MLB.com At Bat

masseym

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May 30, 2008
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As an avid baseball fan (ok, just the Mets) living in Texas, I was excited when MLB announced their app. I could see the strike/ball/out counts live and then watch highlight clips from anywhere in the world! What an exciting application.

Well, after $4.95 I am disappointed. The app refreshes only once per minute, so there is no "live" update to strike count. It does have a small "on base" display, but again, only updates every minute. No box score or other stats.

I was most excited about the highlights. On my wifi connection, the highlights are AWESOME! 30 to 45 second clips of the "exciting" parts. They are delayed about 2-3 minutes after the actual action, but that involves the encoding of the video on MLB's end.

On 3G and EDGE, the video is a different story. They are TERRIBLE. You can't even make out who the players are since MLB compresses the video so highly. I can somewhat understand on EGDE, but 3G too? Come on.

Pros:
* Wifi highlights
* $4.95 for the rest of the season
* Baseball anywhere I go and have a signal

Cons:
* TERRIBLE video on EDGE and 3G networks
* 1 minute refresh rate isn't instantaneous for balls/strikes/outs
* NO additional data (i.e. box scores, etc)

Images below:
1) Main screen. You can choose your game from here
2) Video Highlights page
3) Video from Wifi
4) Video from Wifi
5) Video from EDGE
 
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kilsey

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Not sure if we're supposed to reply here, but MLB auto-delivers an appropriate feed for your connection speed. That's part of what happens during the "Loading" phase. When you tested on 3G, how many bars did you have?

And of course, delivery of on-demand content over a cellular network (3G or no), is going to need significant compression.
 

masseym

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Indeed, I understand that the app changes based on your network connection. I had 5 bars on the 3G network and got the same video I would on the EDGE network (I turned off 3G to see how the EDGE one looked since the 3G one was so bad.)

Also, I realize that this IS video, but even the YouTube videos on EGDE you can make out faces, etc. The MLB on EDGE and 3G are simply TERRIBLE. When watching Mets highlights, I could not even tell who was batting except that I knew a Mets player was up.

Personal opinion, They REALLY need to use a better encode or send slightly larger videos on 3G to make this a killer app.

PLUS, they need to include boxscore and player stats. That is what the MLB is all about.

OH! Forgot to mention that they DO include a LINK to their mobile website where you can see all the stats, boxscores, etc. It has a 15 second refresh. What's up with that?

So, I pay $5 to get bad video and 1 minute refresh, when I can use their mobile site for free with 15 second refresh - granted no bad videos there though.
 

cjvitek

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Jul 5, 2008
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I have this as well. It seems that it doesn't provide very fast updates, even with wifi.

It would be nice to have more detail, as people said - box scores, player stats, etc. Even if someone had to click on a player to get it.

I also wonder if it will work only for the 2008 season. It sort of implies that it will, but it seems crazy to have to buy it again every year!

(Now, if you could do MLB radio broadcasts of the game, that would be something else)

Chris
 

wingfan

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Wow, it's only 5 bucks. I have had a good experience with it, given it is internet over a cell network, I don't expect it to be quite as fast as me watching a game. Even ESPN and CBSSportsline have delays in getting the balls and strikes on their regular websites when you use a computer. BTW, when I use this app over wi-fi the video quality is very good.

I do completely agree that box scores are a no brainer, and a link to player/game stats is a great idea.

Obviously, I'm more impressed by this app than everyone else :)
 

masseym

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It is an impressive app, but pickleview.com is MUCh better. It is a web based solution, but it updates quicker than 1 minute. You miss the clips though.

So, to see the clips and you have WiFi, this is the best app (well, this is the ONLY app). And, it is only $5. I would probably buy it again. Just wish it would be a little more feature rich.
 

volsfan0911

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I like the video content and it's worth $5 BUT - I want the standings and other information. Personally, I find that MLB's own WAP site as a bookmark and/or ESPN's iPhone webapp fits that bill and both are free. It is cool to fire up the video if you're on wi-fi but it could offer so much more for standings, stats, etc.
 

masseym

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I like the video content and it's worth $5 BUT - I want the standings and other information. Personally, I find that MLB's own WAP site as a bookmark and/or ESPN's iPhone webapp fits that bill and both are free. It is cool to fire up the video if you're on wi-fi but it could offer so much more for standings, stats, etc.

AGREED 100%
 

kilsey

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Jul 14, 2008
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I don't think that I made this clear in my original reply - I don't think that the devs don't get an indication as to which cellular connection you're actually using at any given time, so MLB probably had to halve the difference and degrade the quality so both EDGE and 3G get "acceptable" results. That would explain why the video looked the same on Edge and 3G - it was! :)

As noted by another commenter, the more full, WiFi feed is spectacular.

That said, I love the fact that I can watch clips just a few minutes after they occur. Very cool and well worth $5 in my opinion. I'm assuming further updates are coming down the pipe in the near future.
 

Hanuman

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Apr 18, 2005
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I too feel this program could be a lot better. The videos look terrible when not using wifi. The $5 fee is only for the remainder of this season. If you renew it next year it will probably cost $10. I will not renew unless next years version has some significant improvements.
 

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