CRACKLE

HWM (Singapore) - - Test -

Orig­i­nally an on­line video site called Grouper, it was bought by Sony Pic­tures En­ter­tain­ment and changed into Crackle in 2007. But we don’t blame you if you haven’t heard of them. Un­like Net­flix, Ama­zon and Hulu fight­ing for supremacy in dig­i­tal sub­scrip­tion stream­ing, Crackle is con­tent to be­ing a free stream­ing web­site…at least for now.

There’s been not much in­no­va­tion go­ing into Crackle over the years. For in­stance, it doesn’t seem to have any HD con­tent at all; ev­ery­thing streams in SD only with a max­i­mum qual­ity of 480p. It also works sim­i­larly to the free ver­sion of Hulu, where shows have ad­ver­tise­ments in­ter­spersed through­out. You also do not need a sub­scrip­tion or to lo­gin. You can choose to reg­is­ter on Crackle; mem­ber­ship will al­low you to cus­tom­ize your likes and pref­er­ences, no­ti­fi­ca­tions for new shows added and a saved view­ing his­tory.

How­ever, un­like Hulu, Crackle’s en­tire li­brary is avail­able by de­fault. Among the four con­tenders in our shootout, it is the only true “free” ser­vice, with no strings at­tached (be­sides ads), no sub­scrip­tion or pay wall.

The downside, Crackle has the least amount of con­tent. Be­ing owned by Sony means that a large por­tion of Crackle’s me­dia li­brary comes from Sony, most of them older movies. There are some well-known hits such as Bad Boys, Gat­taca, Crouch­ing Tiger Hid­den Dragon or Se­in­feld in there, but we no­tice that Crackle tends to cy­cle con­tent, re­mov­ing and adding shows quite fre­quently. TV shows in par­tic­u­lar do not ap­pear in their full sea­sons; you might find a few episodes here and there.

Still, even Crackle has orig­i­nal pro­duced con­tent, such as the ac­tion thriller Cho­sen, which is al­ready into its fourth sea­son. The ser­vice is also look­ing to re­lease more orig­i­nal pro­duc­tions this way, with two ti­tles, Tightrope and Se­questered, slated for re­lease soon.

As men­tioned, Crackle is com­pletely free. All you need to do is point your browser to www.crackle.com and you can start brows­ing and watch­ing any­thing on its li­brary. The in­ter­face is clean, but not im­me­di­ately no­tice­able how large its li­brary is, since it’s menu will only show you the weekly rec­om­mended movies. In­ter­est­ingly enough, our time surf­ing Crackle pre­sented us with a host of Net­flix ban­ners and ads.

Crackle also has the best cov­er­age among all the stream­ing ser­vices. Be­sides web stream­ing on the desk­top, it has apps for An­droid, iOS, nook, kin­dle fire, Black­berry and Win­dows Phone 7.5/8.

To­tally free. A mix of hit movies and TV shows.

SD qual­ity only. Limited con­tent. Ad sup­ported

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