These new streaming services may entice you to cut the cord

March 30, 2015, 5:27 PM UTC
Roku Inc. CEO Anthony Wood Unveils New Streaming Devices
The Roku 3 television streaming player menu is shown on a television in Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013. Roku Inc. announced an all-new family of streaming players, Roku LT, Roku 1 and Roku 2, which are designed to provide a better TV experience. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photograph by Getty Images

Steve Belk is a resident of Houston, Texas. He’s an entrepreneur and he’s also a cord-cutter, i.e., he’s gotten rid of cable TV. He is, in fact, such an avid cord-cutter that he runs the Cut Cable Today website, which offers step-by-step instructions to anyone looking to ditch their cable provider in favor of a streaming device and a handful of services.

“My wife and I were looking at areas to improve our budget and it just made so much sense,” he said. “We didn’t use a significant portion of the channels, we were tired of expiring ‘promotional bundle deals’ that were misleading, and we knew there had to be a better way.”

The setup that they use will sound like nonsensical jargon to those who haven’t delved into this issue much. But it’s actually pretty simple.

“I use a Mohu Leaf 30 Indoor Antenna to pick up all the local stations in beautiful, uncompressed HD,” he said. “For my streaming device, I use the Roku 3. It’s great and has dedicated buttons for our favorite streaming services — Netflix and Amazon Prime.”

In addition to Netflix and Amazon Prime, the number of new networks delivered via streaming services is steadily increasing. Many of these networks offer specialized, niche programming that would have seemed pretty out-there just a year ago.

If there’s no app for these services, they can simply be streamed from the Internet, as is the case with the just-debuted Shout! Factory TV, which shows everything from vintage episodes of “Rhoda” to the filmography of director Werner Herzog and such uncompromisingly schlocky fare as “Night Call Nurses.”

Fortune presents a list of new streaming channels that you might not have heard of yet. And while they may not be enough to get you to cut the cord, they might make you give that Roku at the electronics store a second look.


Ari Zoldan is CEO of Quantum Media Group, a tech and media company based in New York City. He said that streaming providers are offering cable providers such stiff competition that the cable companies have realized they’d better get into the act. For example, HBO is launching HBO Now in April, at a cost of $14.99 a month to people without a cable subscription.

Zoldan also sang the praises of Qello, a service that streams full-length music content, such as concerts and documentaries, for $4.99 a month. It’s available on Apple TV, Roku, PlayStation and more on your living room set, and also on mobile devices.

Sling TV

Some people who are anxious about the prospect of cutting the cord feel the way they do because they fear losing live television. At $20 a month, Sling TV, which was launched in February by Dish TV, is a little pricier than some of the other streaming channels, but it offers all the live content that potential cord-cutters fear losing, such as their precious sports broadcasts.

Zoldan said that Sling TV offers users 16 channels, including AMC, CNN and the Disney Channel. It can be accessed “on your TV’s, computers or mobile devices through the internet, as opposed to traditional cable or satellite TV services.”


If documentaries and Indies are your thing, then SnagFilms may be the streaming service for you. Co-founded by Ted Leonsis, formerly of AOL, and Rick Allen, ex-CEO of National Geographic, the service is free and features a library of over 5,000 movies and television shows.

SnagFilms is available on 21 digital platforms, including PlayStation, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and AppleTV. It also offers the family channel KiddoVid, the horror and action channel SnagXtreme, the Spanish language channel ¡Vaya!Film and the comedy channel FunnyForFree.


Right wingers, Tea Partiers and social conservatives need streaming services too, and TAPP looks like the service for them. According to audience development manager Evan Greenberg, it offers such content as the Herman Cain Channel and the Sarah Palin Channel, each offered a la carte at $9.95 apiece so subscribers don’t get saddled with content that they don’t want.

Both the Sarah Palin Channel and the New Life Ministry Channel are available as Roku apps, or you can watch them on mobile iOS devices. Greenberg said that the service aspires to have up to 100 channels by the end of 2016, “across the verticals of sports, music, politics, faith, inspiration, self-help and lifestyle.”


“Through my research, I have found some interesting services that people — sometimes, even cord cutters — often don’t know about,” Steve Belk said. One such service is CrunchyRoll, an Anime service.

Of course, if Anime’s your thing, you probably cut the cord long ago and aren’t even reading this article, as it will take time away from you that can better be spent watching season 17 of “Naruto Shippuden.” But in the extremely unlikely event that you’re a technology-averse Anime fan, CrunchyRoll could be the service that tips the scales for you.

Warner Archive

Are you are the type of person who embraces technology in order to better develop your relationship with the movies and television shows of yesteryear? If so, then Warner Archive is the streaming service for you!

Where else can you thrill to selections from the Blaxploitation and disaster movie genres while getting your fill of the television shows that made Andy Griffith the national treasure he would one day become? The service costs $85 a year, or just over seven dollars a month, to get your high-tech nostalgia freak on.

Daniel Bukszpan is a New York-based freelance writer.

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