With Netflix ostensibly holding dominion over the streaming world, it’s no wonder that challengers will inevitably rise up and vie for the throne. Crackle is Sony Pictures Entertainment’s subsidiary brand, and has made a name for itself as an entirely free streaming platform. But the heart of the matter is simple: which of these two streaming services is worth your time, and which one is the ultimate victor? We’ve prepared a side-by-side analysis of both brands to get a better look.
For many people, this is the deciding factor in their choice of streaming service. Netflix has made a name for itself with its original content programming, such as Orange is the New Black and House of Cards. Most of its series have been critically-acclaimed and garnered major awards. In addition, Netflix tends to partner with specific franchises and licensing agreements, which means that it’s a bit hit-or-miss in regards to finding your favorite series or films.
Crackle has streaming agreements with Legendary Pictures, MGM, Miramax, Warners Bros., and many other companies, which frees up a lot of franchises for instant viewing. Crackle has also produced some of its own series, such as Extraction. Much of the content available on both sites is the same in regards to television, but Crackle has a greater selection of older films and sitcoms. If you want to stay up-to-date with primetime series, however, Netflix is the optimal choice.
To start, it should be noted that Crackle is 100% free. That’s right. No premium service, no DVD rental, no HD upgrade fee, no installation costs. This is also the service’s main draw, distinguishing it from Hulu and other competitors.
Netflix begins at $7.99 per month after a free trial, but the price scales up as the number of viewing screens, devices, and additional options (such as DVD rentals and ultra-high-definition formats) are added to the subscription. Netflix caps out at $43.99 with its eight-DVD renting policy.
While both sites are designed with an appealing aesthetic, Netflix provides more content on first glance, and also has a better system of providing recommendations to the viewer. Crackle’s interface works well across all of its device platforms and mirrors its competition’s streaming capability, since it can be used on nearly any console or gadget that is Netflix-ready. The downside to Crackle’s interface is that it often pauses episodes or films to play commercials to the viewer, preventing full-on binge watching and reminding the viewer of the drawbacks of “freedom.” Netflix allows for totally uninterrupted watching, and even provides a more streamlined “next episode” system.
Netflix has the ability to rent out DVDs that are not on its streaming catalog, if the viewer has this service on their subscription. They also provide access to more varied and contemporary content, but with the obvious drawback of a monthly fee. Crackle’s enduring draw is its ever-free model of content, which is fairly novel in an age of recurring fees and upgrade costs.
Although both candidates have an impressive collection of films and television series, Crackle is held back by its lack of red-hot content, as well as its insistence on advertisement-driven free services. Netflix may charge significantly more, but its streaming lineup and added rental benefits outweigh the cost.