Netflix Alternatives — 17 July 2013

Crackle is a multi-platform video streaming service which streams many television shows and movies. This is a free streaming service for individuals who don’t mind commercials and want a free streaming service across many different platforms, as Crackle supports a very diverse selection of devices, all at no cost to the user.

Price: Free

Countries: Available in the United States (excluding the US territories). Limited content available in Canada, the UK and Australia, not available elsewhere in the world.

Platforms: iPhone/iPod Touch, iPad, Android handset, Android tablet, Nook tablet, Kindle Fire tablet, Windows Phone, Roku, Google TV, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, as well as Sony, Samsung, LG, Vizio and Toshiba Smart TVs

Commercials: Movies are constantly interrupted by commercials.

Selection: Limited. There are 374 movies, 77 television shows and 21 originals available for viewing currently, although that number fluctuates over time. There are new shows mixed in with old shows, in the case of television as well as movies. Most of the offerings are likely to be shows on basic cable networks.

Final Thoughts:

Crackle is a good movie streaming choice for individuals that don’t mind having a limited selection of movies without having to pay for the streaming service. The interface is simple, and users can create Crackle accounts to create and edit their playlists as well as favorites. This gives users a level of customization of their experience for a free service. The content itself is familiar but somewhat limited, particularly for individuals who are used to the wide selection of paying sites like Hulu or Netflix. However, it is significantly more likely for users to find older shows on the site compared to the newest episodes of current shows. The content is organized in a variety of ways, including the featured selection, most popular, and recently added, in addition to categories such as Hall of Anti-Heroes, Ordinary Becomes Extraordinary, Heroes in Uniform, and Superhumans and Superheroes.

cracklescreenshotIn terms of video quality, Crackle offers standard definition quality videos. The quality and definition of the stream wasn’t exceptional, but it wasn’t particularly lacking in any aspect either. Videos play smoothly, although advertisements and commercials interspersed throughout the videos can get repetitive depending on the amount of sponsors. In addition, the standard definition movies and television shows can turn certain viewers away from the service, particularly if Crackle is used on an actual wide-screen TV.

Overall, Crackle simply doesn’t have enough content to function as the full media replacements or entertainment centers that Hulu Plus or Netflix subscriptions can. There are definite limitations to the lack of a paying subscription and being funded entirely through advertisement, most strikingly in the lack of any current content, particularly for television. Most of the television shows available were not on air anymore, and in terms of movies, Crackle doesn’t offer much more than the basic cable service. However, it is important to keep in mind that all these services and features are completely free across all platforms.

Crackle’s greatest strength is in its accessibility, being supported across so many devices for a free app and service. Therefore, viewers may find Crackle much more useful as a supplementary media app to catch certain older shows that may be harder to find elsewhere. Viewers with many devices and do not want to install paid subscription services in all of them may also find Crackle as a useful free alternative streaming services for entertainment on the go, since all it requires for streaming shows is a functional internet access point. Finally, the standard definition quality of the shows also support this use of Crackle, since most high definition shows will have minimal effect on tablets and other mobile devices given the limited area of the viewing surface, and Crackle’s standard definition videos will not be as big of a factor.

Overall Rating: 4/10

Website: www.crackle.com

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