The over-the-top better known as OTT content is rapidly entering the picture of streaming services as the prime medium of entertainment. OTT video streaming field has become a far more packed ecosystem than it was a few years ago. As of 2019, eMarketer points out that the number of OTT subscribers has reached over to 182 million, which more than half of the US population.
The providers of Over-the-top content appear to be in haste to make more out of this new opportunity as the number of people switching to digital on-demand and live TV services by cord-cutting is rapidly increasing.
The recent trends in the streaming services industry are framing partnerships, including an extreme competition to be at par with others, the back-pedal of content providers to launch direct-to-consumer offerings, the existing infrastructure and consumer relationships, and the lack of differentiation among OTT services are among larger players.
A decade ago, the Streaming service was a three-horse race between Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu. But with recent OTT video streaming platforms coming up with innovative and new product offerings to enhance customer engagement and expand their subscriber base, the new talk of the town is a player who had been in the town for a while but remained unnoticed is Sony’s on-demand streaming platform Crackle.
There are numerous streaming video services that offer fresh content; however, most of them have something in common, they will either cost you a good chunk of money through a monthly subscription fee, or you will have to plug in a cable or satellite login to access some or all of its content which means more burden on your monthly expenses.
Crackle is the rare exception to the rule mentioned above, Sony’s service is 100% free, and it has been that way for a decade now. The OTT streaming service provider, Crackle doesn’t have the vast selection of Netflix or the speedy TV episode turnarounds of Hulu, but it’s fully ad-supported, and it won’t cost you a thing.
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A few decades ago, when cable TV was free, and you only had to buy a television. However, the actual programming was paid for by means of advertisements during shows. In the modern era of streaming, that option is becoming rare, with services like Netflix charging a monthly subscription and, in the case of Hulu, some still show ads on top of that, there is only one streaming service that brings back the spirit of ad-supported entertainment, and that is Crackle.
The joint venture between Sony Pictures Television and Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, Crackle is a US-based free OTT video streaming platform. It has a huge library that consists of original content as well as programming acquired from other companies.
Crackle TV is an absolutely free streaming service owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment Company. It was launched in 2007 as an online library of Sony content, but Crackle is now making a big move on original programming, with a number of upcoming shows that include gritty tech thriller StartUp, a ten-part reboot of the Guy Ritchie movie Snatch, and Bryan Cranston-produced comedy Tightrope.
The Competencies of Crackle
- It has been around for years:
Starting with Jerry Seinfeld’s web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee that earned its 3rd Emmy nomination this year, Crackle has been creating fresh content since 2012. There is also a stop-motion animation series SuperMansion starring Bryan Cranston as an aging superhero who struggles stay relevant.
It is honest to say that Crackle’s non-comedy content has not quite popped, 2013’s Chosen was it’s first original drama. Previous year’s great Crackle release was their first hour-long drama, The Art of Mor, which was set in the world of high-end auction houses, starring Dennis Quaid and Kate Bosworth. Nevertheless, the reviews were unanimated and buzzed minimal.
- You can see some decent talent in its originals
The StartUp is a dusty thriller, built over the launch of a Bitcoin-Esque virtual currency called GenCon. Martin Freeman stars as an FBI agent investigating a tech startup that was financed by dirty money, and the OC’s Adam Brody makes his return to television as a good-guy financier caught in between a very bad deal.
- Its ads are rigid
As suggested by Hulu, there is no ad-free option on Crackle. This turns out to be an important deviation from its rivals-Netflix, and Amazon is fully subscription-based and ad-free, whereas Hulu offers either ad-free viewing or little ads at various price points.
- It won’t burden your pocket
Crackle would cost you absolutely nothing. It is an entirely free streaming video service that is entirely supported by video ads that pop up before and in-between content you are watching.
While Crackle doesn’t charge you anything as a subscription fee, it does tip you for creating an account or logging in with Facebook, you will supposedly see lesser commercials overall and can save progress on a movie or show and tag shows as favorites to be watched at a later time.
Thinking how to access Crackle- here it is.
Crackle is relatively everywhere. You can easily watch it on your computer through your web browser. Also, you can access Crackle with ease on your phones and tablets irrespective of whether you have an iOS or Android device, a Windows Phone, or even a Kindle tablet.
Even if you have streaming devices like Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, and Chromecast, or smart TVs from Sony, Samsung, LG, and Vizio, you can get Crackle at your tip.
The latest non-Nintendo consoles, including the PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation Vita, and the discontinued PlayStation TV, all have it. It is no wonder to see so much PlayStation support, given that Sony owns the service.
Devices that support Crackle
Crackle TV can be accessed from your web browsers such as Internet Explorer, Chrome, or Safari browser. It can also be streamed to your television with the help of several devices which as follows:
- Apple TV
- Xbox 360
- Xbox One
- Samsung Connected TV, and it’s Blu-ray players
- PlayStation 4
- PlayStation 3
- LG connected TV
- Visio connected TV
- Fire TV
Above are a few sources. For your mobile phone, you can easily download the app from the play store or Applestore. Crackle TV supports several smart devices. The Crackle TV app runs on iPhone,iPad, and Android devices.
If you are one who typically don’t expect much from a free streaming service, Crackle TV will surely change your perception. It is far better internet TV than that already existing in the market.
Why you should give up your Netflix subscription
The biggest asset of Crackle Tab is that it is an absolutely free video streaming service that is entirely compatible with video ads running at the starting and in between of the content you are viewing.
It does not have any premium option, which ultimately allows it to opt for non-commercial purposes by bringing a few more dollars a month to your expenses.
Now the point is, what type of ads can you expect in Crackle?
Let’s consider, if you are watching a television series, you generally see ads 30 seconds before and then the usual commercial ads in the middle of the series. At first sight, it can scare you when you see “As 1 to 8”; however, most of the time, you will see short commercials that generally last for 2-3 minutes.
The same applies when you are watching a movie, a commercial of 30 seconds before and in the middle of the content is normally encountered.
Crackle has a couple of original shows and the random and standout original movie.
Crackle seems to make monthly up-gradation, removing some of the movies and TV shows while occasionally updating the lineup. However, the service’s original series always stick around. And you will see a countdown note on the listing page if something is about to be deleted.
Crackle layout a sufficiently good user experience overall. Its web app makes it easy to come across the latest content and enables viewers to look for movies and shows by genre or through an alphabetical list.
Crackle’s search bar recommends similar shows and series from its library when it doesn’t contain a particular search by the user. In addition to the regular alternatives of Comedy, Drama, and Action, the service also offers several organized listing such as “Stream Me Up, Scotty” and “From Book To Screen.”
The moment you discover the content you were looking for, you can keep track of it by opting “Add to Watch Later” button. Also, you can build your watchlists or search for new shows, and movies that others have included in readymade recommended collections.
However, the absence of HD content negatively impacts the Crackle user experience. And there are, of course, frequent commercials that play before and in the middle of movies and TV shows. The great news is that the ads are not unduly excessive and are less frequently than regular cable broadcasts or other free services.
As Crackle is entirely free, there is a need for password sharing, and it doesn’t enable you to download content for offline viewing.
Look at the two sides of the coin- the final call.
Look the two side of the coin-final call
Take it or Leave it
We generally do not expect much from a free service but Crackle TV is an exception. It is one of the popular and better internet TV networks among several networks out there, which is always available at your tip. You can often check in to see what’s new shows and movies are available. If you are a cord-cutter then this is perfect a tool to have in your arsenal.
An engineer and a tech enthusiast, driven by curiosity.