Peacock is a video streaming service from NBCUniversal that launched in July 2020.
Peacock, which is now the streaming home of The Office, is one of the only video streaming services to offer both a free tier and premium subscription options.
The free tier, which is ad-supported, has more than 13,000 hours of current season series, movies and TV classics as well as live streaming news and sports channels. The premium subscription options include original series and more than 20,000 hours of total content. The prices vary based on how long you’re willing to commit to a subscription and how many ads you’re willing to put up with.
It’s a pricing strategy that allows NBC to compete with streaming stalwarts like Netflix by promising a lower monthly bill. It also has options that are cheap enough that Netflix customers could consider just adding the service to their streaming expenses each month.
For this article, I downloaded Peacock and explored the streaming service to help you decide if it’s worth a try as a new entertainment option.
Table of Contents
- What Is Peacock?
- How Can I Get Peacock?
- What TV Series and Movies Are on Peacock?
- Original Content on Peacock
- User Experience with Peacock
- Final Thoughts
What Is Peacock?
Peacock is a video streaming service from NBCUniversal. It has both a free tier and paid subscription tiers. It features content from NBC classics like Saturday Night Live and The Office in addition to a good deal of original content.
Reboots of popular series such as Saved by the Bell and Punky Brewster are part of the “original content” offering from Peacock.
There also are live streaming channels for sports and entertainment.
You may be wondering why NBCUniversal chose to call it Peacock. That’s a nod to NBC’s classic peacock logo.
With streaming now considered to be the “next frontier” for many traditional television content producers, it makes sense that NBC would want to keep that iconic branding attached to the project while creating some differentiation between the traditional broadcast network and the new streaming service.
How Can I Get Peacock?
Peacock is available for free download on most smartphones, streaming devices, tablets and some smart TVs. You can consume some Peacock content at no charge, while other aspects of the streaming service require a paid subscription.
NBCUniversal offers both free and subscription-level streaming for Peacock. When signing up for the streaming service, you’ll have a choice of three subscription tiers:
Peacock Free is the free service that includes ad-supported access to live streams and 13,000 hours of on-demand content. There is no credit card required. All you need is an email and password to sign up. This is a bold offering that targets commercial-based advertisement as the primary source of revenue.
Peacock Premium has both a monthly ($4.99) and annual rate available ($49.99). Select Xfinity and Comcast customers receive this level of subscription for free. This price level includes a small amount of advertising. In my experience, that was as little as a five-second mini-commercial at the beginning of a TV episode. The premium option offers more than 20,000 hours of content, including all of Peacock’s original content, as well as access to live sports like the English Premier League.
Peacock Premium Ad-Free
Peacock Premium Ad-Free is the highest subscription tier for the service. At $9.99 per month or $99.99 annually, you’ll get all the perks of Peacock Premium without the annoyance of advertising. If you’re already receiving the Premium service free of charge, you can upgrade to this without paying the full price. Per NBC, “Premium customers can upgrade to an ad-free experience for an additional $5.00 per month, or any customer can purchase the ad-free experience directly for $9.99 per month.”
Discounts and Free Trials
Peacock has a seven-day free trial period.
It also offers discounted subscription rates from time to time. These are promotional and temporary. An example: As a part of a pre-launch sale, NBCUniversal offered a 40% discount on annual subscriptions. That dropped the cost of Premium from $49.99 to $29.99 and Premium Ad-free from $99.99 to $79.99.
You can access Peacock content from the following devices:
- Xfinity Flex
- Comcast’s X-series cable boxes
- Cox’s Contour Box or Stream Player
- Amazon Fire TV (added June 2021)
- Android TV
- Apple TV
- Roku (added in September 2020)
- Google Chromecast
- LG Smart TV
- Vizio Smart TV
- XBox One
- Android and Apple mobile and tablet devices
- Windows and Mac operated computers
You can find the latest information on compatible devices for Peacock here.
What TV Series and Movies Are on Peacock?
With the extensive library of NBC television programming and Universal films at the service’s disposal, there is an exciting list of popular content available via Peacock.
One of the service’s biggest draws is that it is the exclusive streaming home of popular NBC comedy The Office. All nine seasons are available to Premium and above subscribers, while free users can access the first five seasons.
In addition to the library of The Office, Peacock also has exclusive content from the show including deleted scenes, extended episodes and behind-the-scenes insights.
Here’s a look at some of the television content that is part of Peacock’s offerings:
- The Office
- Parks & Recreation
- Saturday Night Live
- Will & Grace
- 30 Rock
- Friday Night Lights
- Downton Abbey
- King of Queens
- Everybody Loves Raymond
- The Law & Order franchises
- Two and a Half Men
- Murder, She Wrote
Late night content from Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers is also available through the service.
Two major NBC classics that are missing from Peacock are Seinfeld and Friends. Streaming rights to both popular 1990s television series have recently been acquired by Peacock competitors. Seinfeld can be found on Hulu (with a move to Netflix on the horizon), while Friends is now located on HBO Max.
There’s also a wide array of films available through Peacock including:
- The Bourne franchise
- Jurassic Park
- Forgetting Sarah Marshall
- American Psycho
- Reservoir Dogs
- The Big Lebowski
- The Blair Witch Project
- A collection of Alfred Hitchcock’s top films
Original Content on Peacock
In the fight for the cord-cutting market share, streaming services are hustling to create their own new content.
The network’s original content is available only to Peacock Premium subscribers.
Here is a rundown of some of the original content on the platform:
- Saved by the Bell: A reboot of the popular 1990s teen comedy features original series stars Mario Lopez (A.C. Slater) and Elizabeth Berkley (Jessie Spano).
- A.P. Bio: After two seasons on NBC, this classroom comedy starring Glenn Howerton and Patton Oswalt moves to the streaming service for Season 3.
- Battlestar Galactica: a reboot of the popular sci-fi series
- Girls5Eva: A Tina Fey-produced show about a one-hit-wonder 90s band getting back together
- Punky Brewster: a reboot of the popular 1980s sitcom
- Who Wrote That: a Saturday Night Live docu-series from creator Lorne Michaels
- Rutherford Falls: a comedy starring Ed Helms
- Straight Talk: a comedy featuring Rashida Jones and Jada Pinkett Smith
There also is original content from NBC late-night television stars Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers on the platform.
Friends star David Schwimmer stars in a Peacock original titled Intelligence.
Peacock also presents original content in the form of live streaming channels. This is where you’ll be able to find up-to-date news and sports content as well as some channels that feature popular NBCUniversal content.
The channel menu includes:
- NBC News Now
- SNL Vault
- Fallon Tonight
- Today: All Day
- Sky News
- The Office Shorts
- CNBC: Make It
- NBC Sports: Tokyo Olympics
- Seth Meyers Now
Sports on Peacock: 2021 Olympics
NBC, which has exclusive U.S. broadcast rights to the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, has decided to include Peacock in its coverage of the event.
The Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8, 2021. Peacock will have at least five live-stream channels dedicated to the event.
While the exact programming schedule for Peacock has not been announced, NBC executives tipped their hand recently by confirming the following events will stream live on Peacock:
- Women’s gymnastics
- Men’s gymnastics
- Every Team USA men’s basketball game
- Men’s and women’s 100-meter finals
NBC also announced that Peacock will stream four studio shows as a part of its 7,000+ planned hours of content through the 17-day event.
More Sports on Peacock
The Olympics aren’t the only live sports available on Peacock.
NBC also promotes live streaming action from several other sporting events throughout the year. Most of these require at least a Premium subscription level to enjoy.
English Premier League soccer games and NHL Stanley Cup playoff games have been featured on the service in recent months.
Here’s a quick look at some of the sporting events that get live coverage on Peacock:
- PGA and LPGA golf
- English Premier League soccer
- Track and Field
For the wrestling fans out there, Peacock also is home to exclusive WWE content including the most recent WrestleMania that was streamed live on the service.
User Experience with Peacock
For this review, I took advantage of my status as an Xfinity internet customer to access Peacock Premium free of charge on the Xfinity Flex device.
I found the interface to be very clean and quiet with the focus on easily searchable categories in a tile menu format.
Your options are pretty straightforward:
- Channels (where you can find the live streaming options)
- TV Shows
How Bad Are the Ads?
Since I was using the Peacock Premium product, my advertising experience was tolerable. For example, when I started an episode of Paramount’s popular series Yellowstone, I was subjected to just one five-second advertisement from State Farm at the beginning of the show.
If you’re watching a movie, you’re going to get more than just one commercial interruption.
Here’s a look at the streaming bar for The Bourne Identity, which has a run time of nearly two hours.
You’ll notice there are six dots on the streaming bar. Each of those indicates a break for advertisements. If you buy a premium subscription, you should see only a momentary pause in those places.
Final Thoughts on Peacock
Peacock entered a crowded streaming space in 2020. After a year in the market, there are reasons for NBCUniversal to be optimistic that it will enjoy long-term success.
First and foremost, the decision to make portions of Peacock free with the support of advertisements may be the biggest differentiator for this service.
Next, The Office has an extremely loyal following. Having the exclusive streaming rights to the Dunder Mifflin gang is going to be enough to get some people to give the service a trial run and consequently stick around.
Finally, Peacock is in the unique position of having both a major television network (NBC) and film producer (Universal) at its disposal. That gives the streaming service a head start on content and could lend it some staying power as the competition for streaming dollars grows increasingly competitive.
Will you be looking to add Peacock to your streaming options? Let us know what you think in the comments below!