Friday, March 13, 2009

Early Impressions: MLB.TV Beta Flash Player (Pt. 1)

This season, MLB's streaming video service has gotten a serious makeover. Switching from Microsoft's Silverlight player to a Flash player, MLB.TV is advertising a bevy of new features including video in 720p(Yep... HD, folks!), and DVR functionality. I had my first chance to try out the new interface during a beta test of the new software.

In order to take advantage of ALL of the new features, you have to install "NextDef", a plugin that helps to deliver the high quality video and DVR features. Sadly, I was unable to get NextDef to install and function properly, leaving me with no true HD picture or DVR features.

Even without the NextDef features, I came away impressed. The loading time was short, quickly showing off the improved video quality. To put it simply, the picture was beautiful, even without the HD picture quality. The higher resolution video made full-screening a viable alternative to watching on a TV. I was far happier watching my 16:9 picture on my computer than a standard-def TV in my room.

Another beta test is this Saturday, hopefully I'll be able to give some opinions on the features I haven't able to use yet. As far as first impressions go, just the quality alone has exceeded my expectations. I'm already close to purchasing a subscription for the 2009 season, even without testing the other features.

Click the pic below for a full-size screen cap, starring "The Captain":
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