Roku, the Internet video box that’s simple and fun to use, with a near-impulse price ($99.95), has a new source of content: Major League Baseball. The Roku folks have signed a deal with the MLB to put live broadcasts of all games on the player, starting with the rest of the reason. The games are available to folks who subscribe to the MLB.TV Premium service, which runs $19.95 a month or $109.95 for the year (or $34.95 for the remainder of the 2009 reason). The gamecasts join Netflix Watch Instantly and Amazon on Demand video among Roku’s offerings.
The service includes DVR-like rewind, fast-forward, and pause features and HD when available, and you can watch a week’s worth of archived shows. It’s the latest evidence that the MLB is the most progressive organization in sports when it comes to tech savvy; early instances included its release of the wonderful At Bat app for the iPhone and deal to put MLB.TV in Boxee’s media-center software.
Why start showing ballgames well past the All-Star break? Roku’s Brian Jaquet told me that the new service is in beta, and that it “opens avenues” to put other sports on the Roku player. Roku says that an update to the player’s software that enables MLB.TV should be ready for Roku owners starting tonight; it hasn’t shown up when I check for updates on the Roku box I’m using, but I’m looking forward to giving it a try. I don’t need access to every game, but when your favorite team is 3,000 miles away, getting to watch any game you choose sounds mighty appealing.