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Xbox LIVE is Revolutionizing the Way I Watch Baseball with New MLB App
I really think it's an exciting time to be a MLB fan. New technology is bringing more and more access to more and more games. I recently began using an Xbox 360 system to check out some of the sports games. The quality of the graphics and gameplay of titles like Major League Baseball 2K12 is truly staggering. It doesn't seem like a video game anymore, it's like you're controlling a real baseball game. It sure has come a long way since the Intellivision football game I played as a kid.
As a direct connection between my TV and the Internet, the Xbox 360 is already much more than just a video game console, I think it really is becoming the center of family entertainment. Not only can I watch movies via DVD or Netflix, I can also watch TV shows via Hulu Plus. Now they've added another cool feature, I can now link up my Xbox 360 to MLB.tv to turn it into the ultimate source of baseball content. MLB.tv has a new app for Xbox 360 that I think provides the ultimate baseball viewing experience. I had a chance to test out a demo last week and have been exploring the app at home since it launched this morning, March 27.
MLB.tv on Xbox LIVE
The app offers full HD access to every MLB game this season (out-of-market), along with extensive Spring Training games, a vast archive including all of 2011's games and all the stats, scores and standings fans seek.
Home or Away Feed options
This is one of my favorite features. For most games, I get the option to switch between the home and away feed. So when I watch a Phillies game, I can either listen to the Philadelphia-based broadcast crew or the feed from the opposing team to get a different perspective.
There is a on-screen Mini Guide right at the bottom of the screen, and it is very easy to click between games. I also like how you can turn the scores off, so if you are viewing archive games, the final score remains a mystery. The MLB.tv app archive includes every 2011 game and each new 2012 game will be added as played.
The quality is amazing and every game is streamed in HD. Even on my large plasma, the quality and motion was excellent. The app also offers Split Screen technology, which worked very well. I can watch two games simultaneously, with video control (pause and rewind) for each. I can also watch one game, while checking scores or looking at other informational content in one screen while I watch a game in the other. The whole experience is very user-friendly and easy to navigate.
The Kinect system is the optional Xbox add-on that recognizes both voice and body motions. I think it represents the future of gaming, as I believe it will soon replace the controller. For users with the Kinect for Xbox 360 system, it can be used to control the MLB.tv app. You can use your voice or hands to go through the Content Guide, or to control the video feed.
The MLB.tv app works on the Xbox 360 console, and you need the Xbox LIVE Gold membership, which is $59.99 per year. Microsoft currently has a online-only promotion offering the membership for $35.99 per year. That gets you access to the basic MLB content, along with short game recaps and a free Game of the Day. To access the full content on Xbox LIVE, you need the MLB.tv premium subscription, which is $124.99 per year or $24.99 a month. In addition to the Xbox, that also allows fans to watch games on a range of mobile devices, phones, iPhones, Android devices, iPads and tablets, also on a computer. For the amount and quality of the information and content provided, I think it's an essential move for any baseball fan with an Xbox 360 console.
MLB.tv on Xbox LIVE is the first of three exciting new sports offerings from Microsoft. I've also been checking out the new ESPN app and the UFC app and will be writing about my experiences with them separately.
Freddy Sherman is an old-school gamer who began his gaming in the 1980s with a Colecovision system and has been playing ever since. He's currently an Xbox 360 user and fan. Aside from playing the games, he enjoys the technology and business side of video gaming. You can follow him on Twitter - @thefredsherman.
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