Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Success, according to MLB Advanced Media

A little update for y'all, after yesterday's catastrophe of an opening night. Mark Newman's article is now updated a little, under the title: "MLB.TV, season off to flying starts".


Now, maybe I'm judging harshly. So, to be fair, here is a random selection from the dozens of comments on that article:

"I am very disgusted with what I am getting from this today. If Opening Day
is an indication of what this year is going to be like, we are screwed. MLB
should b much better at this."

"my reception kept freezing the pictures at crucial times during the
mets reds game. very diappointed. same thing happening during the yankee oriole
game on now!! what's the problem??"

"I don't think MLB is paying any attention to the problems. On the
"help" blog, the responses they give all sound like canned answers that are very
basic and do not address the real issues people are having. The problem is NOT
in our sets, it's on their end whether they want to admit it or not."

"Maybe some of these deep pocketed executives can come and tell my 12
year old son why he can't watch his favorite team. WHAT A SCAM!!"

"12:05 and I'm still getting errors. . . . clearly they are having
serious technical difficulties. You know what would make it less annoying?
Freaking admit it. Put a message up acknowledging the problems and apologizing.
Instead I look to see what the heck is happening and I find this article on how
awesome they say they are. It's an insult to those of us who have paid a bunch
of money to not be able to watch opening day."

"I've been an MLB.tv subscriber since they first launched the service
years ago. Today was one of the very few times I have been unable to watch a
game -- the Texas / Cleveland feed was down almost the entire game."

Ok, there are a few (a very few) positive comments. But this article is just the tip of the iceberg. There are comments galore on the MLB.tv blog, and the support forums are almost overflowing with complaints and problems. With the usual reply being along the lines of, "its your hardware". Um, no it isn't. Its your problem.

Its your problem, and it needs sorting. And it needs apologising for. It doesn't need a bragging article, front and centre on the MLB.com homepage, slapping yourself on the back for your service. That is arrogant beyond belief, and an insult to every single customer who hasn't received the service that they paid a lot of money for you.

Monday, 6 April 2009

An MLB.tv 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

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.


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.


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.