Plenty of readers had suggestions and questions about DirecTV's new deal with Major League Baseball....
Hi Eric, Great article in “Displaced Package” today. I have a suggestion for other readers as well: Slingbox. I’m assuming NESN will still cover games locally and if so, the $200 Slingbox is a great way to still catch the games (they even have a HD Slingbox now for a bit more $$). Only catch is…you need to have someone with local coverage of the games who is willing to set up the Slingbox for you. Many Boston fans still have some connection living in Red Sox Nation (friends or family?)
I’m in San Diego and my father has graciously allowed me to hook the sling box up to his cable and Internet in Wellfleet. As long as you split the cable line BEFORE the TV, you can hook up and get the feed sent to your laptop without the host ever noticing. Picture quality is a little poor….but that bad boy up to your 42-inch plasma with a DVI cable and it ain't so bad. Plus, it beats the hassle (and cost) of going to a dish. $200, 1 time fee for Slingbox and Sox games for life. Extra Innings is like $160 a year, I believe.
Thought you (and others) might be interested.
Great idea. I’d have to assume a good portion of displaced fans have someone in the general vicinity who could set things up for them. That being said, I have to wonder how long Slingbox is going to remain an option for this sort of thing. I can just see MLB or the NFL stepping in at some point with a lawsuit claiming territorial rights and whatnot. But until that day potentially happens, this might be one of the best bets going.
Eric, That’s too bad about Extra Innings going to DirectTV. Being a computer consultant and in the tech field I want to point out a TV technology that could effect DirectTV.
You may be aware of the emerging technologies of wireless TV for movies and downloads. These technologies can not work with DirectTV because the satellite signal is so heavily encoded, thus you couldn't save them to your TV box hard drive and watch them when you want on your laptop or later on your iPod. You will only be able to watch it on demand through a TV with the satellite box.
Good to know, Clyde. My 2003 iPod and I though are kind of stuck in the dark ages where that sort of business is concerned. I can only hope that AppleTV will eventually work with Netflix on its upcoming downloading service. Because then, well, I may never leave the room.
Eric, Ex-Bostonian now living in SF Bay area. Love reading your stuff. For this article the one thing I don't understand is the concept that cable is a higher quality than DirecTV. I had Comcast cable for a number of years and switched several years ago to DirecTV and have never looked back. I get all local channels in HD, I get NFL TICKET, I get customer service that really answer the phone and can look at your system and make programming updates while you are on the phone. I also agree that Comcast Broadband is the way to go and I still have that, though Comcast promptly started charging me $59.95 for that alone when I was paying $49.99 for combination package. Nice. Anyways just curious as to how you see DirectTV being lower quality.
I, personally, don’t, but there is that stigma out there, whether it be true or not. I guess most folks can’t grasp onto the theory that HD and the signal in general are going to be a strong as they are through a fiber optic land wire. Also, folks may be concerned about the dish going forward with technology, as the previous e-mailer pointed out.
First of all, who cares what the League makes? Did you notice Fenway prices? Have You Seen Kansas City's? I guess you know about Dice-K. Fact is, there's a lot of money in the world and some of it is focused towards Baseball. A 30-second spot in the first half of the Super Bowl is what, 3 million? We're fans of the sport, and I think the horrendous signing of JD Drew deserves more play than the league's financial position. And while we're on the subject of the league, they are not a not-for-profit. There's not really any smoke and mirrors; they're a company. Bud Selig is paid a lot less than the CEO of John Hancock (subsidiary of Manulife) or any company with as global a reach as MLB. When I saw 700 million, I thought they might have sold themselves short. If you don't like capitalism, I think the Daily Worker is still in publication.
After that, DirecTV is much better than cable in all sorts of ways. Off the top of my head, if you didn't like DirecTV, you didn't have to have it. Your choice. If you don't like your cable provider...sorry, there's DirecTV or the antenna. Which, by the way, might be worthy of some more consideration. If you don't pay for television in Boston, you can expect a whopping total of 1 guaranteed game per week? Is WBZ still showing games? Is it a problem when the Red Sox put all the games on NESN? It's certainly a bit more creative accounting than 700 million straight up to air games, but I'm sure there's a disproportionate amount of money the Red Sox are paying themselves for the right to show their team's games on their TV channel compared to other teams. Some people say baseball is a metaphor for life, but in this century, it's a shining example of capitalism.
The man makes it difficult to argue.
Eric, Just read the latest column. I got to tell you two things. First, how is MLB different than the NFL? You mention it but don't tell us why. You can't say that because football is once a week then it is different. The act is still the same regardless how many times you do it. Besides, this will not affect any baseball fan in any local market. They will still get their baseball games from NESN and others like it.
The second thing you fail to mention in this article is the BIGGEST reason MLB made this move. They have gone international. It has been going on in many different phases of the game for years. This is the latest. DirectTV is a worldwide satellite provider. You get it in Japan, Mexico, England, Dominican....etc. Now they have made their games available to baseball fans everywhere by going to one provider. Comcast and other cable companies got bullied by the big fish.
Disclaimer: I have been a DirectTV customer since 1994. Love it. love every minute of how they provide for their customers.
Good point about going international. As for not explaining why MLB is different than the NFL, I think I cleared that up when I, you know, explained it.
Seriously - you make a great point about football versus baseball. I can head a block away to catch a pint with some of my Patriots buddies and catch the game. Very simply, Sunday Football has become a weekly event in the United States, and this phenomenon has been critical in the explosion of football's popularity. However, I can't reasonably hang out at a bar 162 times a year. Doesn't this loom larger than simply fans versus MLB? Isn't there some sort of Anti-Trust exemption that the NFL and MLB have that preclude them from making deals like this? What happened to consumer protection and choice?
If there's some grassroots campaign here or something to become a part of, let me know. I got the same email from a bunch of my Sox buddies down here when the story broke, shouts of confusion and consternation. We realized that our Sox viewing would be in jeopardy. More importantly, the sweet comfort of Hazel Mae would be absent from our lives.
Please help us Eric. You're our only hope.
I feel so Obi-Wan. The deal's not official yet, so there is some hope, I suppose. Of course, that would mean MLB has decided to serve its cable fans before taking $700 million. I think you can see where this is going.
Eric, Sox fan in New Jersey. Traded in my dish for Comcast a few years ago. Why? Because my kids reached school age, and the school sports, concerts, plays, etc. are on the local cable channel. Love the Sox, but love my kids more. Not gonna pay for both cable and dish Must be many more like me.
Regards, Jon Zoll
Tsk. Aren’t we being a little selfish, Jon?
Eric: The ultimate irony on your Extra Innings story is that there is a Dish TV ad right next to your article on-line.
I am stunned (somehow I had missed this news). For those of us who are life-long Sox fans and no longer living in New England this is like losing Johnny Damon to the Yankees. To get Sox games every day here in Philadelphia has been one of life's little pleasures. The dish is also a problem for homeowners who don't have the proper angle due to tree lines, etc.
Now if I'm not going to be able to watch J.D Drew's first trip to the disabled list I will have to cut down all of the trees in our backyard.
Say it ain't so…. Steve
I’m going with May 22. Get to work.
Eric, What really stinks is that for Red Sox fans that are outside New England is that we just can't get DirectTV and get NESN with all the games attached. Why do I want to pay for Mariners vs. Devil Rays when I'd rather be able to watch just my team. If I'm going to get DirectTV, I would rather be able to see my team's local postgame show rather than go to black.
Probably the best thing to do is get a relative in Boston to buy a Slingbox and shoot my NESN over the internet.
There’s a package you can purchase through the dish that gives you all non-game programming on NESN, as well as other regional sports stations throughout the country. Of course, this used to give you the ability to watch the post-game shows until MLB brought out its mighty hammer last year and put an end to this practice as well. But on the bright side, if you sign up, at least you won’t miss a moment of “Sox Appeal,” right?
Imagine the irony that the cable subscribing Royals fan living in Florida will face. He’ll have to switch equipment, possibly break a contract and fork over another $170 to get the package just to watch his beloved team. And his Royals won’t spend a DIME of their share of that $700 mil on the team’s payroll.
Or even worse, spend it on more Gil Meches.