Affiliate links on Android Authority may earn us a commission. Learn more.
What is Crackle? Everything you need to know about the free streaming service
There are now tons of streaming services available on your various connected devices. But streamers like Netflix are now charging in the ballpark of $20 a month to access their content, leading to a rise in competitors. Thankfully, we have also seen a rise in cheap and even completely free streaming services — this includes one of the oldest and better-known options, Crackle. What is Crackle, you might ask? Let’s dive further into what this free streaming service offers.
What is Crackle?
Simply put, Crackle is a free streaming service that has been around since 2004. If you haven’t heard of Crackle until now, it might be because it has changed its name several times over the years. It launched originally under the name Grouper until it changed its name to Crackle in 2007, a year after it was purchased by Sony Pictures. In 2018, Sony decided to rebrand the service as Sony Crackle. Nowadays, under new ownership by Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, it has once again been rebranded and is now simply Crackle.
The streaming service currently offers a solid variety of classic movies and television shows, along with new releases. It also offers a growing number of titles exclusive to Crackle. Best of all, it’s free to stream.
Is Crackle worth it?
Crackle is definitely worth signing up for if you are seeking premium streaming services on a budget. You do have to watch ads on occasion, but that is the trade-off for accessing such a service. While you won’t get access to the latest and greatest exclusive streaming shows and movies available on Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu, or Max, there’s a lot of content on Crackle to keep you entertained.
While the service is free to use without an account, we recommend signing up for a free Crackle account to unlock more features, including parental controls.
Where is Crackle available?
Crackle is currently only available in the United States and its territories.
The service has sadly been discontinued in Latin American and Canadian markets.
What devices does Crackle support?
The service is available on nearly every device you can think of. Here’s a list of the supported platforms:
- Smartphones and tablets:
- Streaming devices:
- Android TV (sticks, set-top boxes, and smart TVs)
- Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV (sticks, Fire TV cubs, and smart TVs)
- Apple TV set-top boxes, Roku (sticks, set-top boxes, and smart TVs)
- Comcast Xfinity X1 and Xfinity Flex set-top boxes
- Gaming consoles:
- PlayStation 5
- Smart TVs
- Web browsers
- Windows: Internet Explorer 10 +, Microsoft Edge 14 +, Chrome 39 +, Firefox 44 +
- Mac: Safari 8 +, Chrome 39 +, Firefox 44 +
- iPhone/iPad OS 11.2 + and Safari 11.2 (Chrome is currently not supported on iPhone/iPad)
- Android Mobile OS 4.4 + and Chrome Browser 39 +
Crackle user experience
If you know exactly which show you want to stream, you can just type it in the search bar.
You can also browse through the service’s various categories. There are two main ones: Movies and TV. There are also subcategories, including Sci-Fi and Fantasy, Crime Time, New on Crackle, and many more.
Crackle is completely free to enjoy, but there are a few extra features you can gain access to if you sign up for a free Crackle account. No credit card information is required. Once signed up, you can access these features:
- Watch Later: If you find a movie or show that you want to watch on the service but don’t have time to check it out immediately, don’t fret. You can select Watch Later on all Crackle content, and it will put it into a Watch Later queue for easier access later.
- Parental Controls: Some of Crackle’s content includes more mature themes. You may not want your kids to watch the service without supervision. You can go into your Crackle account settings and activate Parental Controls. You can then create a PIN code so only you can access the service.
- Captions: Signing up for an account also means you can now enable captions for movies and television shows. Just go into your profile settings and turn Captions on.
Movies and TV shows on Crackle
The wide selection of movies on Crackle tends to change frequently. Some movies only show up on the service for one month before going away temporarily.
The television show selection is a bit more stable, thankfully. Currently, you can watch shows like Third Rock from the Sun, The Real Ghostbusters, NewsRadio, Hell’s Kitchen, Charlie’s Angels, and many more.
Does Crackle have any original content?
There are a few movies and television series that are available only on Crackle. They include shows and movies like the following:
- The Oath: A group of crooked cops get arrested but are then offered a deal to avoid prison. They must accept an FBI undercover agent into their ranks to go after other criminals.
- 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.
- Playing with Power: The Nintendo Story: A docuseries about the origins of Nintendo — which can be traced back to 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.
Best alternatives to Crackle
Crackle is certainly not alone when it comes to free streaming services. Here’s a look at just a few of its rivals.
While Pluto TV has almost no original content, the channels it does offer include entertainment not typically available for free anywhere else. Overall, it’s an excellent alternative or supplement to Crackle.
Like Crackle, Tubi offers a lot of new and classic shows and movies to stream on-demand. The service is slowly ramping up its original content as well. Tubi also offers live local news from over 200 Fox TV affiliates across the United States.
Amazon’s free content streaming service, formerly known as IMDb TV but rebranded as Freevee in April 2022, has been gaining traction. You can watch great recent films on the service, along with terrific television shows like Lost or Mad Men for free. It’s also adding more original content like the UK spy drama Alex Rider, now in its second season. We expect more original shows to be made available over the next year. It’s definitely one to watch.
NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service lets you watch thousands of movies and television shows for free. It also has channels like Pluto TV that stream content including live news and more. For $4.99 a month or $49.99 a year, you can access even more movies and shows with limited ad breaks. You can also pay $9.99 a month or $99.99 a year to enjoy the expanded service ad-free. Peacock’s parent company, Comcast, also owns Xumo, a lesser-known but still worthy free streaming service.
Since the service is free, you can stream on as many devices as you want, all at once.
Unfortunately, Crackle’s video streams currently top out at HD 1080p resolution, so there’s no 4K support.
Yes, you can share your Crackle account with others. You can also set up a PIN so that your kids can’t access it without your permission.
Unfortunately, the service’s mobile apps do not currently support downloads of its shows. However, that feature could be added at a later date.