What it is -
MLB.tv (premium) gives access to all live non-blacked out (and archived) games, with DVR functionality. They determine which games to black out by your location (local teams are generally inaccessible until the game is over), which can be discovered via your phone's GPS or your internet service provider's zip code. It costs $125.
The main competing service for out-of-market fans is Extra Innings, a cable service that provides access to live (non-blacked out) games. Archived games, however, are not available. Other services (like DVR and HD) must be paid for separately. It costs about $205-$215.
Anyway, I signed up for MLB.tv a month ago (after having used Extra Innings each of previous four years) since I recently got a new smartphone and could watch live games on it via the service. I'd tried it a few years back and was dissatisfied, but figured they'd made enough improvements by now to make it worthwhile. I canceled it a few days ago and am going back to Extra Innings. Below is my review of the service, which, although it didn't work for me, would be perfect for some.
The ability to watch any game from any team from any day of the season, and to access live scores and stats at the same time.
It takes up no space on your TV's DVR and you don't have to remember to record the games.
Customer service was helpful when I had technical issues or wanted to cancel.
You can access it from your computer/tablet, video game system or even smartphone.
It costs about $85 less than Extra Innings.
You can watch up to four games simultaneously on a PC (Extra Innings gives access to eight, but you have no control over which).
The DVR functions (rewind, fast-forward, pause), especially on the computer, did not always work. This was mostly due to an incredibly incompatible application called "NexDef," which must be installed before using DVR functionality on a PC.
The quality, despite being called "HD," is not (via PS3 and smartphone). It looks like what it is - streaming internet video. True HD picture through Extra Innings is significantly better. The quality on a PC can be rather good (better than the PS3), but when it was, it often skipped and paused frequently.
Fast-forwarding and rewinding was not user-friendly, as it went about one minute/second. If you missed a play and wanted to see it again, you'd have to be very careful (not to go back 5+ minutes) and could rewind no earlier than 30 seconds (on the PS3). They need something like they have on the PC, a "jump back" button that rewinds only a few seconds.
It did not work at all on my bedroom blu-ray player, despite the fact that it should have.
You must be signed into the PlayStation Network to access it (on a PS3). The PSN, as any PS3 owner knows, is not always reliable.
It depends on what time of fan you are. If you eat, sleep and breath baseball (not just the Yankees), then MLB.tv is a wise investment. The ability to watch your favorite non-Yankee players and teams can't be found anywhere else. But since 95% of my baseball time is spent on one team, I prefer Extra Innings, for the superior quality and reliability.
Accessibility - A
Reliability - D
Customer service - A-
Quality - B-