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Why are MLB.TV broadcasts so bad?

Four days into the season and performance on MLB.TV’s online game broadcasts has been disappointing — and fans are in an uproar because their complaints have been scrubbed from an official MLB AM online forum.
Trying to follow game action online via MLB.TV broadcasts so far this season has been an exercise in frustration, as fans have been stymied by poor performance, grainy video and poor connections. For the second time in two seasons MLB AM has revamped its technical approach to game broadcasts, dropping Microsoft’s Silverlight in favor of a combination of Adobe Flash and NextDef, a MLB.TV-developed plug-in designed to optimize performance based on a user’s available bandwidth.

As users recall, MLB.TV went through similar issues last season when it switched to Silverlight, but we’re not sure things were as bad last year.

To make it worse, MLB AM seems to be going out of its to irritate users, who actually pay for the privilege of watching games online. (Yeah, we know you’re amazed BAM is acting in a clumsy and heavy-handed manner.) A blog set up by MLB.TV to address customer concerns was scrubbed of all negative comments, wiping out complaints from viewers and admissions from staffers that things weren’t going well.

The irony is that BAM didn’t need to take down the blog. We’re actually sympathetic to the enormous task BAM is trying to accomplish in streaming HD-quality broadcasts online: technically, it’s very difficult, and it really is no surprise a new system has some hiccups out of the gate. (There’s no stress test for what MLB.TV is doing past the beginning of the season.) Admitting there were problems was a savvy business move; taking down the negative comments was not.

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