MLB.TV Failing Big Time On Opening Day, Website Down, Video Quality Terrible

Picture 1 As a fan of MLB.TV, it really pains me to have to write this, but MLB completely failed by not having a service that works on opening day. Since about noon Eastern, their main MLB.com website has not been loading at all, or just gives me a background image. Nearly ten hours later, it's still not working.

And aside from the website being down for hours or now directing me to a
"narrowband" version of the website, video streams on the iPad using
the MLB iPad app look really bad. Video is extremely choppy and that's
even if I can get the stream at all. Most times I get errors of "we are
having technical difficulties processing your request
" and even short video highlights don't work. Team sites, like Mets.com and others are giving me timeout errors or if they load after a really long time, the video clips aren't work and deliver blank pages.

For a company like MLBAM, who leads the industry with some of the finest quality video and user-experience, when it is working, not having everything function properly on opening day is really unacceptable and is going to create a lot of really upset fans and video subscription customers. MLB has been offering a video based service for more than half a dozen years now and having this big of an issue on opening day really gives them a black eye.

I've put in a request to MLBAM to find out what the problem is and I will review the MLB.TV app on the iPad once its working.

Update: Also interesting to note is that MLB.TV on the Roku, which worked last year, will not be working until "mid-April" this year, which came to light from an email Roku sent to customers earlier today. I don't know if the problem is on Roku's side or MLB's, but it was working just fine last year.

Update 2: I am also just now remembering that back in January I broke the news on how Swarmcast, the company who's technology powered MLB.com's Next-Def Plugin, laid off half their staff and was down to ten people. When the news came out I asked MLB if that meant they were no longer going to use the Swarmcast technology for the 2010 season, but I never heard back. I wonder if some of today's problems are due to MLB using some new technology for the first time?

  • Someone

    Bring back Justin. No one else there knows what they are doing.

  • Thomas G. Lathrop Jr.

    If Roku loses 25,000 sales a week, they have only themselves to blame. Secondary sourcing your code is
    standard practice. These Clowns bet and lost, but the end user is the one that pays. Google TV is MLB.tv’s best stb platform and will at least been worth the wait.
    ROKU: Another STB outfit will soon bite the dust.

  • Thomas G. Lathrop Jr.

    If Roku loses 25,000 sales a week, they have only themselves to blame. Secondary sourcing your code is
    standard practice. These Clowns bet and lost, but the end user is the one that pays. Google TV is MLB.tv’s best stb platform and will at least been worth the wait.
    ROKU: Another STB outfit will soon bite the dust.

  • http://www.BusinessOfVideo.com Dan Rayburn

    I don’t understand your comment at all about Roku losing sales. Where does that come from? And Google TV? We don’t even know if that will ever be a product. Might never make it out of Google labs.
    Roku will not “soon bite the dust” and I’m willing to make you a bet on that one. Yes, they have competition, but they are doing just fine in the market.

  • Tom Streeter

    I’m late to this party, but I loaded up MLB TV on my machine at work Monday afternoon, and I was asked to install the Swarmcast plug-in, so apparently they’re still using it. I was able to get in OK around 3PM EDT, though the quality of the streams varied widely across games.
    I’m really, really disappointed that someone dropped the ball on having the Roku ready for opening day. I really wanted to watch the Astros opener, (though in the end it was probably for the best. Ouch). This is the 3rd or 4th season I’ve subscribed to MLB.tv’s video service and I’ve observed that they always seem to be astonished that baseball season is coming. Love the service, but maybe a little less off-season?

  • Mac

    I had no problem with MLB.com or MLB.TV on opening day. I watched the game from 1:30 to 5:00pm. I wasn’t using an ipad but I was on my macbookpro.

  • http://www.ramprate.com Steve Lerner

    I’ve said it for 14 years now… the public internet, as is, is not functional as an industrial grade large scale live broadcast platform. I know that MLB and many others have put a lot of effort into doing the best they can, but in the end, all live internet broadcasting is doomed to suffer from quality issues- if it works at all.
    There is no bandwidth reservation (QOS) across the public internet, nor is there any automated form of it in peoples homes. Good luck to all that continue to try.

  • jason

    What happened to the quality? Hopefully its will be as good as last year..but i see a drop this year.
    Shame NFL and direct tv cant do half this quality with there stream

  • Steve Childs

    I joined MLB.com this week. I am in Costa Rica, but they have blacked me out 2 of my 3 days since I joined. What? you think the Yankees are coming to Central America? What would you black me out for? I’ve sent 2 emails to their support, and rec’d no response, and the support line says they are overloaded. Gee I wonder why. Because your product is garbage.