Roku Scores Free Movies with Crackle

I love Hulu. About half of the programming that we watch at home comes from Hulu (and the other half from Netflix). This is because I have a computer right beside my HDTV, because my television doesn’t have digital tuners and I wanted to be able to record broadcast shows for time-shifting. A computer was the most practical DVR option at the time. But when we buy our next HDTV (which will have digital tuners so we can watch live sports programming), I may ditch the computer. Why? Because I will probably get most of what I want from a simple network media player, like a Roku box.

On Tuesday, Roku made that possibility a lot more likely. They announced a partnership with Crackle that will bring free streaming movies over the Internet. The Crackle channel will be ad-supported, and will also include full-length episodes of TV shows as well.

From the sounds of things, this will be a whole lot more like Hulu than Joost in terms of quality of the content. According to the release, the Crackle channel will get programming from Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures, Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics. Not all the movies will be moldy oldies, either. The press release listed the following examples: “The Da Vinci Code”, “21”, “Ghostbusters”, “Eight Millimeter”, “Ultraviolet”, and “A Few Good Men”. The TV show coverage is not nearly so broad as Hulu, but it has recent series including “Beast” and “Nurse Jackie”. You can check out Crackle online for yourself from your computer.

For me, I’d probably be tempted to pay the extra for a Hulu Plus subscription (also available on Roku) to get the wider selection, but if the Crackle channel catches fire, it could command enough revenue to beef up the offerings. It appears that it has hit the ground running on the Roku platform. From the press release:

“The updated Crackle channel was launched on Roku just over a week ago and has quickly become a top five installed and watched channel,” said Jim Funk, vice president of business development for Roku, Inc.

It’s probably worth a look.