Apple TV debuted its Friday Night Baseball product last night with two back-to-back MLB games to start it off featuring the New York Mets vs. the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros vs. the Los Angeles Angels.
The launch wasn’t perfect, but the video quality was good. Friday Night Baseball streams are provided in 1080p (HD) resolution and the audio in 5.1 surround sound. Closed Captioning is offered with the streams.
While some viewers complained about connectivity issues and streaming interruptions, the video image was far better than the 1080i or 720p video that we’ve been accustomed to with broadcast TV (cable or satellite), although comparable to live streams from other providers. 1080p is superior to 1080i in that it provides full images rather than interlaced, even if somewhat slow with the refresh rate.
Of course, MLB games have never looked so good as they do in 4K when we are lucky enough to get a 4K broadcast. And the 4k image (even if the production is upscaled from 2k), also features the HLG flavor of HDR to boost color contrast. But those games are few and far between. Hopefully this year we’ll get the NLCS games in addition to last year’s ALCS playoffs that were offered in 4k.
Most viewers complained about the hosts though, who were not the familiar faces we see on ESPN, FOX Sports, or MLB Network. According to Apple, “game assignments for Friday Night Baseball broadcasters will be announced on a weekly basis.” That part of the broadcast was sort of strange, as if Apple TV is attempting to start its own sports network (maybe they are) and to find new viewers for baseball games.
What’s nice about the Friday Night Baseball streams from Apple though is you can easily go back and watch the games in their entirety (or scroll through to the moments you want to see again). And, Apple TV offers a condensed game recap as “Bonus Content” from each event.
What’s more, scheduled Friday Night Baseball games are available to anyone with internet access and Apple TV+ ($4.99 per mo.). Access includes Apple TV app on iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV 4K and HD, and on tv.apple.com, along with smart TVs, gaming consoles, and cable set-top boxes.
Friday Night Baseball is be available on Apple TV+ in the United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, South Korea, and the United Kingdom, and for a limited time without an Apple TV+ subscription.