For decades, network television was the only game in town for TV. Cable networks expanded the offerings, but the streaming services have created peak TV. Direct-to-consumer is the future of the medium, and it’s no longer enough to simply have a single network or a few cable affiliates.
NBCUniversal used to partner with Hulu for its streaming needs. The company also launched a short-lived streaming service called Seeso, which was primarily dedicated to comedy series. But now, NBCUniversal has Peacock, a new streaming service that’s meant to compete with Hulu, Amazon, and possibly even Netflix itself.
The key to Peacock’s rise may come from a very simple thing: it’s free, at least on the lowest tier of service. Peacock is also aggressively moving into original programming, which complements its large library of TV shows and movies produced by NBC and Universal Pictures, among others. That alone may make Peacock a contender in the streaming wars. But before you take sides, we’re here to help you decide if Peacock is right for you.
More on Peacock
As noted above, Peacock is free! But only the lowest tier. That means there will be some shows and movies that aren’t available. Regardless, the vast majority of the Peacock library can be browsed, presuming you don’t mind watching some ads along the way.
Peacock Premium is where the features start to open up. You still have to watch ads. But for $4.99 a month, you can watch anything on Peacock. That includes every movie, TV show, live sports including Premier League, Telemundo Spanish-language series, and more. That’s an even cheaper price than Disney+.
The final tier of service is Peacock Premium Plus, which is $9.99 a month. Premium Plus has everything that Peacock Premium has. The difference is that the ads will largely be gone. Peacock notes on its site that some events, including sports, may have ads because of pre-existing agreements. For the most part, Premium Plus puts the ads in your rear-view window.
A web browser is a good place to start. Peacock supports Chrome, Firefox, MS Edge, and Safari, as well as Android and iOS tablets. Playstation 4 and Xbox One gamers can find Peacock on their respective consoles. Peacock also works with Android TV-enabled smart TVs, including Sony Bravia, and select set-top boxes like NVIDIA Shield.
One of the advantages of having the Universal library at its disposal means that Peacock has a great movie selection and some classic titles right out of the gate. That includes American Pie, Back to the Future, Despicable Me, Do the Right Thing, Erin Brockovich, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Evan Almighty, Field of Dreams, Jurassic Park, King Kong, and more.
There are also a selection of films from other studios, including American Beauty, Catch Me If You Can, The Graduate, The Godfather Trilogy, Reservoir Dogs, and Shrek, among others.
Peacock excels when it comes to television. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Peacock has several of the best TV series of all-time. That includes 30 Rock, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Battlestar Galactica (2004), Cheers, Columbo, Everybody Hates Chris, Everybody Loves Raymond, Frasier, Friday Night Lights, Knight Rider, Law and Order, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Law and Order: SVU, Leave It to Beaver, Magnum P.I., Miami Vice, Monk, Murder She Wrote, Parks and Recreation, Psych, The Munsters, and, The Rockford Files.
Admittedly, those shows do tend to skew towards an older audience. Current NBC series are also among the lineup for Peacock, including American Ninja Warrior, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Ellen’s Game of Games, Hollywood Game Night, Titan Games, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, and the recently concluded revival of Will & Grace. Paramount Network’s hit series, Yellowstone, also has a home on Peacock.
If you love late-night comedy, Peacock is also the place to find new and classic episodes of Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and Late Night with Seth Meyers.
Until recently, A.P. Bio was a comedy series on NBC. Now, it’s a Peacock original series with the third season that premiered on September 3. Because Peacock is still young, only a handful of original series have already launched. They include the new adaptation of Brave New World, as well as animated shows Cleopatra in Space and Madagascar: A Little Wild. There’s also Lost Speedways, a documentary series hosted by Dale Earnhardt Jr. that explores abandoned racetracks.
Perhaps the most exciting series coming to Peacock is the Battlestar Galactica revival. However, it’s unclear if it will continue the story of the 2004 reboot or serve as another reset for the franchise. A Saved by the Bell sequel series is coming sooner than that, with many of the show’s original stars reprising their roles. Similarly, Soleil Moon Frye is reprising her role as Punky Brewster for a revival series that finds Punky as a struggling single mom who encounters an abandoned kid that reminds Punky of who she used to be.
Former SNL skit MacGruber is getting its own series in 2021, alongside a spinoff of the movie Clueless. A fantasy series based on Fonda Lee’s Jade City is also on the way, alongside a reboot of Queer as Folk.
At the moment, there’s only one original movie on Peacock: Psych 2: Lassie Come Home, the sequel to the hit USA series which is also on Peacock. There are a few additional feature-length sports documentaries, including Dreams Live On: Countdown to Tokyo and In Deep with Ryan Lochte. But for now, original movies are not the primary focus of Peacock.
It doesn’t have that feature now, but we think they might add it down the line.
Peacock suggests that speeds of at least 2.5 Mbps should be enough to enjoy your Peacock experience without suffering any delays. You might not know your internet speed off the cuff so that you can test it here.
You can start here to access the free version of Peacock. The free version doesn’t even require a credit card to get started, although you’ll naturally have to fork over your credit card info if you want to upgrade to Peacock Premium or Peacock Premium Plus. You can try it free for seven days before deciding if it’s worth the upgrade.
The Peacock app is accessible through gaming consoles such as the PS4 or Xbox One. You can also watch on your computer or via your smartphone and tablet. Gaming platforms feature Peacock in their respective stores, android devices in the Google Play Store, and iPhones and iPads feature it in the App Store.
You can also access the Peacock app via most smart TV devices, such as Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, LG TV, and Roku. You can find it in your channel store and download it to your device.
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