For a die hard sports fan, it’s a sad, tough life without cable. You need it to watch all the games you can! Hell, it’s really the only reason why I still fork over a $US100 every month to money-garbing Time Warner these days. But with Apple TV now being able to stream MLB.tv and NBA League Pass? I’m cutting my cable subscription and going to get an Apple TV ASAP.
Why? Because I can watch more games for less money! I’ve been dreaming of using my MLB.tv and NBA League Pass Broadband subscriptions to watch games the way sports was meant to be enjoyed: in my living room, on my 50-incher, with a cold one (recommended). And now I can do that without horrible cable companies! If I need an extended bathroom break, I can fire up the MLB At Bat app or NBA Gametime app and continue streaming from my iPhone, Android phone or iPad. Doing it with these subscriptions and Apple TV not only gives me more games than I had with basic cable, I get to watch on more screens too. The future is convenience.
Sure, MLB.tv and NBA League Pass broadband have been available for computer users since Hector was a pup but it was never the same experience as watching on TV: you’re not cheering as hard, you’re not multitasking as much, you’re not inviting friends over, you’re just always trapped by the unfriendly confines. And though the super tech savvy could’ve always figured out how to rig a HTPC together or use a snazzy HDMI setup to stream MLB.tv and League Pass to their TVs, doing it with Apple TV is way, way, way easier than that. With Apple TV, there’s no need to even change your gameday routine.
The problem? Well, you’re not getting the NFL with Apple TV. The greedy billionaire owners of the NFL have long aligned their Sunday Ticket package with DirecTV. Sure, DirecTV pays Refrigerator Perry-sized money for it, but it’s a worse experience for us fans. If we don’t have DirecTV, we’re shit out of luck. Half baked solution: set up an antenna to grab free local HD NFL games over the air every Sunday.
Admittedly, Apple TV still isn’t the perfect solution for cable-less sports nirvana yet. Because of long-established (read: fan un-friendly) blackout rules, you’ll be forced to miss National TV broadcasts games (that air on cable) and your local team games. But for me, I can live with those tradeoffs. I’ll use all the money I save from ditching cable on paying my bar tab for big games and going to real games at The Garden. And maybe in the wishful future, ESPN will see the success of AppleTV for sports and launch an ESPN3 app on AppleTV so we’ll be able to chow down on the Worldwide Leader too (Monday Night Football, college games, various national games).
If anything, introducing live streaming sports on Apple TV shows that Apple is more serious about Apple TV than they’ve ever been before. They’re building a streaming library that’s legitimately competitive with Roku (MLB.tv and NBA League Pass stream games there too), Google TV, Boxee, etc, and that will bring more sports fans around. The hope is, more sports networks will follow suit. Blackout rules suck, but Apple TV and its new streaming options represent a glossiness of hope for sports fans who’ve long wanted to ditch cable.