HD Online Player Called Up to Majors

Spring training is about to get underway in Arizona and Florida, and at least one more HD online video player will be playing in the big leagues soon. Literally.

Major League Baseball, one of the very few brands that can make several hundred-thousand fans dish out some serious bucks to watch their "product" in live mode, said it will unveil a new "HD" video player for the upcoming 2009 season to paying customers.

Other Web sites—notably those attached to broadcasters such as ABC.com, CBS.com and Hulu (NBC and Fox)—have boasted HD quality video for some time now, although only the newer, more powerful PCs and Macs can handle HD content (or near-HD) without interruption. Most HD streaming is free, albeit it comes with some commercials, but MLB.com charges $110 for a season's worth of action ($80 for a stripped down version).

MLB says its "enhanced" video player has software provided by Minneapolis-based Swarmcast and users can stop, rewind and replay live action, and sync the video with an overlay of their local play-by-play announcers if they wish.

Still, even an HD video player will not be able to overcome MLB's existing blackout rules which forbid streaming a user's local team. Then again, such local "viewing" isn't all that necessary in HD or anything else. That's why we have something called "television." Hello?