Netflix may be the most popular content streaming option out there, but you’d be surprised at all the other options that are available to meet your viewing needs. Not everybody wants to pay for Netflix’s services, which is where Crackle jumps into the picture. It’s a multi-platform video entertainment network and studio that distributes full length, uncut, movies, TV shows and original programming that’s owned by Sony and it’s free, but is it worth canceling your Netflix membership over…?

Background

We’re sure you know the story on Netflix by now. Put here’s the short version: It’s the most popular disc and online streaming service out there. Now for Crackle, which you might not know as much about, so here it goes: it’s one of the fastest growing entertainment destinations that offers full-length movies, TV shows and OG series from loads of genres. Created in 2007, Crackle bases their operations out of Sony Pictures Entertainment’s studio lot in L.A. (might be a plus in Content).

User Friendly

With Netflix, all you need to do first is sign up for your membership account online via your computer or through one of its compatible devices like Xbox 360 and more (see below). From there, you choose what membership plan you want, set up your billing info and you’re on your way to watching movies and TV shows to your heart’s content. Easy right?

So with Crackle, it’s pretty much the same thing. You have the choice to register or not, but if you do, you can personalize your viewing experience a bit more. But you can start watching content without registering. You get online and click on the “Register” button, enter all your info and then join! Once you sign up you can begin editing your page, likes, preferences and all that.

Winner: Tie!

Compatible Devices

Netflix is practically compatible with everything out there right now! Here’s the rundown: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, iOS devices, some Android phones and tablets, Windows phone, TiVo or Roku, D-Link, and various home theater systems from all the big names (think Panasonic, LG, Sony, Samsung and Insignia). One cool feature from Netflix is that you can easily switch from device to device with no problems, while still leaving off just where you left off on the last device.

The list for Crackle is not as extensive as Netflix’s, but it’s pretty decent. Crackle works with iOS devices with content currently available on Sprint TV, T-Mobile, Verizon VCAST and VuClip. The following Sony devices also work: Blu-Ray Player, Bravia TV, Dash, Internet TV, Network Media Player, Streaming Player and PlayStation 3. But it’s also available through Boxee, Google TV, Logitech Revue, Roku, Sezmi, Tivo, Verizon FiOS and Xbox. There’s actually select programming available on Google Chrome, Hulu, YouTube and other partners.

Winner: Netflix just has more compatible devices.

Titles

Crackle has about 250 full-length movies and episodes from about 50 TV Shows. However, they add about 10 of each every month. Not too much variety…yet. Netflix is a totally different story. There’s so many titles on Netflix, you can get lost in the mix! There’s more than 100,000 movies and TV shows on DVD and Blu-ray (even unrated and NC-17 ones) for their disc rental program and then tens of thousands of titles for streaming that includes TV shows, movies, HD options and more.

Winner: Netflix has practically everything under the sun!

Membership Perks

With Netflix, you can sign up for a free trial and you can personalize your user experience. With Crackle, you don’t even have to register to start watching its free content. But if you do register, you can subscribe for updates when new content has been added to your favorite genres or shows; create a list of favorite videos; save your viewing history; and set up queues of videos to help organize your favorite videos, or to share those videos with friends and other Crackle users. You can create multiple queues for all your interests.

Winner: Crackle offers loads of personalization options.

Content

Since Crackle is owned by Sony, its content consists primarily of Sony’s library of movies and TV shows. But, it also features original content and licenses movies from Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures and Screen Gems. It also added Animax to its lineup for USA and Canada last year. It also has original content, including “Trenches” and “The Bannen Way.” Oh, and then there’s live streaming events that have included the This Is It movie preview and a concert event for Wyclef Jean.

Netflix has also landed some huge deals (which is why they have so much content). They have deals with FOX, CBS, NBC, BBC, ABC, Sony, DreamWorks Animation (starts in 2013) and NBC Universal.

Winner: Netflix still has more titles, which provides it the edge on this one.

Speed of Service

Since you watch online for Crackle, speed usually depends on your Internet. Same for Netflix if you get the streaming content membership option. But Netflix does recommend that a minimum speed of 500 kbps (0.5 MB) for its users to get maximum results. With Crackle, if your connection is less than 200kbps (kilobytes per second)/0.2mbps (megabytes per second) it will be difficult to watch their videos.

Winner: Tie

Quality

For Crackle, content is best viewed with: Internet Explorer 7.0 or above, Firefox 3 (any browsers outside of these are not supported by Crackle); JavaScript and Cookies must be enabled; Adobe Flash Player 10.0.22 or above; and with Microsoft Windows XP SP2 or higher, Microsoft Windows Vista, Macintosh OS X.  There’s no HD with Crackle, but you do get it with Netflix and it can stream 1080p video.

Winner: Netflix has HD.

Limitations

Crackle is free but it comes at a price. You have to have ads when you’re watching content, which can totally bother many. Then there’s the issue with limited content. Netflix doesn’t have the most recent movies for its streaming content services, so you’ll have to wait a while to watch new releases via your Netflix account.

Winner: Netflix has no ads!

Price

Crackle is FREE! Totally, 100% FREE, but it does have ads. Netflix has multiple pricing options for its membership. For $7.99 a month, you can EITHER get unlimited streaming movies OR unlimited one-disc rental (you can get two disc for $11.99). If you want the luxury of both services, you’ll fork out $15.98 a month and then if you want Blu-ray discs, that’s an extra $2 a month.

Winner: Crackle…free is free!

Overall Winner

Yeah, free is good and all, but for real movie enthusiasts, Netflix is the way to go. There’s so many titles available, that you can watch anything you want. For a quick fix, Crackle might do the trick (if they have what you even want to watch), but if you want more from your movie experience, Netflix will provide that for you.










Kristie Bertucci

 
Kristie Bertucci is an L.A.-based writer, who can't live without her MacBook Pro. When she's not writing, she's either reading or shopping (online, of course) and loves lazy days so she can catch up on her DVR-recorded shows and movies. She's definitely a Mac girl, she loves music and is currently on a mission to to have an insane and enviable iTunes library.