Different baseball fans will have their own little signposts that mark the journey from the cold off-season – warmed slightly every now and then by the transaction ‘hot stove’ – to the glorious sunny skies (in Arizona and Florida, at least) that herald Spring Training and the baseball season drifting into view.
One of my favourite ‘baseball is coming’ moments every year is checking my Inbox and finding an e-mail from MLB.com informing me that my annual MLB.TV Premium subscription is about to be automatically renewed for another year.
Default automatic renewals can be a real pain in many situations, but with MLB.TV it doesn’t bother me in the slightest. Whatever the world threw at me, I’d find a way to pay for my MLB.TV subscription.
The auto-renewal e-mails started going out late on Friday night a couple of weeks after details of the 2015 subscriptions were first announced.
The 2015 subscription details
MLB.com will be offering the same two subscription levels that we’ve come to expect in recent years.
The MLB.TV Premium package costs $130 (approximately Â£84.50.Â UPDATE: as noted in the comments,Â it’s actually approximately Â£101 as we now have to add 20% VAT) and gives you live and on-demand access to the home and road TV and radio feeds for every single game of the regular season, plus all of the postseason games for us in the UK (these are blocked – or ‘blacked out’ – in the States) and lots of Spring Training games too.
Crucially, you get the MLB At Bat app (worth $20) annual subscription as part of the Premium subscription and this allows you to watch and listen to games on a variety of ‘connected devices’. Once we get closer to the season, MLB will release the 2015 version of the At Bat app and when you add this to your device(s) you will be able to link your Premium subscription to it and watch or listen to games through this.
The MLB.TV Standard subscription is $20 less than the Premium at $110 (approximately Â£71.50. UPDATE: actually approximately Â£86 with VAT included) and the difference between the two mainly comes down to that $20 MLB At Bat app. With a Standard subscription you can only watch and listen to games on your computer (using a newly modified Web-based HD Media Player), although hooking up your laptop to your TV is still an option this way to get the action on a bigger screen.
The key thing to note, if you haven’t subscribed before, is that you will be able to buy the MLB At Bat app on its own for $20; however this will only give you access to the radio feeds of games (although if you can’t/don’t want to spend the money for video streaming, that’s a very affordable alternative wayÂ to follow games for approximately Â£13). To watch games on the app you must have the MLB.TV Premium subscription as well and that’s why the At Bat app subscription comes bundled in with it.
So, choosing the Standard or Premium subscription simply comes down to whether you want to watch games on things other than your computer or not.
Which devices work for us in the UK?
This is the key question that UK-based fans ask every year and it’s worth having a look at the comments from my 2014 subscription article to get the benefit of some first-hand experience from fellow Brits.
The starting point is MLB.TV’s own Connected Devices page that lists the different products that they say currently work with the MLB.TV app. When you click on an option it takes you to that product’s page and one of the pieces of information you’re provided with is which territories that it will work within.
Currently those published details give you the following options for the UK:
- Apple TV
- Xbox One and Xbox 360
- The usual iOS (iPhone, iPad etc) and Android devices
Other devices get a bit complicated. You’ll find from the comments on previous articles here that there are potential workarounds to get PS3 and PS4 to work, whilst the SmartTV and DVD options by Panasonic, LG, Sansung and Sony can be very hit and miss.
Note that the Roku box is basically the exact same device as the Now TV Box and MLB.TV is listed on the available apps for Now TV from when the list was last updated in June 2014, so that should be another option to go with although it would be great if anyone could add a note in the comments section if they can confirm that is the case.
Few differences in 2015
There are no major changes to the MLB.TV service in 2015. In fact, changes have been minimal for several years now and whilst at first glance that may seem disappointing, it’s really testament to how well they have got the core functions right.
MLB.TV is there to allow you to watch and listen to MLB games either live or on demand. It doesn’t need much in the way of innovation and bells and whistles; so long as it does the basics well then that’s all that matters.
Individuals will always have their own experiences on the streaming not working faultlessly from time to time. That’s often more down to local issues then MLB.com itself. I have a fairly standard broadband set-up and over the course of a season there are odd evenings when it can play up a bit, but by and large it works fine and I’m happy enough to switch to a radio feed on the rare occasions when the video streaming isn’t cooperating.
The only difference between 2014 and 2015 really comes for us in terms of how the dollar/pound exchange rate has changed over the past year. The $130 Premium subscription came out at just under Â£80 this time last year, so although the dollar figure has stayed the same there is a slight increase in price for us.
Even with a few pounds added to the cost, it still seems a small price to pay for an absolute feast of baseball. All we need now are for the games to begin.