Wednesday Sony announced that its Crackle streaming video service has expanded to Sony-based products including the PlayStation 3 console, Roku streaming players, Blu-ray players, and BRAVIA HDTVs. This means owners can stream full-length movies and TV episodes for free (like Hulu) onto qualified devices, but must endure the accompanying paid advertisements.
"Crackle's ad-supported service provides consumers with a uniquely curated experience that includes hundreds of Hollywood movies in genres including action, comedy, crime, horror, thriller and sci-fi, plus thousands of TV episodes and award-winning Crackle original programming - all of which can be accessed online, via mobile, and now, on a broad selection of connected devices," Sony said in a press release.
Unlike the subscription-based Netflix and Hulu Plus apps, Crackle must be accessed on the PlayStation 3 via the console's lackluster Internet browser. Users simply click the Crackle link located on the home page to pull up a list of movies, television episodes, originals and Crackle Collections. At the time of this writing, Crackle's list of full TV episodes is slim at best, offering older sitcoms like Benson, The Jeffersons, Good Times, Soap, VIP, Charlie's Angels and so on. The list also includes tons of anime ranging from Astro Boy to Blood+.
On the movie front, Crackle serves up a slightly better offering with I Know What You Did Last Summer, The Da Vinci Code, Snatch, Ghostbusters, Big Daddy, Ultraviolet and numerous others. The Collections section strings similar titles together into one selectable batch; for example, "Deadly Games" contains The Da Vinci Code, I Know What You Did Last Summer, La Femme Nikita, 8MM, 88 Minutes, Arlington Road, and dozens more.
"Crackle is the best single source of ad-supported Hollywood films and television series on the internet," said Berger. "By making our extensive collection of content available on these platforms, we're bringing an unparalleled viewing experience directly to consumers through their internet-enabled devices."
Sony added that titles are refreshed frequently featuring approximately 20 new titles per month from Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures, Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics. Crackle on PlayStation 3 and Google TV is available to audiences in the U.S. and Canada. Crackle on Roku, Sony's BRAVIA, Streaming Player and Blu-ray devices is available in the U.S. only.
At the time of this writing, Crackle is enduring some heavy traffic, so be patient. PlayStation 3 owners may want to wait out the rush and check out SOE's just-launched Free Realms instead. This free-to-play MMORPG originally launched on the PC back in April 2009, but has opened its doors to PS3 gamers as of Wednesday. The download is on the PlayStation Store and weighs over 600 MB.