One of the things I've come to lament about television is the lack of à-la-carte fare available through cable and satellite subscriptions. It's a long-standing delivery model that's facing more and more pressure to change. Yet aside from the growing numbers downloading shows via Bittorrent and streaming them to a TV, the existing model of content delivery to the living room has remained the same for 60 odd-years. While downloading TV shows remains popular with those in the know, the vast majority of North Americans still watch and pay for their TV the same way they have for decades.
But as someone who favours live sports or special series such as HBO's The Pacific, I'd love to be able to subscribe and pay $50 or whatever for a season of a show or a series rather than order a subscription to a channel that gets slapped onto a basic cable or digital cable sub.
In order to get what I want, I have to pay for a base service of channels that I hardly ever use.
Well, that seems to be changing.
MLB.TV, the streaming service that broadcasts live and archived baseball games, is now available via the PlayStation3 Network. Anyone with a subscription to MBL.TV and a PS3 can sit in their living room tonight and watch out-of-market games on their TV.
While I have not tried the PS3 service yet -- it was just announced -- I've been a long-time fan of MLB's streaming service, which gets better every year. MLB Advanced Media is, IMHO, the most forward-thinking content/entertainment broadcaster around. They have always been on the cutting edge of delivering their product to their fan base -- I remember listening to live audio broadcasts more than 10 years ago, way before other media were thinking digitally -- and improve service and access year in and year out.
Today's service includes DVR functionality, access to archived games, access to historical games from as far back as the 30s and the player is available for PCs, smart phones, the iPad and now on TV.
The cost for the service, not including the PS3, is less than ordering something like Roger's MLB Extra Innings, too: $120 (U.S.) a season on MLB.com versus $30/month on cable. If you order Extra Innings for the entire regular season -- from the beginning of April until the end of September -- that totals $180, not including tax.
I see this as a game changer in that it's the first live service in Canada that's streamed to your TV via the Internet rather than through a cable or satellite provider (okay, sort of -- your ISP may very well be the same company that delivers your cable TV or satellite, but you know what I mean).
What I wonder now is how long will it be before I can but a season of Breaking Bad or Entourage.