DoreTV:New service keeps fans closer to the action

DoreTV is a new premium service by Vanderbilt to stream video and audio of home baseball games over the Internet for a fee. Vanderbilt fans can watch the action using either Windows Media Player or Real Audio player and hear Joe Fisher giving the play by play on their speakers. The service claims that broadcasts of games will be archived for future viewing.

I used this service for the first time on a premium basis for the Saturday game against Tennessee. Before using the service, I downloaded the free version of Windows Media Player (Version 10). My computer is connected to the Internet using a high speed cable modem and has a 2.53 GHz processor along with a Windows XP operating system.

SIGNUP INTERFACE: Signing up for DoreTV is fairly easy. You go to a signup screen and enter your name, address, and other basic information. Then you pick the games you want. You can sign up for individual home games ($5), 3-game series ($12), or the entire season ($35). After selecting the games, you go to the check out page and enter your credit card information along with your email address. You'll then need to check your email box for an email from Vanderbilt with your password to get access to the premium broadcast. I received the email within seconds. I logged in with little trouble, however, I had to try twice because I missed seeing the link to click on my first attempt. The password is a randomly generated password and not the type you can remember. I didn't see an option to change my password to something more easy to remember so this could be an issue for series or season subscribers. Overall it was simple to sign up. RATING: B+

VIDEO: The video quality, as expected, was not on a par with real television but it was about satisfactory. Using the Windows Media Player I was able to switch between full screen which has terrible resolution and grainy and postage stamp size which was clearer but too small to see. I used a middle-sized screen with satisfactory results. I had decent clarity as to what was going on. I could see the pitcher wind up and throw the ball fairly clearly, again it is not TV quality but it makes following the game more exciting. At times the media player screen would freeze for up to 20 or 30 seconds. I'd still be able to hear Joe Fisher calling the game while the screen was frozen. The longest the video continued without being frozen was about 25 minutes. Overall the video is very basic and rough. There is definitely room for improvement but the DoreTV video still makes the game more exciting than just following the game with sound only or live stats. RATING: C-

SOUND: The sound was a big improvement over the Teamline broadcasts. I heard Joe Fisher in stereo and it came through loud and clear. At times the sound would skip for a fraction of a second but it was a minor issue. The sound was synchronized well with the movement on the field. RATING: B-

OVERALL: Even though DoreTV has some things to improve on and I was unable to view an archived broadcast of the game after 3 days, the service is a good one and worth the price. DoreTV definitely made my experience as a fan more enjoyable. I recommend this service for the Vanderbilt fan with high-speed Internet access that is outside Middle Tennessee and/or is unable to attend games. OVERALL RATING: B-

According to Chris Weinman, Online Services Coordinator for Vanderbilt University, Vanderbilt officials are exploring expanding the service for football and basketball seasons. They are also considering offering coaches shows and interviews on DoreTV. You still have a chance to try this service during baseball season. DoreTV will broadcast the upcoming crucial series against LSU and Florida and a single game with MTSU. To sign up, go to this link: Top Stories