MLB.TV Roku Channel Brings Free Games To Your TV

By: Shaylin Clark - April 4, 2012

With just one short day left until the official kickoff of the 2012 season of Major League Baseball, Roku has announced this year’s update to the MLB.TV channel on their popular set top streaming media boxes. While the MLB.TV channel has remained largely the same in previous years, the 2012 version gets a new look and a bunch of new features.

The biggest difference you’ll notice when you go to the MLB.TV channel is the look. The channel’s interface is both sleeker and easier to navigate, and gives you the option to browse today’s games, recent games, or browse by team. It also has a feature that’s new this year: access to the MLB.TV free game of the day. Operating on the “the first hit is free” principle, the free game of the day feature has been part of the MLB.TV service for a couple years now. It gives people who are curious about MLB.TV the chance to try it for free before deciding whether they’re going to buy. This year, for the first time, it’s part of the MLB.TV Roku channel, too.

MLB.TV Roku Channel

MLB.TV Roku Channel

As in previous versions, the MLB.TV channel allows you to watch archive games from the entire season. This year, though, they’ve added the option to browse archive games by team. They’ve also added the ability to turn score displays on and off from anywhere, so that you can watch an archived game – or start a current game from the beginning – without worrying about spoilers.

Another new feature is the ability to select favorite teams. As part of that, it offers a grid view that shows you your favorite teams, as well as teams by division. You can see the grid view in the lead image above, and ponder with me for a moment who in their right mind would put the Red Sox and the Yankees next to each other in a list of favorite teams.

Video quality in this year’s MLB.TV channel gets a boost, too. They’ve doubled the highest bitrate, which should significantly improve the (already impressive) HD quality of the video stream.

As with any other app or channel that lets you watch MLB.TV, the Roku channel requires an MLB.TV Premium subscription. You can still watch the free game of the day without a subscription, but to get the full effect, you have to pay. A premium subscription will set you back $124.99 for the whole season, or $24.99 per month. The service gets you access to every out-of-market game streamed directly to your computer, your Roku, or a variety of other devices (including your Xbox 360 or your iOS or Android device).

Unfortunately, the service is limited to out-of-market games. Games that are broadcast on your local networks or broadcast nationally on ESPN, FOX, TBS, etc. are blacked out. While those who live in their team’s broadcast area might want to think twice about MLB.TV, the service is a pretty amazing bargain for those living outside their team’s area.

Do you have a Roku? Check out the MLB.TV channel and let us know what you think in the comments.

Shaylin Clark

About the Author

Shaylin ClarkShaylin Clark is a staff writer for WebProNews. Email:, Twitter: @stclark81, Google Plus:

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  • Dirk Dingle

    Spoken like a true corporate shill. If I want streaming access to MLB games, I want streaming access to MLB games, not blackouts. This service is vaporware for those looking to watch MLB on devices like laptops, Roku, etc. You won’t be able to watch your local teams, and if your team is being broadcast nationally, like on ESPN, you won’t be able to watch them. So many limitations on the service make it “not-real”.

    • Shaylin Clark

      Not a corporate shill, just a fan of the service. If you take a look at my last paragraph, you’ll see I mention the very blackouts you’re talking about, and point out that “those who live in their team’s broadcast area might want to think twice about MLB.TV.” If you live inside your team’s home broadcast area, then yes, blackouts will keep you from watching most of their games. For somebody like me, though, who lives several hundred miles from my team’s area, it’s a pretty sweet deal. The fact that it isn’t a good deal for you hardly means that it isn’t a good deal for anybody.

  • Cink

    Dirk, do you not realize just how few games are actually aired nationally? And even after they’ve aired, you can stream them 90 after the game has ended. The only team I try to watch for every game is maybe aired nationally twice a month. That’s TWO games a month I have to wait 90 minutes until I can stream it. Big whoop. So its vaporware for those who want to watch every game, on THEIR on time, not just when they’re aired? After buying the service for 2 years now, its totally worth it.

    What I want to know, Shaylin, is if you can move up or down in the timeline of archived games based on Batter/Inning/Game Event/ or Runs Scored like on Apple TV or Boxee? On those other 2 players, you can instantly go to the top or bottom of any inning rather than having to fast forward or rewind.

    • Shaylin Clark

      I don’t actually know. I usually watch my games live, so I’ve never tried.

  • Jon

    So how, exactly, do you watch the free game? I tried to add the channel last night and it said I would have to buy the premium service to do it even though I already have a free MLB account and a code.

  • DowneastDiva

    So this is what get for paying your taxes? Blackout?