Peacock Review: NBC Launches New TV Streaming Service

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Peacock is a video streaming service from NBCUniversal that launched for all users in July 2020.

In a move the company compared to music streaming leader Spotify, Peacock 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, which include original series and more than 20,000 hours of total content, vary in price based on length of commitment and amount of advertisements.

It’s a pricing strategy that gives NBC hopes of competing with the likes of streaming stalwarts like Netflix and Hulu, as well as new-wave subscription offerings from Disney, HBO and Apple.

Will Peacock be able to differentiate itself in a suddenly cluttered marketplace? In this article, Team Clark downloads and explores the streaming service to help you decide if it’s worth a try as a new entertainment option.

Table of Contents

What Is Peacock?

Peacock is a video streaming service from NBCUniversal. It has both a free tier and paid subscription tiers, and features content from NBC classics like Saturday Night Live and Law & Order, in addition to a good deal of original content.

Though not available just yet, reboots of popular series like Saved by the Bell and Punky Brewster are expected to be a part of the “original content” offering from Peacock. In total, there will be more than 15,000 hours of content available on Peacock.

You may be wondering why NBCUniversal chose to call it Peacock. That’s a nod to the classic peacock-themed logo developed in the early days of NBC’s television broadcasting.

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?

After a soft launch in April 2020 that was available only to Comcast and Xfinity customers, Peacock was released for consumption by everyone on July 15, 2020.

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Pricing

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

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

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 5-second mini-commercial at the beginning of a TV episode. The premium option will net users access to more than 20,000 hours of content, including all of Peacock’s original content and 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

If you are hoping to try the premium version of Peacock and are not a Comcast customer, the service does offer a 7-day free trial.

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. Those deals expired on July 14, 2020, but they could serve as a consumer barometer for future discount offerings.

Devices

You can access Peacock content from the following devices:

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  • Xfinity Flex
  • Comcast’s X-series cable boxes
  • Cox’s Contour Box or Stream Player
  • Android TV
  • Apple TV
  • Google Chromecast
  • LG Smart TV
  • Vizio Smart TV
  • XBox One
  • Android and Apple mobile and tablet devices
  • Windows and Mac operated computers

Peacock does not have an app available for download on Roku or Amazon Fire TV. 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.

Peacock offers many popular TV series, like Parks and Recreation.

One of the new service’s biggest draws will be being the exclusive home of popular NBC comedy The Office. While currently available for streaming on Netflix, it has been reported that all nine seasons of the show will move to Peacock by January 2021.

Here’s a look at some of the television content that is a part of Peacock’s offerings:

TV Series

  • The Office (starting in 2021)
  • Yellowstone
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Saturday Night Live
  • Cheers
  • Will & Grace
  • 30 Rock
  • Friday Night Lights
  • House
  • Downton Abbey
  • King of Queens
  • Frazier
  • 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, while Friends is now located on HBO Max.

Peacock's movie menu includes hits like The Bourne Identity and Jurassic Park

There also is a wide array of films available through Peacock, including:

Movies

  • The Bourne franchise
  • Jurassic Park
  • Shrek
  • Forgetting Sarah Marshall
  • American Psycho
  • Fletch
  • 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 in addition to managing the availability of established content. Peacock is no different in that regard.

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The network’s original content is available only to Peacock Premium subscribers. And while there is a pretty impressive list of original series that we’ll run down, it’s worth noting that my experience was that most of the original content was still labeled as “coming soon” when I was browsing the service for this review.

One of the Peacock originals already available for consumption is a revamped version of the classic kid’s cartoon Curious George.

Another is Brave New World, which is based on a popular novel of the same name.

Friends star David Schwimmer also stars in a Peacock original titled Intelligence:

Here is a rundown of some of the plans for original content on the platform that could be debuting in the not-so-distant future:

  • Saved by the Bell: A reboot of the popular 1990s teen comedy will include 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 will move 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: Another reboot from 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 will be original content from NBC late-night television stars Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers on the platform.

Streaming Channels

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.

Peacock offers live streaming channels, such as NBC News Now.

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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

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.

Curious George is just one of the original content series on Peacock.

Your options are pretty straightforward:

  • Channels (Where you can find the live streaming options)
  • Trending
  • TV Shows
  • Movies
  • Kids
  • News
  • Sports
  • Latino

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.

There are advertisements during movies on Peacock.

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.

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Final Thoughts on Peacock

Peacock entered a crowded streaming space in 2020, but 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. But that doesn’t happen until January 2021, so Peacock will have to bide its time until then.

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 in 2020? Let us know what you think in the comments below! 

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