Pros / It’s free.
Cons / Video quality is poor.
Verdict / Sony Crackle gives you totally free access to well-known movies and some original content, but the selection isn’t very large and the video quality is spotty.
The best thing about Sony Crackle is that it’s free. Seriously. Totally, 100 percent free. There are TV shows and movies available for you to watch and you don’t have to pay a dime for them. You can create an account, but honestly you don’t have to if you don’t want to. With free streaming comes rather disappointing video quality though; everything we watched was grainy. But can you really complain if it’s free?
This service has a lot of lesser known TV shows other services don’t. We found “227” from the late 1980s as well as “All in The Family” and “Who’s the Boss?” Sony Crackle also makes original content, and even though much of it isn’t super well known, we were pleasantly surprised. "Snatch" is a crime drama starring Rupert Grint while "Startup," a gritty Miami-based drama, stars Martin Freeman, Adam Brody and Ron Perlman. To be honest, most of our reviewers hadn’t heard of the Crackle originals, but we sure did enjoy watching them.
Sony Crackle is lacking when it comes to other TV show content. There are a few options but this definitely isn’t the place to go if you’re looking for the latest episode of a show that is on cable right now. If your favorite show was canceled a while ago, you might be in luck. The availability of seasons in a series is also a little odd. For instance, only seasons 1, 5, 7, 8 and 9 of “Seinfeld” were available at the time of our review. One of our testers found this really annoying but said she would have totally used it in college. The movie selection is far better, but still not quite as all-encompassing as other websites like Netflix. We noticed a lot more animated movies and anime films than on other websites as well. If your favorite movie was made in the 1990s or early 2000s, there’s a good chance it’s available on Sony Crackle.
You can turn on parental controls but we’re not sure what they do. We were still able to watch the R-rated Sacha Baron Cohen movie "Ali G Indahouse." We also encountered some titles listed as available on the homepage that weren’t actually there once you clicked on them, but considering it’s free we weren’t heartbroken. If you can’t find what you want on the homepage you can search by title, actor or genre. One tester really didn’t like how many commercials she had to watch, and another didn’t like that there aren’t any descriptions for content that is available. For this it earned a C for ease of use.
This streaming service lacks the bells and whistles of some, but as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. There isn’t a “skip intro” button and there are commercials, but it’s not like you’re losing any money. There is a free app as well, but it has fewer than 3 stars in the app store at the time of our review. When we used the desktop video player we experienced some glitches as well, but if you’re in college or find yourself in a financial bind, Sony Crackle will work in a pinch.