Major League Baseball is releasing an ambitious new product today, which we were the first to tell you about in April: Live video streaming of out-of-market games for Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone and iPod touch. Previously, you could listen to live radio broadcasts and watch live game illustrations, with in-game video highlights. Now, you’ll be able to watch the whole game, both over wi-fi and the iPhone’s 3G connection. Assuming it works, this is an awesome development for any baseball fan.
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The first games aired will be tomorrow’s Chicago Cubs-White Sox matchup at 2:20 p.m. ET, and the Detroit Tigers-St. Louis Cardinals game at 8:15 p.m. For a while, MLB will deliver up to two out-of-market games live a day.
After that, the league plans to roll out its entire slate of games streamed via MLB.TV to the iPhone, which excludes national games, like Fox games on Saturdays and ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. Again, this is out-of-market streaming only, so if you live in New York, you will not be able to watch Yankees or Mets games. (You can still use the live radio feature for those.)
As we suspected, the iPhone 3.0 upgrade — which includes Apple’s official streaming protocol — is opening up more mobile video to the phone. Previously, video-centric apps like the NCAA March Madness app and CBS’s TV.com app were limited to wi-fi only, because streaming video to the iPhone was sort-of improvised and not officially supported. Now that it’s officially part of Apple’s SDK, it’s presumably more reliable and efficient, which means you can probably expect more video over 3G in the future. (Like the “badass” Hulu app we’ve heard about.) It’s possible AT&T, the iPhone’s exclusive U.S. carrier, could still block video over 3G for apps like this. But it’s running out of excuses.
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