Major League Baseball's Internet TV service, MLB.TV, is now available directly to subscribers' television sets through Roku's broadband-connected set-top box.
With an MLB.TV Premium subscription and the $99 Roku player, customers will be able to watch live, out-of-market baseball games -- up to 100 per week -- as well as access on-demand games from the past week.
The MLB.TV/Roku combination would appear to compete with the Extra Innings package offered by various cable, satellite and telco distributors. MLB.TV Premium was priced at $109.95 for the full 2009 season; Extra Innings, which provides up to 80 out-of-market games per week through InDemand Networks, carries a $199 suggested retail price.
MLB.TV is also available on PCs and Macs, as well as Apple iPhone and iPod Touch devices. Meanwhile, the league is working with individual cable operators and teams to offer team-specific online packages, such as Cablevision Systems' trial with the New York Yankees, and Cox Communications' with the San Diego Padres.
According to Roku, current owners of its Internet boxes will automatically display the new MLB.com channel in the next few days. Customers also can update their players manually.
Roku was founded by Anthony Wood, who had previously been hired by Netflix to develop a set-top for the DVD-by-mail company. Netflix instead chose to partner with consumer-electronics companies, and its growing stable of partners includes Sony, TiVo, Samsung, LG and Microsoft's Xbox 360.