New to the lineup of streaming services is Peacock, an entirely free new service from NBC Universal. Comcast customers got first dibs on the streaming service with a limited release of the service on April 15, 2020, before it was released to the general public.
Owned by Comcast, this service gives you access to all of your usual favorites, in addition to all-new NBC Original programming. Enjoy many of your favorite shows and movies while also catching up on your live sports and comedy. There’s even an entire kid-friendly library of content just for the little ones in your home.
Though it was originally planned to launch with the Summer Olympics, plans were interrupted by coronavirus, making for a muted but still successful launch of the new cable streaming service. The network started strong with a full lineup of programming, but users quickly found that many programs were limited in their airing, with a lot of content leaving soon after its much-awaited debut.
It’s not available everywhere, however. Users will quickly find that compatibility is a bit limited. Peacock TV does not work with the Amazon Fire Stick, and you also won’t find compatibility with all of your gaming devices. It may not be a big deal for some users who use their computers, iPhones or smart TVs to watch their programs, but for the many who depend on Amazon, they’ll soon find themselves out of luck.
These are the devices you can use to stream Peacock in your home.
Peacock streaming compatibility chart
|Type of device||Specifications|
|Web browsers||• Windows/Mac: Chrome 70+|
• Windows/Mac: Firefox 65+
• Mac: Safari 12+
• Windows: MS Edge 40+ with Windows 10 or higher
|Smartphones and tablets||• Android 6.0 and above |
• iOS 11 and above
|Smart TVs and streaming devices||• Apple TV|
• LG Smart TV
• Vizio TV
|Game consoles||• Playstation 4|
• Xbox One
|Cable provider set top boxes||• Cox: Contour Box with Voice Remote, Contour Stream Player|
• Xfinity: XG1v1 (Arris), XG1v3, XG1v4, XG2v2, XiD, Xi3, Xi5, Xi6, Flex
With Peacock, NBC keeps it really easy and user-friendly. There is a basic plan that is free, or you can upgrade for exclusive access and no ads for less than $10 a month.
In total, Peacock offers three plans for your streaming needs with basic, premium and ad-free options for you to choose from.
|Plan||Cost||Special features||Best for?||Top shows|
|Peacock||$0/mo.||• Exclusive movies and shows|
• Peacock-only channels
• Daily news, sports and pop culture features
• Telemundo series
|Everyday, basic viewing||• Brave New World|
• The King of Queens
• Chrisley Knows Best
|Peacock Premium||$4.99||• Next-day access to current NBC programming|
• Live sports
• Peacock original series
• Extended library of movies and shows
|Extended viewing||• Psych v2|
• Law & Order: SVU
• Two and a Half Men
• Southern Charm
|Peacock Premium Plus||$9.99||• Ad-free streaming|
• Offline mobile viewing (coming soon)
• Live sports
• Peacock original series
|No ads||• Intelligence|
• Downton Abbey
• Everybody Loves Raymond
• Below Deck
When choosing the right plan for you, it really depends on how much streaming you plan to do and how much patience you have for advertisements. By upgrading, you can bypass commercials altogether, saving precious time for an ad-free viewing experience. Now, you don’t have to wait through a car ad to find out what happens next.
You also get a boost in content when you upgrade from the basic plan. While the starter plan offers just 13,000 hours of content, you can expand to more than 20,000 hours with Premium and Premium Plus. Subscribers also enjoy early access to The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Late Night with Seth Meyers.
Peacock gives you access to shows from networks like:
- USA Network
- Golf Channel
While Netflix and Amazon Prime offer more straightforward billing, Peacock is most similar to Hulu’s structure with its ad-supported and ad-free viewing options.
While NBC offers a ton of content from its own network, there is minimal content provided from other networks and production companies due to licensing restrictions. There is still plenty to watch, however. Peacock delivers around 13,000 hours of shows and movies, in addition to live sports and comedy sketches.
When using the free plan, you will find just a limited number of episodes available for the new original series. If you get hooked on a show, NBC forces you to upgrade to the Premium if you want to keep watching. This is the case for several new shows like Yellowstone, Psych 2 and Brave New World.
Peacock does come with its own limitations. There are currently no mobile downloads for offline streaming, so you will need to have a WiFi connection every time you want to use the service.
These are some of the pros and cons of Peacock.
✓ Free access to tons of content
✓ NBC Peacock Original content
✓ Next-day streaming for new episodes
X No individual user profiles
X Limited compatibility
X No 4K HDR streaming
Peacock does not work with Amazon Fire TV, and this lack of accessibility means that NBC is missing out on a serious part of the market. It’s a problem HBO MAX has also faced with its own compatibility issues. Still, Peacock is new, so accessibility could expand and change in time.
The interface is similar to what you are used to with services like Netflix and Hulu, but there is no denying that this is a cable provider platform. The content is largely limited to NBC’s library with not as much of the diversity in programming that you find with Amazon Prime. You’ll get early access to some NBC favorites, but you won’t find the diverse catalogs of other streaming services like Netflix.
This is how Peacock stacks up against its competitors.
|Peacock||Quibi||HBO Max||Disney+||Apple TV+|
|Tiers||Free, Premium, Premium Plus||Basic, Ad-free||$14.99||Basic||Basic|
|Cost range /mo.||$0 – $9.99||$4.99-$7.99||$14.99||$6.99||$4.99|
|Ads||None with Premium Plus||None with Ad-Free||None||None||None|
Library: Original shows, back catalog
Peacock’s biggest claim to fame was the much-anticipated Friends reunion, as well as a new reboot of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. You also get access to favorites like Parks and Recreation and 30 Rock, but you’ll have to wait until January to watch The Office because Netflix has contractual dibs until then.
Peacock adds new content that’s updated daily with movies from popular production studios like Universal, DreamWorks and Focus. There is live news, courtesy of CNBC, MSNBC and E! News, and Telemundo programming comes included.
There’s also live sports and kids shows, including all-new episodes of the timeless classics, Curious George and Where’s Waldo?
Our hot take
With a free basic plan, you don’t have to commit to a contract or a swipe of the credit card in order to test-drive the service, making for a pretty safe subscription setup. To get started, all you need is email and password to log in, and you’re ready to start watching with no credit card needed. It’s a far easier sign-up process than many other services that require a credit card before you can start viewing.
Peacock is similar to many of the other streaming services available from major cable networks. It sticks mostly to its own programming, with some extras thrown in for good measure. Still, NBC’s solid lineup of diehard favorites like Law & Order: SVU and evening talk shows are enough to keep you plugged in and entertained. However, content can change quickly, so be sure to watch out for limited viewing timelines.
We look forward to seeing how the service grows and adapts as it matures. And of course, we’ll be waiting for the highly anticipated series, The Office, to find its way back home and onto our screens once more.