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How to watch the Twins in 2018

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#1 spycake

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Posted 28 March 2018 - 12:33 PM

How to watch the Twins in 2018

 

(Sorry, this post isn't about food- or beverage-pairing suggestions for ballgames. I'll leave that to other community members. :))

 

This post is about streaming video. There are a lot of options now for cord-cutters (those without cable/satellite TV service). I will limit this post and its discussion to legal methods, though -- feel free to private message me if you have questions about any others.

 

First and foremost, you should know if you are in the Twins TV market or not. This will determine MLB.TV blackout policy and the likely availability of Fox Sports North if you watch through a streaming service. You can use this link to check -- just change the five digits at the end of the URL to your own zip code:

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/subscriptions/blackout.jsp?postalCode=55455

 

Outside the Twins TV market:
If you're outside the Twins TV market, you should definitely look into MLB.TV. You'll still get blacked out if the Twins play a team from your market (like if you live in KC but the Royals are playing the Twins, even if the game is in Minneapolis), and there are blackouts of national TV games (ESPN/Fox), but you'll get the vast majority of Twins games, plus a ton of other games, plus some cool features depending on your device -- my favorites are:

  • DVR-like timeshifting (start watching a 7 PM game at 8 PM and just skip the commercials to catch up by the end)
  • audio overlay (listen to the radio announcers synced to the TV broadcast, or just the crowd noise at the park)
  • all live radio broadcasts from around the league, with no blackouts (put yourself to sleep every night with some West Coast play-by-play)
  • split screen / quad screen, for watching multiple games at once
  • and a "Pitchcast" overlay (haven't tried that one yet, but it sounds cool, if you're into that sort of thing)

MLB.TV is $115.99 for a yearly subscription right now, or about $75 after a 35% student or military discount, or free if you are a T-Mobile subscriber and you take advantage of this promotion through April 2:

https://www.t-mobile.com/mlb

 

If you can afford to wait, there are usually 50% off deals for MLB.TV by early May. I try to post those deals here at Twins Daily when I notice them too.

 

Inside the Twins TV market:
If you're in the Twins TV market, it's a bit more complicated. Okay, a lot more complicated. :) But entirely possible to stream without a cable/satellite contract, unlike a few years ago.

 

MLB.TV can still be fun in-market for following the rest of the league, but you will have to deal with live Twins blackouts. Fortunately, all of the major TV streaming services can now offer Fox Sports North to viewers in the Twins TV market, and for a reasonable, monthly, no-contract price. Here's a run-down of them:

newchart.png

Hopefully the chart is pretty self-explanatory. Some things to note:

  • Check with each service about the availability of FSN at your exact location / zip code (the free trials come in handy for that too). I'm not sure how they all handle edge/overlap cases.
    Sling: http://help.sling.co...ork-on-Sling-TV
    YouTube TV: no search available, use free trial
    Hulu with Live TV: https://www.hulu.com...-tv#allchannels
    Playstation Vue: https://www.playstat...k/vue/channels/
    FuboTV: https://www.fubo.tv/welcome/channels
    DirecTV NOW: http://www.directv.c..._local_channels
  • DVR might be useful for watching games -- for example, you could start watching a 7 PM game at 8 PM, skip the commercials, and probably end around 10 PM just like if you were watching live.
  • The services that offer FSN while traveling outside your home market might be helpful for viewers who travel frequently and don't have a MLB.TV subscription. The other services are strictly location-based only, meaning if you sign in from Texas, you will see Texas channels and not your Minnesota ones.
  • Finally, I thought I'd include the availability of MLB Network on these services, because that channel picks up a lot of games throughout the season and might be the best way to follow the sport nationally (outside of MLB.TV).

Also, it appears that all of these services now support authenticating through Fox Sports Go. So if your only interest is the Twins (and you don't need DVR), you don't even have to bother with apps for the different services -- just launch the Fox Sports Go site or app on your preferred device, and sign in with the login for your particular service.

 

Summary:

Without considering promos, Sling is the cheapest way to legally stream the Twins in their TV market, at $25 per month, effectively $150 for the 6-month regular season -- comparable to the full retail cost of MLB.TV. (And with a promo, you can also get a free Roku media streamer device for signing up with Sling and pre-paying for your first 2-3 months.)

 

DirecTV Now is another compelling option with promos, particularly if you need a device. The 32 GB Apple TV 4K device ($180 retail) is widely considered a top-of-the-line media streamer, and comes free with 3 months prepaid of DirecTV Now ($150 for the FSN plan level).

 

I'll let other users chime in with their experiences about interfaces and advanced features, but I thought I'd share what I know as a streaming video nerd and get the discussion going.

 

(edited to improve the chart display)

Edited by spycake, 28 March 2018 - 12:38 PM.

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#2 Respy

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Posted 28 March 2018 - 12:42 PM

I was very impressed with MLB.TV quality when I was in Indiana and could watch most of the Twins games.Now I'm back in MN and have gone with Playstation Vue.Quality is OK but they've jacked the price from $30-$45.I might switch to Sling Blue.Any glaring drawbacks of the Sling service?


#3 Respy

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Posted 28 March 2018 - 12:47 PM

Also I'd add for anyone who works in an office which has bad radio reception, yet they are allowed to get onto MLB website and stream audio to headphones, MLB Gameday Audio at $20/year is absolutely worth it for all those weekday afternoon games.

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#4 spycake

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Posted 28 March 2018 - 01:18 PM

 

I was very impressed with MLB.TV quality when I was in Indiana and could watch most of the Twins games.Now I'm back in MN and have gone with Playstation Vue.Quality is OK but they've jacked the price from $30-$45.I might switch to Sling Blue.Any glaring drawbacks of the Sling service?

Glad you brought up quality. MLB.TV is the gold standard. But most of the streaming services seem to offer Fox Sports at 60 frames per second now, which is probably the most important thing for sports. (If you've ever had to watch the scrolling scores ticker at the bottom of the screen running at only 30 frames per second, you'll know what I mean!)

 

And with Fox Sports Go support, you can always use that to watch instead of, say, the Vue app or the Sling app. And you will get the same consistent Twins watching experience, no matter what service you subscribe to.

 

Depending on your internet bandwidth fluctuations, or how often you skip ahead between pitches or during commercial breaks, that can temporarily bump you down to lower quality too. Again, worth comparing Fox Sports Go performance in this regard vs the service's app during a free trial too.

 

If you watch other channels, I have read that Sling seems to be 30 frames per second for some of those, although it's not so noticeable for non-sports or channels without the scrolling ticker at the bottom. Sling does have the fewest other channels -- notably ESPN is absent from Sling Blue, unless you combine it with their other package at $40 per month.

Edited by spycake, 28 March 2018 - 01:18 PM.

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#5 James

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Posted 28 March 2018 - 01:49 PM

I have been using Playstation Vue, and the quality seems really good (I don't know the frame rates).I'm also not happy with the price increase.I was thinking of Youtube TV, but it's not the cheapest option either.I have had some issues with PS Vue and buffering, but that could be my internets.

You can come up with statistics to prove anything. Forty percent of all people know that.


#6 SweetOne69

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Posted 28 March 2018 - 01:51 PM

One thing to note, if your OTT subscriber doesn't carry FSN+ you won't be able to stream it on FSGo even if it recognizes your subscriber.

 

I verified this with PSVue, but assume it is the same with the other OTT Services as well.

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#7 zenser

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Posted 28 March 2018 - 03:03 PM

 

Also I'd add for anyone who works in an office which has bad radio reception, yet they are allowed to get onto MLB website and stream audio to headphones, MLB Gameday Audio at $20/year is absolutely worth it for all those weekday afternoon games.

I have been a big fan of gameday audio.Very cheap investment for a seasons worth of audio. 

 

It was great to listen some of the greats that have recently retired.I think this year there appears to be more afternoon games on get away day. 


#8 spycake

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Posted 28 March 2018 - 03:23 PM

One thing to note, if your OTT subscriber doesn't carry FSN+ you won't be able to stream it on FSGo even if it recognizes your subscriber.

I verified this with PSVue, but assume it is the same with the other OTT Services as well.


Good point on the Fox Sports North Plus channel!

Best as I can tell, Sling, YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV, and fuboTV all carry Plus.

The holdouts seem to be Vue and DirecTV NOW, although there are reports that the DirecTV NOW login works to get Plus events through Fox Sports Go, so perhaps Vue is unusual in that regard. I can test DirecTV NOW and report back.

#9 bluechipper

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Posted 01 April 2018 - 01:56 PM

Any foxsportsgo.com watchers?

 

The last two games, starting in the 6th inning, it works about 5 seconds at a time and then freezes up.

 

The only way it works is in the split screen, and only on the right side screen, the left screen doesn't work...

 

All other events stream fine, just the Twins games starting in the 6th inning. How does that make sense?


#10 spycake

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Posted 01 April 2018 - 02:48 PM

One thing to note, if your OTT subscriber doesn't carry FSN+ you won't be able to stream it on FSGo even if it recognizes your subscriber.

I verified this with PSVue, but assume it is the same with the other OTT Services as well.


I tested this last night, and using a DirecTV NOW login through Fox Sports Go showed the FSN+ game just fine.

So it appears to be a Vue issue.

#11 TheLeviathan

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Posted 29 April 2018 - 06:47 PM

As a Sprint user...any ideas how the T mobile merger might work for MLB?

#12 spycake

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Posted 01 May 2018 - 07:01 AM

As a Sprint user...any ideas how the T mobile merger might work for MLB?


Interesting question, hadn't thought of that angle. Considering the new company would keep the T-Mobile name, headquarters, and CEO, I would guess at this point that most of their long-running promos and sponsorships would continue, and that Sprint users would have opportunities to move under the T-Mobile umbrella (if not be compelled to do so). Then again, maybe the combined company would change their focus/strategy.

In any case, even if they get approval, I don't think the merger would be consummated until mid-2019, so the next MLB season will likely not be affected. Maybe 2020? And approval isn't a sure thing either:
https://www.fiercewi...-analysts-weigh

#13 Mike Sixel

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Posted 01 May 2018 - 05:55 PM

Aapprently, "with your eyes closed" might be the right anwer this year....but thanks for this. It's informative.

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One of the best opening day rosters in years. Now go get 'em.


#14 David HK

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Posted 01 May 2018 - 07:38 PM

finger watching

 

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