MLB is about as good as it gets when it comes to mobile and streaming presence, but that's no reason for it to rest on its laurels. That's why the latest update to MLB At Bat, the league's Android presence for following live action, brings several significant goodies to both free and premium users.
We reported a few days ago that T-Mobile, in conjunction with MLB, would be offering a free membership to MLB.TV Premium, their complete live game streaming service, to all T-Mobile subscribers. The promotion (as well as the Major League Baseball season) is now live. Here's what you need to do to sign up.
Start by heading over to this page on your T-Mobile connected phone or tablet. Make sure you are connected to T-Mobile's signal, not WiFi, or else you will get an error message. Once you open the page you will have the option to create a new MLB account, or sign into an existing one.
Many baseball fans—not to mention non-fans—know the R.B.I. Baseball franchise fondly remembered by NES console gamers as the first baseball title to include real MLB players. Major League Baseball has acquired the rights and revived it as a true premium game, in which the $4.99 upfront cost gets you the full experience. Ahead of the coming weekend's Opening Day, the 2016 reboot has hit the Play Store.
While last year's revision was fairly substantial, with realistic MLB stadiums, full team rosters, and a season mode, this year, the changes are far more modest. Beyond the customary update to each team's players and their ratings, all we get are some improvements to fielding actions that include dives and home run robberies along with vague promises of enhanced AI, a "reworked batting engine," and "reworked pitching strategy."
Of course, these are nothing to shake a stick at, but you may have to spend a lot of time with the game to know whether these changes are just bluster.
T-Mobile and MLB have a marketing relationship that spans back several seasons. Since the beginning of that relationship, T-Mobile subscribers have received a free yearly subscription to MLB.TV At Bat – a paid mobile service that lets users listen to game broadcasts, follow live stats, and watch highlight replays. Normally $20 a season, it was a nice gift that baseball lovin' T-Mobile customers (myself included) appreciated.
This year, the gift for T-Mobile users is way better. From April 3rd through the 10th, customers can sign up for a free subscription of MLB.TV Premium, which is MLB's full-blown video streaming service. With a subscription, T-Mobile customers can watch every out-of-market baseball game (and in-market games as well for a few select teams) this season.
You've probably heard of TuneIn. It's that app that some kids these days think of as the radio (not to be confused with the static that old people are still able to get their cars to produce). TuneIn lets you stream stations from all over the world, regardless of how far outside of their coverage area you may be.
Now the company is rolling out TuneIn Premium for $7.99 a month. For your money, you get access to over 40,000 audiobooks. You know, because paying for novels individually has apparently become old-school.
TuneIn Premium also comes with over 600 commercial-free music stations.
Baseball fans, are you ready for the All-Star Game?!? Probably. I mean, it comes every year, and unless it happens to come to your city, it all pretty much plays out the same. But if you're the kind of fan who subscribes to MLB.com At Bat so that you never miss a single game of your beloved Braves, it's probably a big deal - big enough that you're excited for the yearly update to the Android app in order to watch it. The latest incremental bump brings support for the 2015 All-Star Game and Home Run Derby.
What's more interesting on a technical level is that the app also adds support for Android Auto.
Baseball fans who recall more pixelated ages of gaming will remember R.B.I. Baseball as one of the more consistently good MLB franchises, and it's been revived for mobile platforms. Surprisingly, it's a true premium game - five bucks gets you the entire experience, complete with licensed teams, stadiums, and player likenesses, all without an in-app purchase in sight. It's an odd and happy thing to see come out of a pro sports license.
The 2015 edition of R.B.I. Baseball is more than just a roster update. This year's version includes 3D stadiums for each team that mirror their real-world counterparts, roster management in full simulation style or the 16-player lineup you may remember from the original games, "over 1000" pro ball players with accurately modeled statistics (and no BS leveling up), and the ability to save and resume full games.
Repeating a promotion offered last year, T-Mobile is giving a big gift to their baseball fan subscribers. MLB's excellent At Bat app has pretty desirable premium features, but they come at a steep price of $20. For T-Mobile subscribers, those premium features are going to be free.
The way it works is that you will have to download the app from T-Mobile's mobile network and complete the sign-up process. Once the app has recognized that you're a subscriber, the premium features should show up for free and you will have no restrictions through the end of the season. About those paid features, they include:
Free streaming of MLB.tv's free game of the day
Live pitch tracking and play-by-play
Free streaming audio for home and away broadcasts, even in market
Watching video highlights during and after games
If you are an MLB.tv Premium subscriber, this deal is redundant, but who is to complain about something that is free?
The smell of fresh cut grass is carried by a cool spring breeze. The sounds of birds chirping is punctuated by the crack of a bat and the ground trembles as a crowd comes to its feet with a roar. I smell it. I hear it. I feel it. Baseball is coming.
In two days time, the first pitch of the 2015 Major League Baseball season will be thrown in Chicago and the season will begin. Some people may find America’s favorite pastime to be a boring or slow paced sport. Those people can go read something else. This article is for the fans.
The Amazon Echo, as a sort of physical embodiment of the functionality that voice-controlled services like Google Now offer, is an interesting idea. But without a screen or much in the way of direct input, its utility is limited by the number of services that it ties into. For example, before today the Echo could only access music from iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and Amazon's own cloud music service. The latest software update enables much-needed support for Pandora.
To use Pandora music with the Echo, open the Echo app on your phone and add your Pandora account details in the Music Services section of the Settings menu.