NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- I got a Roku player last month. For want of a better phrase, it's a poor man's Apple (AAPL) TV. You hook it up to your television. Then, instantly, you can stream all sorts of programming, sourced from apps I have never heard of to Pandora (P), Netflix (NFLX), Amazon (AMZN) instant video. Not to mention the offerings from all of the major professional sports leagues and most of the major cable networks. It's really an excellent device.
Because I like old sitcoms, I immediately hit up the apps that I know have them. As a Prime member, I can catch practically every episode of Cheers via Amazon for free. Amazon also has The Three Stooges, but they charge $1.99 per episode. My wife would kill me if I dropped hundreds to watch the entire catalog. Sony's (SNE) Crackle delivers the Stooges for free. My experience with Crackle, however, was short-lived.
I have always wondered why the free service has not been more of a challenger to Netflix and Hulu. Now, I know why. It's just not very good.While I do not mind the ads that run during programming, I am not a fan of how they randomly appear during the middle of a poke in the eye from Moe or a nyuk, nyuk, nyuk from Curly. I can't seem to put my figure on it, but Crackle feels clunkly; it's just not as sharp and seamless as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. I guess you get what you pay for. I have never wondered why Amazon does not provide serious competition to Netflix. As I have noted earlier on TheStreet, it's not Jeff Bezos' intention to compete with the big dogs in any space, be it Apple in gadgets or Netflix in streaming. All Bezos aims to do is find as many ways as possible to extract money from your pocket and make you succumb to Amazon's ecosystem. Hulu, however, operates from a different strategically competitive position, as I see the landscape. In case you did not know, Hulu ownership splits between its employees, Providence Equity Partners and old guard media members Disney (DIS), News Corp. (NWSA) and Comcast's (CMCSA) NBC Universal. Bloomberg reports that Providence Equity is selling it's 10% stake to the big three.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
24/7 market commentary from Jim Cramer and 20+ veteran Wall Street gurus. Get access to the latest trading ideas on stocks, options, and ETFs as well as a real-time forum to see the pros exchanging their investment ideas.
- Jim Cramer + 20 Wall Street pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Real-time trading forum
- Actionable trade ideas
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass + 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV