Franklin McMahon /
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Crackle app for Android brings entertainment
Crackle is Sony Pictures Entertainment's answer to streaming mobile TV for the masses. It has gained some good traction in recent months and now debuts on the Android platform. The service is focused on offering full-length movies, TV shows and original series, with a marketing edge of being a bit more hip and trendy than leading contenders. Beginning in mid 2007, Crackle has slowly and surely expanded its availability over the past few years to reach into most sectors of online, mobile TV and streaming TV. Crackle can be seen on mobile options such as Sprint, AT&T, mobiTV, VCast, Vuclip, T-Mobile and FLO TV. On the Web, it can be accessed via Crackle.com as well as Hulu, YouTube, TV.com, Dailymotion and several more. It is already part of streaming options such as Google TV, Bravia, ROKU, Tivo and BOXEE.
Movies are a mix of classics and popular options from the past several years. "Ghostbusters," "Jersey Girl," "Stranger than Fiction," "Bad Boys" and more provide a sense of the offerings. Like most networks, movies come and go depending on licensing and length of contract, and Crackle does a good job of letting you know when certain movies will roll off, your "last chance" to see them. TV shows covered are mostly obscure with the most notable one being "Seinfeld," but there are some classics on board such as "Married with Children" and "Newsradio." It is hard to complain about the selection since it's free.
The Android app offers some neat features for searching and sorting, you can look through new releases that are featured, scan through the most popular, as well as see what content has been recently added. Best of all, you can queue up the shows and movies you want to work through and watch them at your leisure. All of this works best once you sign up for a Crackle account; you can arrange a bit of Netflix-like organization to keep your favorites at the top. The app works off Wi-Fi and 3G, and is a quick download.
While Crackle is setting itself up to compete again other mobile TV options such as Hulu PLUS it has some distinct differences. Crackle is free, as in no cost whatsoever, but you do get what you pay for. While Hulu is aggressively working to expand and slipping in ads as well as charging for premium access, it may have more of an advantage via a bigger and wider stable of content. Sony can pull from its archives, but since the revenue plan is a little unclear, it seems Crackle will be made up of a sort of limited amount of content. But again, Crackle has been gaining major traction and the free option is compelling. Crackle may be heading to the top before we know it.