Comcast has revealed on its Xfinity subscriber forum that it will offer all MLB Extra Innings games in 2017 in High-Definition for the first time ever. That is, if you have an X1 set-top.
In response to a comment from a unhappy Comcast subscriber who was complaining about the cable op still offering Extra Innings games in SD, ‘ComcastTeds,’ a Comcast employee/moderator who answers questions in the forum, said yesterday:
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“I can tell you that every single NHL Center Ice game is now available in HD in all Comcast households that have X1 (and also subscribe to NHL Center Ice). We expect to offer the same experience for MLB Extra Innings this season. More information to come very soon. Thank you for your patience.”
For the first time this year, Comcast also switched to an all-HD lineup for the NHL Center Ice package of out-of-market games.
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Comcast has yet to reveal pricing details for the 2017 MLB Extra Innings plan, which offers up to 100 out-of-market games every week. I have contacted Comcast’s public relations department for more information on its 2017 MLB package, but have yet to get a response.
The cable operator last year offered the MLB package for $165. Under the terms of a settlement of a lawsuit brought by fans, Comcast and DIRECTV are required this year to offer the MLB plan at a 12.5 percent discount over its regular price of $197. (DIRECTV this year is charging $172.74 for the plan.)
Considering that HDTV has been in consumer homes for nearly two decades, the switch to all high-def for the Extra Innings plan is something barely worth crowing about. By comparison, DIRECTV has aired every MLB Extra Innings game in high-def for several years.
But for Comcast, which last year sometimes broadcast two or three Extra Innings games each day in standard-definition, the switch to all-HD will be a welcome one in Comcast homes which have the X1 set-top.
Update: ‘ComcastTeds’ notes in his posts that the HD games on the NHL Center Ice plan currently do not include pause, rewind or fast-forward, and that the HD ‘channel’ for the MLB Extra Innings plan will have the same omissions at launch.
That suggests the MLB HD games are likely to be delivered using Comcast’s X1 “platform,” which is the company’s terminology for IPTV (Internet Television Protocol).
IPTV is the delivery of programming to the set-top using streaming instead of a traditional cable or satellite signal.
I will have more details on Comcast’s MLB Extra Innings plan when they become available.
— Phillip Swann