What Is NBCUniversal’s Peacock — and Is It Worth The Price?

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Streaming services continue to grow in popularity each year, particularly those with ad-free offerings like Netflix and Hulu. NBCUniversal’s Peacock launched on April 15, 2020, to global fanfare and anticipation. Since then, this platform has established itself as a formidable force in the streaming wars.

Peacock offers past and current NBC programming as well as movies and numerous original shows, so it certainly has some value. Not to mention, the service had more than 10 million signups in its first three months of streaming — a number that exceeded all expectations and projections, according to the service’s CEO. Here’s what you can expect from the platform.

The Nitty-Gritty on Peacock

The name for the service comes from NBC’s famous logo and mascot, which have been used since 1956 (remember the “Proud as a Peacock” slogan from a few years ago). Peacock offers multiple tiers of service, including a free limited access plan, Peacock Premium, an all-inclusive plan for $4.99 a month with ads, and Peacock Premium Plus, an all-inclusive plan without ads for a higher rate of $9.99 a month.

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Peacock Free offers thousands of hours of programming, including next-day access to current episodes of first-year NBC shows, movies from Universal Studios and DreamWorks, daily news, sports shows and other curated content. The big catch that comes with the free tier is that only select episodes of the original shows developed by NBC are available. Additionally, viewers don’t have access to all of NBC’s network content on the free version of Peacock.

The premium tiers, on the other hand, include twice the amount of content available on the free services and provide access to all original content. For current Xfinity X1 and Flex subscribers, the premium version of the service is available at a discount — possibly free, depending on the current promotion. That means you might be able to watch Peacock with advertisements for free and then pay around $5 if you want to stream without ads. NBC plans to finalize additional partnerships in the future that will allow it to offer similar discounts to even more customers.

Brand New Finds and Enduring Favorites

Peacock has plenty of enjoyable content for viewers to explore in its ever-growing catalogue. It’s currently airing many popular shows (past and present), including classic comedies like Parks and Recreation and 30 Rock as well as critically acclaimed dramas like Law & Order, Friday Night Lights and Downton Abbey.

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The slate of former blockbuster films includes beloved franchises like Jurassic Park, Back to the Future and The Fast & The Furious. Another perk of premium membership is early access to NBC’s late-night talk shows. The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon streams early on Peacock at 8 p.m. ET, followed by Late Night with Seth Meyers at 9 p.m. ET. That means fans of the shows who normally lose sleep watching them both can get to bed much earlier.

Unfortunately, only a few of Peacock’s original shows were available on the launch date in April 2020, but more original content has been released since then. Yellowstone, starring Kevin Costner, is easily one of the platform’s biggest draws. Other popular originals include dramas Brave New World, starring Demi Moore, and Dr. Death, starring Alec Baldwin, Jamie Dornan and Christian Slater.

Need a laugh? Comedies include Rutherford Falls, co-created by Mike Schur, Sierra Teller Ornelas and Ed Helms, who also has a starring role in the show. Rashida Jones is heading a comedy pilot of her own called Straight Talk, starring Jada Pinkett Smith, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Norman Lear and Mindy Kaling. Clearly, a lot of star power will be a huge benefit for Peacock.

Powering Up Peacock Technology

Now that you’re primed and ready to check out what Peacock has to offer, you need to know how to tune in. The service supports streaming on Apple and Android devices through an app available for iPhones, iPads, Apple TV and the full complement of Android phones and tablets. You can also stream on Microsoft’s Xbox consoles and Sony’s PlayStation consoles using an app available through the Microsoft Store and the PlayStation Store.

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Xfinity X1 cable customers and Flex streaming customers had the capability to watch Peacock through their respective service boxes from the beginning. Since launch, the network has also added streaming capability to Android TVs, including Sony Bravia, LG Smart TVs, a variety of set-top boxes and popular streaming devices like Chromecast. Customers who want to watch on their computers can do so from Chrome, Firefox, Edge and Safari browsers. The service is expected to ultimately include most major providers and devices to reach more customers.

For a time, NBC had a streaming partnership with Hulu for many years; Comcast NBCUniversal made a deal with Disney — the majority owner of Hulu — to give Disney full control of the content with the stipulation that NBC shows could air on Hulu and Peacock at the same time. Since that deal expired in March 2022, NBC restrategized and migrated all current-seasons shows exclusively onto Peacock.

Is Adding Yet Another Streaming Service Worth It?

Peacock has an attractive price point that falls in line with other streaming services. In comparison, Hulu’s basic tier with ads is $6.99 a month, and its premium service without ads is $12.99 a month. Hulu’s parent company, Disney, bundles Hulu with Disney+ and ESPN+ for a discount-worthy price of $13.99 a month. Otherwise, Disney+ runs about $8 a month, and ESPN+ runs for $6.99 a month.

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CBS All Access, another major network’s attempt at snagging a share of the streaming market, charges $5.99 to watch content with advertising and $9.99 for the ad-free version. Netflix offers a Basic option with a single line of streaming for $9.99 a month, a Standard plan with 2 lines for $15.49 a month, and a Premium plan for $19.99 a month. HBO Max has a heftier price tag at $14.99 a month, but it also doesn’t have advertising.

Ultimately, Peacock is a worthy investment for any long-time fans of NBC’s popular shows — both old and new. The platform’s original content also bolsters its value, as does the ability to watch live sports events with Peacock Premium.