Peacock: Everything we know about NBCUniversal’s streaming video service

Launched on April 15 to a limited audience of select Comcast subscribers, Peacock is NBCUniversal’s entry in the rapidly expanding streaming video landscape. It will debut nationally on July 15, with all subscription tiers available.

With an impressive lineup of new and classic content, including complete runs of popular syndicated series, reboots, and revivals of fan-favorite shows, and even some classic and original films, the service is one to keep an eye on as it moves from limited launch to wide release.

Here’s everything we know about Peacock so far.

Device availability

NBCUniversal has been slow to confirm Peacock’s availability on anything beyond Comcast customers’ Flex TV streaming box or Xfinity X1 cable box, on which it first became available April 15.

When the service is launched nationally on July 15, it’s expected to be available on the usual Roku and Fire TV streaming devices, but nothing has been confirmed yet. In May, NBCUniversal announced that Peacock would be available on Microsoft’s Xbox One family of devices, including the Xbox One S and Xbox One X, as well as Apple devices, including the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV 4K, and Apple TV HD. The service will also be integrated into the Apple TV app, and subscribers will be able to use Siri to search for content.

The price

Peacock will offer both free and premium subscription tiers when it launches nationally. The subscription tiers break down like so:

  • Peacock Premium will be available to Comcast Xfinity TV and broadband subscribers (via Flex) as well as Cox Communications’ video customers — with ads — for no additional charge. Comcast and Cox customers can upgrade to an ad-free version of Peacock Premium for an extra $5 per month. This tier will include a total of 15,000 hours of live and on-demand content. Comcast expects to bundle the Premium tier with additional partners over the next few months.
  • Peacock Premium is also available for those who are not Comcast or Cox customers. Those customers can subscribe for $10 per month for an ad-free version and $5 per month for an ad-supported version. All versions of the Premium tier will stream content in 4K/HDR.
  • Peacock Free is a free, ad-supported version that will include about 7,500 hours of programming. This tier, like Premium, will include next-day access to current seasons of new NBC series; full runs of older series, movies, daily news, and sports programming (including the Olympics); Spanish-language content; and select content of Peacock original programming. It will also include access to curated genre channels like SNL Vault, Family Movie Night, and Olympic Profiles. Content at this tier will not be available in 4K/HDR, though.

The platform and interface

During the investor unveiling of Peacock, NBCUniversal executives described the streaming service as “like a broadcast network.” That may sound odd for a streaming platform, but considering the amount of live content, the characterization makes some sense.

At launch, the service will offer a mix of exclusive shows, on-demand classics, and live content. The premiere live event at launch was supposed to have been the 2020 Olympics coverage, but with the postponement of the games until 2021, those plans will now change. When subscribers open the app, they can search in three different tiers: channels, trending, and browse. As they consider their options, live video will play automatically in the background, like the current channel plays when you search the TV guide with a cable subscription. That video may be news, a game, or a show, making it appear as though you’re actually watching cable.

When subscribers browse, they’ll see a series of rows, laid out similarly to Netflix and Disney+. The first two rows have shows that subscribers are already watching and new additions to Peacock. Just like other streaming services, machine learning algorithms will update these sections as they gain more information about your viewing habits.

In the trending section, the Peacock app will offer up daily short-form content, like sports highlights, late-night clips, and culture updates.

Finally, in the channel section, subscribers can pull up a channel guide to scroll through, as they would with a traditional cable subscription. They can select from TV shows, news, sports, and movies, and access specific curated hubs called virtual channels.

For Xfinity customers, the service is mixed in with cable content. For instance, one of the investors asked how people will see content when the app first launches on the Flex and Xfinity platforms. The executives admitted that, yes, searching for a show like This Is Us from your cable box may well surface the show twice, once from your cable service and once from NBCUniversal’s new streamer.

He then augmented the statement by ensuring there will be plenty of “exclusive content” not available from your regular cable subscription on the new streaming platform. For now, it seems like a confusing mingling of NBCUniversal’s content between its cable and streamer, which will likely become less confusing when the platform moves out of the cable box and onto streaming devices in July.

The content

The competition for exclusive content among streaming services has been fierce, and NBCUniversal has confirmed quite a few high-profile projects for Peacock ahead of its launch. At launch, Peacock will offer more than 600 movies and 400 series, as well as live and on-demand news, sports, late-night, and reality content.

Late-night

Peacock will feature live late-night content and a new, family-friendly late-night show from Jimmy Fallon. At the investor unveiling, it was also revealed that early late night will also be available on Peacock, as new episodes of NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers will be available at 8 p.m. ET every night.

Classic and current TV

The following shows will have full seasons — and in some cases, complete series — available on Peacock:

  • The Office
  • 30 Rock
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Yellowstone
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • Cheers
  • Downton Abbey
  • Everybody Loves Raymond
  • Friday Night Lights
  • Frasier
  • Will & Grace
  • The King of Queens
  • House
  • Keeping Up with the Kardashians

All 44 seasons of Saturday Night Live will be available at launch, with the current and subsequent seasons also available after the season ends on NBC. Not all of the shows listed above will be available on the service at launch, however. For example, Peacock won’t be acquiring streaming rights to The Office from Netflix until 2021.

Peacock users will also be able to stream new episodes of NBC and Telemundo content like This Is UsSuperstoreLaw and Order: SVU, Operación Pacífico, and World of Dance the day after they air. Most previously aired current season episodes will also be available.

Classic movies

Peacock will offer over 600 films in its first year after launch, drawing from the libraries of Universal, DreamWorks, and Illumination.

The wide array of films confirmed to be available on the service at this point include Jurassic ParkBridesmaids, American PieField of DreamsJawsDo the Right Thing, Dallas Buyers Club, and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, as well as the Fast and the Furious, Despicable Me, Shrek, Back to the Future, and Jason Bourne franchises.

New (and newish) shows

NBCUniversal has plans to bring reboots or revivals of several popular series to Peacock, often with ties to existing, older shows and films available on the service or through one of the company’s broadcast networks or film studios.

The current list of series orders includes:

  • The Amber Ruffin Show, a weekly, late-night talk show starring Amber Ruffin and executive produced by Seth Meyers
  • Angelyne, a limited series based on The Hollywood Reporter feature that explored the identity of L.A.’s mysterious
    billboard bombshell, starring Emmy Rossum
  • The third season of sitcom A.P. Bio
  • Armas de Mujer, a dramedy from the creators of Telemundo’s La Reina del Sur
  • A new series within Battlestar Galactica mythology from Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail
  • Brave New World, an adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s dystopian novel, starring Demi Moore and Alden Ehrenreich
  • The Capture, a conspiracy thriller that includes themes of misinformation and surveillance
  • Code 404, a drama about a police officer who is brought back from death by an experimental AI project
  • Dr. Death, a drama starring Alec Baldwin, Jamie Dornan, and Christian Slater
  • Five Bedrooms, a comedy that brings together unexpected allies who take risks to find an interesting solution
  • Girls 5Eva, a comedy from Tina Fey
  • Hitmen, a comedy about to broke BFFs who only have each other
  • Intelligence, a workplace sitcom set in the U.K.’s Government Communications Headquarters, starring David Schwimmer
  • Lady Parts, a musical comedy following a Muslim female punk band called Lady Parts
  • A reboot of the Punky Brewster sitcom
  • Rutherford Falls, a comedy series from Mike Schur (The Good Place, Parks and Recreation), starring Ed Helms
  • A revival and pseudo-reboot of Saved By the Bell that already has some of the original series’ cast members attached
  • Who Wrote That, a documentary series from Lorne Michaels exploring some of the most memorable Saturday Night Live sketches

Some of the new projects currently in development for Peacock include the following:

  • Clean Slate, a comedy from Norman Lear, starring Laverne Cox
  • Division One, a comedy from Amy Poehler
  • Expecting, a comedy from Mindy Kaling
  • Hatching Twitter, a docuseries from New York Times best-selling author and Vanity Fair special correspondent Nick Bilton
  • A Queer as Folk reboot from writer, director, and executive producer Stephen Dunn
  • A series adaptation of Will Forte’s MacGruber film
  • A reboot (or spinoff/revival) of The Office
  • Straight Talk, a psychological drama starring Jada Pinkett Smith, with Rashida Jones executive producing and directing the pilot
  • The Adventure Zone, based on the McElroy Family’s wildly popular Dungeons & Dragons
  • A new spinoff of The Real Housewives series

New movies

Among the 600 films in Peacock’s library are a few original movies, including Psych 2: Lassie Come Home, a sequel to Psych: The Movie, based on the series of the same name. Peacock also has a deal with NBCUniversal’s DreamWorks Animation to produce original animated features for the streaming service.

Kids programming

Peacock wants to position itself as a family-friendly streaming service and will have a wealth of kids’ programming as well. Current series orders include:

  • Archibald’s Next Big Thing, from Veep‘s Tony Hale
  • Curious George
  • Dragons: Rescue Riders, executive produced by Jack Thomas of Dragons: Race to the Edge
  • DreamWorks Where’s Waldo, an animated series that brings the famous character to life

News and sports

Peacock users will have access to live news, same-day rebroadcasts, curated news shorts, and 2020 Election coverage from NBC News, Sky News, MSNBC, and CNBC.

Peacock will also provide access to live coverage of major events in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, as well as analyst commentary, athlete profiles, and more. Peacock users can also stream 2,000 hours of Premier League programming, including more than 140 live matches. Peacock will also cover golf’s Ryder Cup, with live coverage of featured holes and groups.

Peacock will also feature thousands of hours of original documentaries, curated clips, and more.

Original sports programming includes:

  • Dream Team 2020, a docuseries following the USA Men’s Basketball team at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
  • The Greatest Race, recounting swimmer Michael Phelps’ epic comeback in the 4×100 relay at the 2008 Beijing Olympics
  • Hot Water: In Deep with Ryan Lochte, a documentary on US Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte, whose career was overshadowed by scandal
  • Run Through the Line, based loosely on Nike CEO Phil Knight’s autobiography Shoe Dog
  • United States of Speed, chronicling American sprinters throughout history
  • A NASCAR series created and hosted by Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

Virtual channels

One of the ways Peacock is innovating is with virtual channels, which provide users with 24/7 feeds of curated content. By the end of 2020, Peacock users will have access to dozens of virtual channels, including:

  • Art House
  • Family Movie Night
  • Get Spooked
  • L&O DUN DUN (Law & Order all the time)
  • Latino Now by Telemundo
  • Laugh it Out
  • Peacock Kids
  • Peacock Sports
  • Rotten Tomatoes

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