RokuGuide Review: What is Crackle? According to Crackle's website FAQ, "Crackle, Inc. is a multi-platform video entertainment network and studio that distributes full length, uncut, movies, TV shows and original programming in our users’ favorite genres." And one of those platforms is the Roku, where you will find the Crackle channel.
Crackle doesn't offer it's full Web library on the Roku, but the Roku content is still pretty extensive. At the time of this review (June 2011), the Crackle channel offers 209 movies (vs. 275 on the Crackle website), 45 television series (vs. 102), and 47 original series (same as the website). All movies, television shows, and originals are provided as full, uncut presentations, and all are free. You will have to sit through a single short advertisement at the start of each video, and there are occasional commercial interruptions, but these are also short and fairly infrequent. The commercials are certainly less than you would experience on network television.
Movies are listed under six genres: action, comedy, horror, crime, sci-fi, and thriller. The Crackle content menu also includes a "featured" category and a "most popular" category, and allows you scroll through all movie titles if you don't want to browse a specific genre. If you want to preview a movie before watching the full film, or if you just want to rewatch highlights from a favorite, there are collections of clips from 76 movies. The movies eras offered are concentrated in the 80's, 90, and early 2000's. There are some newer and older films available, but the 50's, 60's, and 70's appear to be only a small percentage of those available.
Close to half of the television series are anime cartoons. Twenty are listed as anime, and several look to be of a similar genre. Toss in some unknown titles and you're left with just a few classic television shows. The only series that are highly recognizable are Barney Miller, Bewitched, Good Times, I Dream of Jeannie, Married with Children, News Radio, and Soap. Some other shows that may be recognizable are the Dilbert and Spiderman cartoons and The Dana Carvey Show. For some of the series, you can also watch "minisodes", which are similar to highlight clips of an episode, but put together in such a way that an entire half-hour show is condensed into less than five minutes. For more information on Crackle minisodes, read "Short Attention Span? Crackle TV Minisodes are for You" - unfortunately, many of the minisodes that were available when Crackle first came to Roku are no longer available on the Roku.
Originals is more television-style series. Subject matter includes horror (Buried Alive), (Urban Wolf), action and adventure (Best Ranges Competition), talk (Anytime with Bob Kushell), documentary (American Dreamers), satire (True Colors), comedy (That Guy), game show (The Tester), reality (I've Got Skills), and more.
Content is laid out well using the newer grid style, although I would like to see all of those anime shows moved out of the television category and perhaps put into their own section. The addition of more classic television shows that are currently offered on the website would be a great addition to the Crackle lineup.
The Crackle stream has been very reliable for me, and picture quality is high. Remember, though, that those Bewitched episodes from the 1960's aren't going to come through in HD. The infrequent commercials are an acceptable tradeoff for free content. Crackle is a great addition to the Roku Channel Store and one worth having on your channel lineup if you want free movies and television-style series.
Developer's Channel Description: FREE Movies on Demand: Uncut and Unedited. Crackle delivers full-length Hollywood movies and TV series in the genres you care about most: Action, comedy, crime, horror, thriller, and sci-fi. More info: www.crackle.com.
--RokuGuide Reviewed on June 12, 2011
CHANNEL STORE CATEGORY: Movies & TV