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 - Get Report), Netflix (NFLX - Get Report), Amazon (AMZN - Get Report) 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