Q. Opening day is tomorrow. Is there any chance the Pittsburgh Pirates will be available for streaming for us cord-cutters? — Tom, Pittsburgh.
Tom, AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh, which has the rights to Pittsburgh Pirates games, is still not available on any of the live streaming services, such as Sling TV, DIRECTV Now, PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV, Hulu Live or fubo TV.
I had some hope that this would change before the 2019 season. Last month, AT&T struck a deal with fuboTV to permit the live streamer to carry AT&T SportsNet Southwest, the home of the Houston Astros. This was the first time that AT&T had made such a deal with a live streaming for one of its regional channels.
But as you note, Opening Day is tomorrow and AT&T has not announced additional agreements, such as one for AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh.
So if you’re looking to drop your cable or satellite service, but still watch the Pirates as a Pittsburgh resident, you’re out of luck.
That is, unless you want to subscribe to MLB.TV, the league’s streaming plan that costs $118.99 for an entire season, and install a VPN on your Internet service.
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, a software that you can download that will enable you to use an IP address different from your own. For instance, if you live in Pittsburgh, you could insert an IP address supplied by the VPN company that would say you live in Denmark.
That would enable you to watch the Pirates games in Pittsburgh using MLB.TV because the VPN would make MLB’s servers think you were in Denmark, not Pittsburgh. The blackout restriction, which normally shuts out Pirates fans in the Pittsburgh market, would disappear.
Using a VPN to skirt the blackout is a test of one’s ethics, but many fans are doing it.
Tom, hope that helps. Happy Viewing!
Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your first name and hometown in your message.
— Phillip Swann
Photo credit: Free photo from Pexels.com.