Genesis owners could opt to subscribe to the Sega Channel if it was available in their country. To do so, they had to purchase a Sega Channel adapter as well as purchase a subscription to a cable provider which offered the Sega Channel in their package. In the U.S., it cost about $12.95 a month with a $25 fee to activate the service, according to Sega Retro. From there, users could choose from a plethora of games to play which were streamed over cable television. The library of games was changed monthly, and newly released games for the system were not available on the Sega Channel until 90 days after their release. Users could, however, pay an additional $2.95 a month to get access to new games for 48 hours. These were known as “Express Games.” There were also demo versions of games available known as “Test Drives.”
Because of the nature of the Sega Channel, there isn’t much available in the way of documentation. Since it was broadcast over cable television, it was difficult to really record the channel at all. However, we can see today how revolutionary the idea was for the time, considering the rise of cloud gaming, an idea extraordinarily similar to the Sega Channel.