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:
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:
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:
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.
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/
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.
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.