Now that we're into May, the good news for those who don't have MLB.TV yet is that MLB.com just dropped the yearly subscription cost. Fans who sign up now can get MLB.TV Premium for just $109.99 ($24.99 monthly) or the basic MLB.TV service for $89.99 ($19.99 monthly).
"The MLB.TV service gets better every year," said Reds fan Chad Hobbs of Cincinnati. "The best part is being able to watch games anywhere. If I am in my bedroom, I watch on my computer ... girlfriend's house on her Roku; and on the road I have the MLB.com At Bat 11 app to watch it on my Android phone. MLB.TV keeps me connected everywhere I go."
With that portability so critical to today's MLB.TV experience, MLB.com also flipped the calendar month by introducing something new just for mobile viewers. For the first time, signups are under way for a $49.99 annual plan available only to fans who have the At Bat 11 app installed on iPhone or iPod Touch (minimum 4.0 OS) or Android (minimum 2.2 OS and Flash installed). Click here for a list of supported devices/carriers.
Purchase of At Bat is required to access MLB.TV on the iPhone, iPad and Android. That entitles the user to access MLB.TV only on the mobile phone, not any other platform. The mobile-only subscription is not available on iPad or BlackBerry, although you can watch live games on your iPad and listen live on your BlackBerry.
You can see what games are on the ledger every day at the MLB.com Mediacenter.
Hobbs' situation is an example of why many in-market fans also subscribe, even though their own team's games would be blacked out. Besides having on-demand access to all 2010 games after they are played, this is a way to just keep up with the Majors in general, to watch the competition (especially in pennant races), to track your fantasy roster and see milestones and magical moments.
"I had the audio-only MLB subscription for years, and then last year I found a deal on MLB.TV, so I jumped on it," Hobbs said. "Just as I feared, I got hooked. In the past, I've mostly only watched Reds games, but with the Reds in the playoff hunt last year I started watching the other teams' games in the NL Central. It has carried over to this year.
"I love being able to watch -- and root against -- the other teams in the NL Central. Also, if ESPN mentions a pitcher has a no-hitter through seven or eight innings, I like being able to watch the game live. ... The picture quality is as good or better than my HD cable. I will definitely buy it again next year."
Yankees fan William Tasker is among those who watch their favorite teams via MLB.TV from afar. He grew up in New Jersey and said in an e-mail to MLB.com that he has been a Yankees fan "since the dark Horace Clarke days. But I went to college in New Hampshire, found a girl and married her. Her grandparents needed help on their farm in Northern Maine. We moved up here and never left, so I'm a fan who's very far from his favorite Major League team.
"MLB.TV is the bomb because, for a very low cost per month, I have access to any game I fancy to watch. But it doesn't end there. I can switch to any team's broadcast once I select a game. I can switch to any game I want in moments. I can watch two or more games at once. I can watch any game's highlights. If a pitcher is throwing a no-hitter, I have instant access to the action. I can determine what quality I want for the image and how big I want it on my screen.
"MLB.TV is another reason why there has never been a better time to be a fan of Major League Baseball," he added. "As a fan, this service is the greatest. As a blogger, it's indispensable."
For just $10 per year or $3 per month, fans also can complete the 2011 online viewing experience by subscribing to MiLB.TV and watching players who are on their way to The Show, plus key rehab stints by big leaguers on the way back. That's a discounted cost if you package it with MLB.TV, and it features more than 2,000 live games, including all Triple-A games.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.