Hands on with the MLB.tv Windows 8 app: More bunt than home run

Just in time for baseball season, the official MLB.tv app has slid into the Windows Store.

As with MLB.tv's existing apps for iOS and Android, the Windows 8/RT version allows you to watch live and recorded games, see scores from around the league and listen to gameday audio.

Of course, you'll need an MLB.tv subscription to do most of those things ($20 per month or $110 per year for basic; $25 per month or $130 per year for Premium; or $20 per year for audio). The app itself is free, and one game is available for free viewing every day.

Even the app's preferences are limited.

In terms of features, the Windows 8 app is an absolute wasteland compared to other platforms. On MLB.tv's iOS and Android apps, you can look at stats, box scores and recaps. You can also read news about your favorite teams, and watch video highlights of the games you missed.

None of those features exist on the Windows 8 app. Not one. It's a way to watch live or recorded games, and nothing more. You can't even look at league standings within the app, though you can check out team schedules, at least.

Hopefully MLB.tv was just trying to get something out the door for the start of the season, and will circle back over time to add more features. As it stands, this is another case where the Windows 8 app doesn't stack up to other platforms, just like the Twitter app that launched a few weeks ago.

If there's one saving grace, it's the Windows 8 Snap feature, of which MLB.tv takes full advantage. In Windows 8, you can move the MLB.tv app into a sidebar view and keep an eye on the game while using other apps. The video appears as a small thumbnail when Snapped, with a scrollable list of scores underneath. Snap continues to be the most unique and helpful feature of Windows 8, and MLB.tv extends its usefulness even further.

MLB.tv's Snap functionality is a humongous plus for the app.

All complaints aside, MLB.tv's does get the job done for watching baseball on a Windows 8 device. On tablets in particular, it's a much better option than dealing with a clunky Web interface, and the fact that it's arrived on Windows 8 in a timely fashion is more than we can say for many other essential apps. There's no reason not to give the app a shot if you're already an MLB.tv subscriber.

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