According to the customer service at Major League Baseball, the MLB.TV Premium package, which lets customers watch baseball games on their computers at higher bandwidths than the basic package and allows users to watch up to six games at once, is a “bonus.” The rep also claims that the difference between 800k and 1.2Mb video speeds, both of which are available to Premium subscribers, is negligible, and in any case, their product info pages says they’re not obligated to provide the 1.2Mb package. Inside, read why all of this is completely wrong.
Reader Kevin wrote in to let us know that he had been monitoring the MLB.TV support forums after his Premium feeds and Mosaic, the six games at once thing, weren’t working. The basic MLB.TV package, which provides video feeds at 400k, is $80 for the year, and the Premium package, with 800k and 1.2Mb feeds and Mosaic, costs $110 for the year. “Michelle,” a customer service rep from MLB, was around to do damage control, and after one poster asked for a partial refund because the service was so bad, Michelle wrote:
I understand your concern and as I have said before we are working our hardest to make sure that everything works quickly and accurately. Unfortunately I do not have the ability to issue partial refunds and there is no partial refunds that are offered. Your paying for a service that comes with extras you are not paying for the extras themselves. IE the mosaic is a bonus to having the Premium package with us and the ability to watch in 800k or 1.2M is also a bonus. However you can watch in 800k and the picture quality is just as good as the 1.2M. I am very sorry for the inconvenience that this has caused people. Some people are able to watch in the 1.2M while others are not that is due to computer issues with the subscriber not with us.
This is wrong. First, a video feed at 1.2Mb is not the same as one at 800k. This shouldn’t even need explanation beyond simply stating that, generally, 1200 > 800. But Kevin sent us some screenshots that he was able to take while MLB.TV was up. Here’s the 800k feed:
And here’s the 1200k feed; the difference is notable in the score display at the top:
Regarding the “bonus” features that cost more money but weren’t actually a part of the package, a couple users asked for clarification, and Michelle sent the following response:
premium service difference
you are paying for the ability to watch in 800k or 1.2 you are NOT paying for the 1.2 itself. If you look at the differences the differences are MLB.TV=400k
MLB.Premium=800k OR 1.2m
The “differences” that Michelle references is the “Compare Products” page, where potential customers can see whether the Premium package is worth the extra money. Here’s the relevant portion:
To me, the check marks indicate that those features are, you know, included in the package. The table is especially helpful because it leaves blank space in the basic package description to show that the differences between the two are the higher bandwidth feeds and Mosaic. We advised Kevin to try getting in touch with someone else at MLB; their email support (firstname.lastname@example.org) has actually helped us before, and one would hope that they’re better informed than Michelle.
(Photo: Flying Photog)