Boxee to Baseball

Following my anti-Phillips and Sutcliffe rant yesterday, some discussion broke out regarding the best way to avoid the national broadcasters. One of the suggestions was to run MLB.tv through your television. It sounded complicated to me. Of course, I can’t even make iTunes, the DVR or my clock radio work, so what the hell do I know? Thankfully there may soon be another, easier option for morons like me:

Software start-up Boxee has gained attention as much for its contretemps with Hulu as for its well-received platform for watching online video programs on a television set. This evening, though, the company made news for all the right reasons. It announced a deal with Major League Baseball to integrate the league’s online game broadcasts into its software, giving Boxee users an easy, elegant way to tune in online games from distant ballparks on their living-room TVs . . . Its software aggregates online video sites and brings them under a common user interface, enabling people to navigate their offerings with an ordinary TV remote control instead of a keyboard and mouse . . .

. . . For MLB.tv’s subscriber-only service, Ronen said, Boxee customized the site’s player to eliminate a number of user-interface features that relied on the keyboard-mouse combo. It also integrated the technology from Swarmcast that adjusts the picture quality of the broadcasts to match the viewer’s Internet connection. Most important, he said, the company worked with the MLB.tv to optimize its look for the “10-foot experience” — in other words, the view from the couch, not the desk. “I think it’s a work in progress,” Ronen added, with many features still to come.

I assume there are other options to make this happen as well, but the official imprimatur of Major League Baseball may make this the most attractive one.

One question, however: doesn’t baseball worry that this will cannibalise Extra Innings business? Or is that the idea? I suppose it depends on what the Baseball/cable company cut is for the Extra Innings package.

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Comments

  1. Jack Marshall said...

    Oh no! I missed your rant about Rick Sutcliffe, the most ignorant, annoying, state-the-obvious-like-he’s-perfected-fusion, repeat-false-conventional-wisdom-like-it’s-gospel, syrupy-voiced dolt in captivity? Where was it?

    Meanwhile, just wait until Rob Dibble starts doing national games regularly. Last night, on the Nationals game, he came out with one lazy howler after another, all attributable to the fact that he reads nothing and does no preparation at all. For example, he was telling the audience what a speascil clutch hitter Varitek was, as Tek’s lifetime .204 average with the bases loaded flashed across the screen. Earlier, he told us that Acta would probably bring in a lefty to face Jason, “to make him bat right-handed,” even though anyone who actually follows Varitek knows that he’s always been a much better hitter right-handed. There is no professionalism among color men—-none. But at least Dibble seems to know he’s an idiot.

  2. Nate said...

    I hooked up my computer to the TV via an HDMI cord and it works (and looks) great.  Here’s the setup:

    * HDMI from the laptop to TV
    * Switch audio default from laptop to peripheral
    * Turn screen saver off

    So now me and my wireless mouse switch from game to game in MLB.tv glory from the couch.  The keyboard isn’t needed if you can rig the middle button of the mouse to get out of fullscreen.

    It was one of the greatest days of my life when I set this up.

  3. Wells said...

    This is what I do at home, but I use Plex, and they have a MLB.tv plugin. It’s mostly easy to configure. I have a Mac Mini running into my TV w/ a DVI to HDMI cable, and Plex is always running- serves out TV shows, movies, music, and of course MLB.tv. The games are really high quality, too.

    Plex: http://www.plexapp.com/

    You can browse the app store (it’s all free) in the Plex UI and get the MLB.tv plugin..

  4. KR said...

    The only reason I care about having cable (well, satellite) service is for baseball. (I don’t watch much in the way of TV shows, and if I do there’s iTunes/Hulu/etc, and if I’m patient Netflix). I tried MLB.tv a few years ago, and it was pretty terrible quality. It sounds like it’s getting better, though. Maybe in the next few years I can drop the paid TV service.

    (Well, if my wife agrees… wink )

    Though of course you still can’t watch local games on MLB.tv, right? So if they’re not broadcast over the air, you have to pay for cable/satellite… frakking TV contracts. As a Red Sox fan in Virginia, I watch most games out of market anyway (on Extra Innings), but there are 18+ games a year the Sox play vs Baltimore that I have to watch on MASN. In the end I’d probably give that up if everything else was good.

  5. Osmodious said...

    Unfortunately, I’m sure that ‘local blackout’ rules will apply…which isn’t a huge deal if you like your local broadcast team anyway, but is still kind of annoying (especially when you pay for a service like MLB.tv or Extra Innings…or the iPhone MLB app).

    Luckily, I have YES Network, whose commentators seem to be among the best (the Mets’ team is pretty good, too).  I learned more about the game from watching (and hearing) Jim Kaat, Joe Girardi and Bobby Murcer than any other source.  The newer guys, like David Cone, John Flaherty and Paul O’Neill are good, too.  And Michael Kay isn’t an idiot like so many of the pro broadcasters are.  His hero was Mel Allen, so that helps.  Overall, a very good team…and the production staff is good, usually, too…on ESPN or other channels, I find myself screaming for replays a lot more often.

    The only problem is that the Yankees are featured in WAY too many Sunday night games…when I’m stuck with Jon Miller and Joe Morgan, who are the two most annoying people on the planet (I’d rather hear Paris Hilton give the play by play, she probably knows more about the game than Miller).  Then I’m forced to listen to John Sterling on the AM, which has a 12 second lead on the tv…

  6. Mike said...

    I did what Nate did. I bought a $40 HDMI four-point switch to toggle between inputs and two HDMI cables. Total cost was $57 and I got everything with Amazon. It is a must have.

  7. YankeesfanLen said...

    Now, now Osmodious, John and Susyn aren’t that bad, they’re good for a couple of good laughs a game (I’ll take Broadway Musicals for $400, Alex). YES announcers are passable, but a lot of quiet air and sometimes Michael Kay can get a little mixed up.
    National announcers are routinely ill-imformed and disinterested, which I think is what we were originally talking about.

  8. HP3 said...

    Since we are talking about broadcasters, the best thing ESPN ever did for their Baseball Tonight show was fire Harold Reynolds and now he is just as unwatchable on the MLB Network.  Reynolds ranks down there with the “greats” like Steve Phillips, Rick Sutcliffe, Joe Morgan, etc.

  9. Dave R said...

    What every broadcast needs is more “quiet air”, not less.  The 3-person booth is the death of letting the picture tell the story.  I am still hopefully awaiting for the feature whereby I can mute the broadcasters, but keep on-field sound active.  Now that would be perfection.

    p.s. If don’t like the broadcast group for the game you are watching, do like I do and switch to SAP!  Fantastico!

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