it took me fifteen minutes to post to the support forum because the word ‘sucked’ was banned; and after trying several ways to beat that, I substituted ‘awful’ only to find out that the word ‘feedback’ is also banned. What?! After changing ‘feedback’ to ‘comments’ I was able to post my message.
The forum is littered with comments by Forum Administrators saying that they are working on the issue but do not know when it will be fixed and to please have patience.
What I need to have is a refund. What I’d like is for Major League Baseball, one of the most prestigious American organizations in modern history to not suck.
I received this ridiculous email from MLBTV today informing me of the ‘added benefits’ of my 2011 subscription. First of all, there would have to have been an initial benefit to have ‘added benefits.’
But the real joke is that they are offering me exactly what I canceled over. “Watch every out-of-market game live online (5/25 – 5/28)*” Living in Austin I never imagined that Houston Astros game would be blacked out for me. After all, I would have to drive three hours to get there. And with 3+ million people in the Houston metro area, if the Astros can’t sell seats it ain’t my fault.
It’s been over a year since I cancelled my subscription that I kept for a mere two months. Do the morons at MLBTV really think a free weekend of the same crappy product I posted this blog about interests me?
Dear 2011 MLB.TV Subscriber,
We’re notifying you of an added benefit to your 2011 subscription. As a former subscriber, we invite you to enjoy a full weekend of MLB.TV Premium access. Watch every out-of-market game live online (5/25 – 5/28)*. Simply login with your 2011 MLB.TV username and password and enjoy the games. To begin watching games, simply click here.
If you have any questions please contact Customer Service at 866-800-1275 or email email@example.com(International Customers please call 512-434-1542).
*Blackout and other restrictions apply and are subject to change. Mobile access requires At Bat 12, included on supported iOS and Android devices only.
If you choose to participate in this trial, you may receive follow-up email(s) about MLB.TV products. If you do not wish to participate, we will not contact you about this former subscriber benefit again.
Well it looks like the update for LG BluRay players was deployed last week. It was a huge update as it took quite a bit of time to download and install.
My first attempt however, only lasted through about an inning before I got the same ‘cannot connect’ error that I had been receiving. Subsequent attempts have met with better success.
However, the picture quality is terrible. Why can Netflix stream a high-quality SD 16×9 presentation, and VUDU delivers crystal clear 1080p streaming (on a wireless connection!) but MLBTV’s picture quality is crap?
My guess is that MLB has no intention of satisfying its user base, only collecting more revenue from the poor saps who have no other option for watching the games.
Counting down to April 30th when I will cancel my subscription. (Afraid to do it now, because I’m sure they will cut me off immediately even though I’m paid up for the month.)
MLBTV sucks so much that while watching an archived game last night, I was forced to sit (or fast-forward) through a (non-existent) commercial break.
RUFKM!? The game pauses for 5 minutes while a ‘commercial break’ from last year plays?
It’s an archived game! You’re not even showing me a commercial, just a title card saying “Commercial break in progress. We will be right back.”
More stupidity from MLB ‘Advanced’ Media.