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Cutting the Cord: Dove Channel streams family-friendly happy thoughts


Those in search of wholesome family videos to stream have a new destination: Dove Channel.

The subscription service, which launches Tuesday on DoveChannel.com is curated by The Dove Foundation, a non-profit that for nearly 25 years has produced its own movie reviews based on Judeo-Christian values.

“Dove Channel takes The Dove Foundation’s mission to the next level by transitioning from providing consumers information about values-based content to providing them direct access,” said Dick Rolfe, who is CEO and co-founder of the Wyoming, Mich.-based group, in an email exchange. “We believe Dove Channel will demonstrate a greater demand for Dove-approved entertainment, which will in turn, increase the production of family-friendly content.”

Newcomers will get a free one-week trial of the service. After that, a $4.99 monthly subscription gets you ad-free streaming, early access to new releases and use of the service’s customizable content-filtering feature. Non-subscribers can watch about 60% of Dove Channel content for free with ads.

Among the 600 to 700 titles available at launch: VeggieTales, The Velveteen Rabbit, Highway To Heaven, Swiss Family Robinson, The Adventures of Black Beauty and Where The Red Fern Grows. In addition to watching on computers, you can use Android and iOS devices and Roku video devices.

Faith-based content makes about 40% of what you find on Dove Channel, while the majority will be other family-friendly and children’s releases that have been rated on six different criteria (sexuality, language, violence, drug and alcohol use, nudity and other).

Dove Channel provides some valuable tools for families within its interface, which lets viewers customize the content recommended. You can choose to see only those shows that have gotten specific Dove ratings — such as “Faith Friendly — Ages 12+” or Family Approved — All Ages” and you can use a sliding bar that lets you adjust how much bad language, violence and other factors you want to allow.

A parent could, for instance, select the “Faith-Based Caution” seal and set violence settings to zero so that children wouldn’t see any films earning that seal that might have violence. Parents set a password, so they can control the settings and go back and change them at any time.

If you decide to peruse the library, you can call up a movie or episode to get a synopsis and a Dove review. “Dove reviews all of the content that goes on the channel, so everything that is on the network is Dove-approved. Families can go through that and decide if there’s content that is questionable for their kids,” said Eric Davies, digital networks coordinator at Cinedigm, who walked me through an online demo of the service.

Cinedigm served as tech partner with Dove Foundation on the channel, after previously helping launch the online channel Docurama last year and the Comic Con-branded CONtv, in conjunction with Wizard World in March.

With streaming video becoming more and more a part of entertainment in homes, Dove Channel provides families “with direct access to hundreds of Dove-approved titles in one safe place,” Rolfe said. “And, with the one-of-a-kind customization feature, they have total control over the content they watch.”

“Cutting the Cord” is a regular column covering Net TV and ways to get it. If you have suggestions or questions, contact Mike Snider via e-mail atmsnider@usatoday.com. And follow him on Twitter: @MikeSnider.