Crackle streaming service logo

New TV and movie streaming services are cropping up every day. Yet, free and legal streaming is still a rarity – so much so that it seems too good to be true. But Crackle is a reality! This ad-supported streaming service is available completely free of charge in the US.

If you haven’t heard of Crackle until now, however, it might be because it has changed its name several times – first Grouper, then Crackle, followed by Sony Crackle. Nowadays, it has once again been rebranded as Crackle under new majority ownership by Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment.

Read more: The best video streaming services

Crackle has improved over the years and currently offers a good variety of well-known movies and TV shows. So, if you are looking for something fun and free to do this weekend, it’s worth checking out Crackle. We will also go over its pros and cons, and recommend some content that is worth watching.

You can sign up for a free Crackle account at the link below. Unfortunately, there are no ad-free versions in the US at this time, so there’s no premium tier to this service.

How to stream movies and shows on Crackle

Sony Crackle home page

One of the great things about Crackle is that you can stream movies and shows on a huge variety of devices. You can access it on your PC through the service’s website and on your tablet or smartphone via its Android or iOS app. It’s even available on a variety of smart TVs and game consoles, including PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Amazon Fire TV, and more.

Read also: 17 best websites to legally watch free movies online

The interface is minimalist and easy to use. On the front page of the website and mobile app, you will find featured films and shows, but you can also sort by recently added as well by genre or alphabetically. Among the movies and TV series, you will also find trailers and clips.

As previously mentioned, all of these are available for your viewing pleasure free of charge if you live in the US. You don’t even have to make an account on Crackle. However, we recommend signing up anyway. Having an account allows you to create a Watch Later list, and you won’t have to repeatedly enter your birth date when trying to watch R-rated movies.

Crackle movie and show selection

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Credit: Crackle

If everything so far sounds good, you might be asking yourself if the content on the platform is great too. While by no means rivaling the vast libraries of the likes of Netflix and Hulu, Crackle does have some surprisingly good content. The streaming service has hundreds of feature-length movies and over 170 series you can choose from.

Crackle content is regularly rotated – some films and shows are removed, while new ones are added, but there is something for everyone. You can also discover some cool content that you would rarely find anywhere else.

Does Crackle have any original content?

There are a few movies and series that are available only on the service. They include shows and movies like the following:

  • StartUp – A drama that centers on a Miami startup company that gets involved in organized crime. It stars Martin Freeman, Adam Brody, and Ron Perlman.
  • Rob Riggle’s Ski Master Academy – TV and movie comedian Rob Riggle stars in this spoof. He plays a has-been action movie star who opens a watersport academy. 
  • Office Uprising – A horror comedy about office workers who turn into zombie-like maniacs after tasting a new sports energy drink.
  • Playing with Power: The Nintendo Story – A docuseries about the origins of Nintendo, starting all the way back in the 1800s.
  • Robert the Bruce – A historical action movie centered on the king of Scotland in the 14th century.
  • Spides – A sci-fi series about a woman who wakes up from a coma in Berlin. She has no memory of who she once was, but she soon figures out there’s a non-human threat that could kill her and everyone around her.

What about the ads?

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Credit: Crackle

So, there has to be a catch, right? As previously mentioned, Crackle is ad-supported in the US. While there’s nothing wrong with this business model – we’ve seen it conquer the app market – some users will be inevitably annoyed by the frequency of the ads.

Ad breaks are as common as those on TV, but the commercials themselves are often shorter. You will usually have to sit through a 30-second advertisement before your movie or episode of choice begins. This will be followed by 2-3 shorter ads if you are watching a show, but up to nine if you are watching a film longer than 1h 30 min.

Ads are an inconvenience, but not a dealbreaker since the service is completely free.

However, we wouldn’t really consider this a major con – more of an inconvenience. After all, there are paid subscription streaming services that also serve advertisements, while Crackle is free. The only major annoyance comes from the fact that ads can interrupt crucial movie moments very abruptly. 

Of course, Crackle’s business model also means that you cannot download movies or shows for later offline viewing. While that might be disappointing to some, it’s understandable considering the service relies on ads for its revenue and currently has no premium, ad-free version in the US.

At the end of the day the commercials are worth sitting through – Crackle is a convenient streaming service, which might not replace Netflix and Hulu for you, but it can definitely fill some gaps and provide you with hours of entertainment. Plus, it’s completely free so there’s no reason not to try it out!

Watch Crackle for free!