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. The service debuted 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.

Here’s everything we know about Peacock so far.

Device availability

NBCUniversal was 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.

As of July 15, when the service launched nationally, it is 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 is also available on a variety of web browsers, including recent versions of Chrome, Firefox, MS Edge, and Safari, as well as Android tablets. Newer models of Android TVs, LG Smart TVs, and Vizio TVs with SmartCast will also be able to install the Peacock app, along with Chromecast-enabled devices.

The service will also be available on Sony’s PlayStation 4 game console on July 20.

Notably absent from the list of compatible hardware are Amazon Fire TV and Roku devices, which make up the majority of streaming devices in the U.S. The full list of compatible devices is available on the Peacock homepage.

The price

Peacock offers both free and premium subscription tiers. The subscription tiers break down as follows:

  • Peacock Free is a free, ad-supported version that will include about 7,500 hours of programming. This tier includes full runs of older series, movies, daily news, and sports programming (including the Olympics); Spanish-language content; and samples of select 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.
  • Peacock Premium makes the entire library of Peacock content available to subscribers in an ad-supported model. It is available to Comcast Xfinity TV and broadband subscribers (via Flex) as well as Cox Communications’ video customers for no additional charge, and $5 per month for anyone who is not a Comcast or Cox customer. This tier includes everything in Peacock Free along with next-day access to current seasons of new NBC series, live sports programming that includes Premier League events, full access to Peacock Original Series, and a larger library of new, classic, and licensed content (approximately 15,000 hours total). All versions of the Premium tier will stream content in 4K/HDR.
  • Peacock Premium Plus offers everything in the Premium tier in an ad-free tier that costs an additional $5 per month. This tier will also offer subscribers the ability to watch Peacock content offline on mobile devices.

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 have changed.

When subscribers open the app, they can search in two sections: Channels and Browse. In the Channels section, video plays automatically in the background — much like the current channel plays when you search the TV guide with a cable subscription — while subscribers scroll through a list of live and themed “virtual channels.” They can select from various TV shows, as well as current news, sports, and curated movie hubs.

For Xfinity customers, the Channels section blends the aforementioned programming with cable content.

The Browse section is organized similarly to Netflix, Disney+, and other streaming services, with a series of categorized rows of on-demand movies and TV series, as well as recently added content, Peacock Original projects, and other groups of content. Just like other streaming services, machine learning algorithms will update these sections as they gain more information about your viewing habits.

The content

The competition for exclusive content among streaming services has been fierce, and NBCUniversal confirmed quite a few high-profile projects for Peacock. At launch, Peacock offers a wide range of movies and series, as well as live and on-demand news, sports, late-night, and reality content.

In many cases, Peacock Free offers a selection of episodes from popular series, while the full run of the series is available to Peacock Premium and Premium Plus subscribers.

Late-night

Peacock Premium and Premium Plus feature live late-night content and will debut 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 on Peacock Premium at 8 p.m. ET every night.

Classic and current TV

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

Peacock Premium and Premium Plus users are also 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 more than 600 films in its first year after launch, drawing from the libraries of Universal, DreamWorks, and Illumination.

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 LA’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 A.I. 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 two 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’s 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 bestselling 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 films currently available 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 has 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 and Peacock Premium (and Premium Plus) users have access to varying levels of live news, same-day rebroadcasts, curated news shorts, and 2020 election coverage from NBC News, Sky News, MSNBC, and CNBC.

Peacock was also planning on delivering live coverage of many events within the 2020, now 2021, Tokyo Olympics. This coverage includes analyst commentary, athlete profiles, and additional features. With Peacock Premium, users can stream Premier League programming and the Ryder Cup for golf. 

On top of that, there are thousands of hours of documentaries. A sample of the sports programming includes the following: 

  • 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 U.S. 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. The goal for 2020 is to provide users with dozens of virtual channels such as:

  • 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

Editors' Recommendations