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Legal Twins Streaming Options & Fox Sports "No"

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There's licit ways to cut the cord. Here are two of them.

Dick Bremer and Rod Carew
Carew explaining to Bremer why cable should be a la carte.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

If you've seen Fox Sports North broadcasts lately, you've endured ten trillion ads for "Fox Sports Go." It's an app you can download to your device of choice, and watch Fox Sports North anywhere you want, on that device, if you have a cable/dish subscription.

Well ... it doesn't work.

Or, it works, but only if Fox Sports has an agreement with your TV provider. Most pay-TV providers have their own streaming services, now. The primary Twin Cities cable baron, Comcast, has "Xfinity TV." When you watch an available show on these streaming services, you don't see a real-time feed; you see a rebroadcast of previously-aired programs, with the original commercials replaced by whatever advertiser the TV company has sold ad space to.

Comcast does not have an agreement with Fox Sports North to allow streaming on Fox Sports Go for cable subscribers. (Not for Twins games, at any rate.) Neither, it seems, does Dish Network, or apparently anything with a service area outside some mineshaft in Hibbing.)

I imagine how these negotiations proceeded:

TV Provider: We wanna get all the ad revenue from streaming.

Fox Sports: We wanna get all the ad revenue from streaming.

TV Provider: Go Plouffe yourself.

Fox Sports: YOU go Plouffe yourself! (etc ...)

Interestingly, there are a few other legal streaming options where you CAN watch Twins games inside what MLB considers the blackout restriction area (for mlb.tv.) I tried two of them. And both delivered Dick & Bert just fine, with good quality video, on a fairly low-speed Internet connection.

The two I tried were PlayStation Vue and Sling TV.

With both, you have to check the website to make sure you're picking a channel package which includes Fox Sports North (called Fox Sports regional.) Select the wrong package, and you don't get FSN. (You could select every package, but then if you forget to cancel your subscription before the free trial ends, you get a bigger bill.)

The great appeal of these, for me, was I didn't have to schedule time for anyone to install my cable descrambler/satellite dish. And cancelling them involved logging into my account, hitting "cancel," that was it -- instead of having to deal with some unfortunate call-center employee obligated to make cancelling service as difficult as possible.

(BTW: When companies give you the "this call may be recorded to ensure quality customer service" recording, they ain't caring about You. They're monitoring workers to make sure every single one obeys company policy and never says anything like "I agree, you've been totally screwed.") -- *

Also, you can restart service or cancel service whenever you want. (You still have to pay for full months if you subscribe for part of that month, but if you skipped May, you can sign back up for June, skip July, etc.) If the Twins were in a pennant race this year, I could see myself paying for the last month of the season.

The downsides? For one, the devices these services are available on. I'm already providing enough free advertising for each, so I won't link to the appropriate pages describing device availability, and I think you're all smarter than me on the 'puters, so you can figure it out.

PlayStation Vue is streamable through a PS3/PS4 (duh), and Sling TV through an Xbox or yer 'puter. Both support various tablets, phones, blah blah. I watched Vue on my PS3 (as it's connected to an HDTV) and Sling on a desktop with a tolerable-sized screen (as I don't have an Xbox.) I don't want to watch baseball on a itty bitty screen. If you do, you can try the free week and see how it works for you. Go ahead, and line my pockets with Sony dollars, plz. I'M TOTS GETTING CASH CASH MONEY MONEY FOR THIS POST

As I prefer a TV to a computer monitor, I liked PlayStation Vue better. But Vue was around $40 a month and Sling $20. (Again, for the packages I ordered, the ones including FSN.) So if the Twins were in a playoff chase, I'd have a hard time choosing which one. I'd pick Vue (for the big TV) if I only subscribed for the last month, and Sling (cheaper) if I wanted the last half of the season.

Obviously all these things, the channels they cover, the quality & terms of service, can change at any time. So probably by 2036 when Minnesota plays good baseball again, they will be terrible. Because we are Twins fans and cannot have nice things.

Something I don't want to mention but probably should is illegal streams, because this post screams for the comment "tl;dr, I stream at stuffthings.fbi." Vox (they own every SB site, their logo is at the bottom of this screen) does not want you referencing or inquiring about illegal streams on their sites.

The reason is simple and has nothing to do with the opinion of TwinkieTown contributors (I don't give a damn what you do online, and SooFoo only collects your Social Security numbers, that's all) -- it's because federal enforcement agencies monitor websites for mentions of illegal streaming sites. They've warned SB sites in the past about not removing enough comments along those lines.

If Vox had to kill this site and reboot another SB Twins one with an all new sitename/user community, it would cost them webhits and advertising revenue. Vox does not desire this. (They'll happily take ads for TV shows which air the same time Twins games do; the Twins' TV revenue is not their concern.)

So please don't prove how Internet Clever you are in comments referencing illegal streaming sites, OK? Somebody will have to go through and delete them. TT writers are paid by Vox in dried grubs & seeds, so don't make them do extra work. (They're mostly lazy. Except me. I am SUPREMELY lazy. It's an art form.)

And final word, why isn't out-of-market radio free on MLB.com? It's free on NBA.com. Lame!

* -- Final, final word. Years ago, I canceled my cable in an apartment at 2 AM or so. The phone guy punched appropriate buttons on his keyboard, and said "yes, sir, your cable has been discontinued, you will receive your final bill on date/day." But then I turned on the TV and I still had all the channels. I got snippy with the phone guy. "Why, if you aren't billing me anymore, am I still getting the channels? I think you're stiffing me!"

The 2AM phone guy responded, with a "you dumbass" lilt to his voice, "sir, my display shows your cable has been canceled and you will not be billed past the current prorated billing period."

AKA, the software had a glitch, and I had free cable until I left that apartment. But it was years ago, and "your call may be recorded" wasn't part of automated-menu hell back then.