Streaming Crackle’s limited content doesn’t pop

Apr 26, 2011
Tech

When I first heard about app Crackle — available universally for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad — I thought the Sony-developed service sounded promising. Offering full-length streaming movies and television series, Crackle is a viable option for users not paying for Netflix or Hulu access, but will really be better as a supplement to the […]

When I first heard about app Crackle — available universally for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad — I thought the Sony-developed service sounded promising. Offering full-length streaming movies and television series, Crackle is a viable option for users not paying for Netflix or Hulu access, but will really be better as a supplement to the existing content of those services.

Browsing through the Crackle library, I saw many titles I’d like to stream free. Too bad for me, most of the titles I was interested in aren’t actually available to watch in the app. There’s no denotation of which titles just offer clips and which ones are indeed full-length, and this adds up to a lot of extra tapping and time spent browsing to find something to watch. For reference, some of the full-length selections include a few episodes of Seinfeld, three seasons of Newsradio, The Da Vinci Code and Ghostbusters. I compared some of the actual full-length content available in Crackle to Instant Netflix, and found that Crackle only overlapped availability in a few instances.

The good news with Crackle is that it’s absolutely free (watch your data usage, though), so if you’re willing to spend the time browsing the app, you can have a movie or TV show of some sort at your fingertips. When you find something available that you want to watch, the stream will start playing automatically, preceded by a 30-second ad. The media defaults to play in a window, but you can pull up options, such as full screen, sharing and “add to queue” by tapping. To manage your queue, a Crackle account (or Facebook connect) is required.

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Using a Wi-Fi-enabled iPad, Crackle’s audio and video quality was clear and bug-free. If you leave the app while watching, you’ll be prompted on relaunch to start from the beginning or resume playback — useful, but you will have to watch another ad.

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Kathryn Swartz

Kathryn Swartz is a freelance writer/editor who doesn't know how people lived pre iPhone. She attended the Missouri School of Journalism.

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