Sony Crackle review: The free way to stream hit TV shows and movies

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Sony Crackle review: The free way to stream hit TV shows and movies
Image Credit: Dreamstime/Sony Crackle
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Sony Crackle is a streaming service that provides a free alternative for binge-watchers who love to catch up on TV shows and movies but don’t want to pay $100 a year or more for Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime Video.

Crackle, like Pluto TV and The Roku Channel, lets you stream entertainment at no cost if you can put up with some ads.

RELATED: The best live TV streaming plans and deals right now

Sony Crackle review: What you need to know about the free streaming service 

I’ve already reviewed Pluto TV and The Roku Channel — which I continue to watch occasionally — so I decided to spend some time with Sony Crackle to see what it has to offer.

Read on for my review and the things you need to know before you start streaming…

How do I sign up for Sony Crackle? 

Sony Crackle is free to join. I signed up in just a couple of minutes using the “Register” link on its website. All I had to do was enter my name, email, password, date of birth and gender.

As a second option, Crackle will let you sign up for the service by connecting your Facebook account.

What’s on Sony Crackle? 

Sony Crackle features a selection of original shows, which is something I didn’t expect from a free streaming service. There are comedies, dramas and even an animated series, but I can’t say that I found a new favorite show.

In addition to that original programming, you’ll find a bunch of TV shows and movies that were popular back in the day.

Don’t expect full seasons of those hit TV shows. For example, I saw about 10 episodes of “Seinfeld,” the second season of “Who’s the Boss?” and only a handful of “Community” episodes.

Crackle says it’s always adding and exchanging programming. Here’s a sample of what I found to stream in August 2018:

Originals 

  • Chosen
  • Issues
  • Snatch
  • The Oath
  • SuperMansion

Comedy

  • 227
  • Community
  • Seinfeld
  • Dr. Ken
  • Joey
  • Charlie’s Angels
  • NewsRadio
  • Walker, Texas Ranger
  • The Steve Harvey Show

Movies 

  • 50 First Dates
  • Buried Alive
  • The Calling
  • The Death and Life of Bobby Z
  • The Exorcist
  • Short Circuit
  • The People vs. Larry Flynt
  • Takers
  • Money Train
Image credit: Dreamstime

Are there a lot of advertisements? 

Like Pluto TV and The Roku Channel, Crackle is supported by advertising. That’s how it’s free. But the number of ads is generally less than traditional ad-supported linear TV.

I sat down and watched an episode of the 1980s sitcom “Who’s the Boss?” to record the number of ads. Here’s how it went:

  • 30-second ad before the show
  • Opening credits and theme song
  • Another 30-second ad
  • Good portion of the show
  • 1:45 of ads
  • Another good chunk of the show
  • 1:15 more ads
  • Final moment of the show and credits

Episodes of most sitcoms are about 22 minutes, which allows for eight minutes of commercials in a 30-minute time slot. At four minutes, Crackle has about half the commercials.

What devices are compatible with Sony Crackle? 

In addition to being available online at Crackle.com, you can take advantage of the service by using supported mobile devices, smart TVs, streaming players and gaming consoles.

Even if you’re new to streaming, you probably have at least one of these compatible devices in your home:

Mobile/tablets

  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • Android
  • Amazon Kindle

Smart TVs

  • Sony
  • Samsung
  • LG
  • Vizio

Streaming players

  • Roku
  • Apple TV
  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Google Chromecast

Gaming consoles 

  • PlayStation 3
  • PlayStation 4
  • PlayStation TV
  • Xbox One
  • Xbox 360

A few thoughts about Sony Crackle… 

Sony Crackle has a lot of in common with Pluto TV and The Roku Channel. All three of the streaming services offer free content that’s supported by advertising, but there are far fewer ads than regular TV.

Original programming sets Crackle apart from the others, but that’s only a plus if you can find a series that interests you.

For someone who is addicted to Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime Video, Crackle likely won’t be a replacement. However, it may have just enough content for those who don’t watch TV quite as often.

Since Crackle, Pluto TV and The Roku Channel are free, go ahead and try them all to see if they have something you want to watch.

Personally, I use free streaming services to supplement my AT&T WatchTV subscription, which is a $15 per month live TV streaming service with more than 30 channels such as A&E, CNN, HGTV, TBS, TLC and more.

Read more about that and compare your options in Clark’s guide to the best live TV streaming plans and deals!

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Michael Timmermann paid off his mortgage in two years. Now, he shares his money-saving tips on his blog, MichaelSaves.com.
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