Peacock is one of the popular video streaming service options in 2023.
Peacock, which was launched by NBCUniversal in July 2020, is the streaming home of popular shows including The Office and Yellowstone. It’s one of the only video streaming services to offer both free and subscription options.
The premium subscription options include original series and more than 80,000 hours of 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.
Does Peacock do enough to differentiate itself in a cluttered marketplace that includes streaming services from Disney, HBO and Apple?
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 two paid subscription tiers. It features content from NBC classics such as Saturday Night Live and The Office in addition to a good deal of original content.
Reboots of popular series such as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Punky Brewster are part of the original content offering from Peacock.
There also are livestreaming 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 two subscription tiers for streaming for Peacock. There is also a legacy “Peacock Free” tier, but that was removed for new customers in 2023. Here’s a quick breakdown:
Peacock Free (Only available to existing Peacock accountholders in 2023)
Peacock Free is a free service that includes limited, ad-supported access to select livestreams and 13,000 hours of on-demand content. You will not have access to all of Peacock’s content on this tier.
Peacock Premium (Ad-Supported)
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, but that is a benefit that expires in June 2023.
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 80,000 hours of content, including all of Peacock’s original content, as well as access to live sports like the English Premier League.
Peacock Premium Plus (Ad-Free)
Peacock Premium Plus 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 offered seven-day free trial periods in the past, but as of March 2023 it was not offering free trials.
It also offers discounted subscription rates from time to time. These are promotional and temporary, so if you see one you like you would be wise to take advantage.
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 Plus 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:
- Crazy on the Outside
- Fast Times at Ridgemont High
- Liar Liar
- Harry: The Mysterious Price
- Hansel vs Gretel
- The Nutty Professor
Note that movie titles featured on the service change from time to time. These titles were available as of June 2022.
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:
- Bel-Air: A modern-day take on the 1990s Will Smith classic The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
- 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.
Peacock also presents original content in the form of livestreaming 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
- Sky News
- Fallon Tonight
- SNL Vault
- Today: All Day
- The Office Shorts
- CNBC: Make It
- True Crime
- Dateline 24/7
If you are a Premium Plus subscriber, you’ll get access to a 24/7 stream of your local NBC affiliate. This could help cord cutters who are looking for access to their local channels without cable.
Sports on Peacock
NBC, which has exclusive U.S. broadcast rights to the Summer and Winter Olympics, has decided to include Peacock in its coverage of the events.
Both the Tokyo Summer Olympics of 2021 and Beijing Winter Olympics of 2022 were broadcast on the platform.
After choosing to show a limited amount of the Summer Olympics on Peacock, NBC unlocked the entirety of the Winter Olympics to the streaming service the following year.
More Sports on Peacock
The Olympics aren’t the only live sports available on Peacock.
NBC also promotes livestreaming action from several other sporting events throughout the year. Most of these require at least a Premium subscription level to enjoy.
In May 2022, Peacock began airing an exclusive broadcast of Major League Baseball games each Sunday morning. The weekly game is called “Sunday Leadoff” as it is the first MLB game of the day.
Here’s a quick look at some of the other sporting events that get live coverage on Peacock:
- PGA and LPGA golf
- English Premier League soccer
- Horse Racing
- 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 livestreaming 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.
Peacock entered a crowded streaming space in 2020. After a few years 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. But even as they shift away from that, discounts for the premium products still provide value.
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.
And strong original content alongside live sports options make it more than just an on-demand home for TV shows and movies.
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 Clark.com Community!