Peacock: Everything to know

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Peacock launched across the US on July 15. 

Angela Lang/CNET

Peacock, a streaming app from Comcast-owned NBCUniversal, offers thousands of hours of free programming, as well as extra shows, movies and originals if you’re willing to pay for a subscription. For those premium, paid members, it’s the exclusive home for more than 175 Premier League matches and offers paywalled titles like Trolls World Tour, Knocked Up and Yellowstone. Peacock has a seven-day free trial for its premium tiers.

And, finally, you can stream Peacock on Roku devices, after a more than two-month absence from one of the most popular streaming platforms in the country. But Peacock is still missing from Amazon Fire TV devices, like its boxes and low-priced plug-ins commonly called Firesticks. Roku reached a deal in September to support the Peacock app, leaving Amazon’s Fire TV as the only major platform without Peacock. (Meanwhile HBO Max, another competing new service, still hasn’t reached any deal with either Roku or Fire TV.)

Competing with HBO Max as well as NetflixDisney Plus, Hulu and others, Peacock was the last major new service to go live in the flood of launches from tech and media giants over the last year. Technically, Peacock launched in a limited “sneak peek” in mid-April for some Comcast customers. But the nationwide launch in mid-July widened the service to anyone in the US who wants to watch it, and Peacock’s first original shows and movies dropped then too. 

Peacock’s free tier, with about two-thirds of the catalog, is available to watch right away with advertising after you register an email and password. You can unlock the full library of shows and movies for a price — $5 a month for the full catalog plus ads or $10 a month to go ad-free. Peacock offers a standard seven-day free trial for its premium tiers, and, again, people who sign up on a Google platform like Android could snag an extended free trial. If you are a Comcast Xfinity customer, you should be eligible for a $5 discount on the premium tier.

Read more: Hulu vs. Peacock: Which streaming service is best for you?

Peacock is also working on deals, like ones it already has with parent company Comcast and with Cox Communications, to bundle Peacock Premium with regular cable services as a no-added-cost perk. But since launch, Peacock hasn’t secured many more of these deals to widen the premium perks. (Full details on deals, free trials and discounts for Peacock are below.)

Peacock’s free tier has popular TV shows like Parks and Recreation and 30 Rock, as well as movies like Children of Men and Shrek. Many — but not all — of the titles come from Comcast’s Universal and DreamWorks Animation studios. One of Peacock’s most anticipated titles, The Office, แทงบอล won’t be available until January.

Its premium tier unlocks originals and other items from the catalog. Trolls World Tour, DreamWorks Animation’s movie that skipped theaters to debut as a high-priced online rental in April, has moved over to Peacock to stream with a paid membership. Live Premier League matches are reserved for paying members too. 

Other popular titles on Peacock include Yellowstone, the Paramount network’s hit summer series, and Law & Order: SVU. Like the originals, all these titles are on the premium level of Peacock, but all of them let you sample a few episodes free. In the case of Law & Order: SVU, you can sample more than two dozen episodes free, including the entire first season. 

Peacock is also licensing shows and movies from other companies. Its deal with ViacomCBS gives Peacock a handful of series that originally ran on CBS, Showtime, the CW and BET, plus (eventually) a list of movies from Paramount, including the Godfather trilogy.

But programming can come and go frequently. Several high-profile movies on Peacock at launch — like the Matrix trilogy, the Jurassic Park trilogy and the only Fast & Furious movie available at the time — disappeared from the service soon after launch. The Harry Potter franchise of films has also vanished. A countdown warning shows how long some titles are set to remain on Peacock. But they can reappear: Shrek was briefly on Peacock at launch, disappeared and then returned to be available to stream again.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, several plans for Peacock‘s wider rollout were upended. Filming production of original programming largely shut down in March, and the plan to piggyback Peacock’s national launch on NBC’s live coverage of the summer Olympics is moot now that the games have been pushed back to 2021. 

Peacock has slated more originals to debut progressively. Its original Saved by the Bell reboots is slated to hit Nov. 25, and its Punky Brewster rebookt is expected to be available this year. Another high-profile original to come, way down the line, is a The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The service did have nine original shows and movies to watch at launch, including Brave New World, which is Peacock’s marquee sci-fi drama adapting Aldous Huxley’s novel, and a Psych movie sequel

But much of its original programming won’t materialize until later than planned. Not until 2021 will Peacock “arguably really be hitting its stride,” according to Matt Strauss, the executive in charge of Peacock. 

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Competitors to Peacock include other new services like Disney PlusApple TV Plus, and HBO Max, as well as vets like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and CBS All Access. (Note: ViacomCBS is the parent company of CNET.)  

But Peacock is unusual among these rivals in that it has a free tier. It’s also unusual among the crop of new services in that it’ll have live sports and news, while most of the newest streaming services are focused squarely on video-on-demand catalogs along the lines of Netflix. 

Other differences: Peacock has “channels” of TV, but these aren’t live streams of its networks. Instead, they’re curated feeds of shorter programming or full episodes, organized around themes. One channel, for example, like Today All Day, which mixes clips from NBC’s Today show with original segments for Peacock by the show’s hosts. Other channels are based on The Office, SNL and Keeping Up With the Kardashians, all stocked with clips, or things like the Tonight Show, True Crime or Bob Ross, with full episodes.

So far, Peacock has signed up 22 million accounts through about the end of September. That includes people who registered with Peacock when it rolled out just to Comcast pay-TV customers in April, as well as new members who’ve signed up since its national launch on July 15. By comparison, Disney Plus reported more than 10 million sign-ups in little more than 24 hours when it launched in November. HBO Max — the premium cable network’s newer, bigger app that rolled out at the end of May — has signed up 8.6 million accounts in its first four months. 

So is Peacock worth paying for? All the finer details are below, but basically: Thanks to the free tier, it doesn’t cost anything to try it out for yourself. If you love NBC’s style of programming or you want even more big-name movies to stream — and especially if Netflix has spoiled you into hating ads — you may find yourself paying for yet another streaming service. 

How much does Peacock cost? What’s the deal with watching free?

Peacock has three tiers: a limited one that’s free, an all-inclusive one that’s $5 a month with ads, and an all-inclusive one that’s $10 a month without ads. 

The free tier limits how much you can watch. For example, แทงบอล Peacock planned to offer only select episodes of its originals free, withholding the rest inside its paywall. This limited free tier has access to roughly two-thirds of Peacock’s total catalog of movies, current season TV, TV classics, curated daily news, sports, Hispanic programming and curated channels. 

Both paid tiers are called Peacock Premium, basically an all-access pass to everything on the service. That means about 20,000 hours of content. Peacock Premium is $5 a month or $50 a year with advertising, or you can upgrade to an ad-free version for $10 a month or $100 a year. 

The tiers with advertising are supposed to have no more than five minutes of commercials per hour.

Peacock offers a standard seven-day free trial standard for any new signups to either premium tier. 

Some people can score discounts that cut the cost of Peacock if they’re already customers of certain cable companies. Peacock will continue to give Comcast X1 and Flex subscribers the Premium version of the service at a $5 discount. So if they want to watch with advertising, they pay nothing for Peacock Premium; if they want to watch ad-free, they need to pay $5 a month. 

Cox customers also get that $5-off deal. Peacock has said it’s working on partnerships to offer this discount to a wider array of consumers. 

These customers can also upgrade to watch Peacock ad-free by paying $5 a month. 

The pricing at Peacock’s competition runs the gamut. 

Among the services that have ad-supported options, Hulu is $6 a month with ads and $12 a month ad-free. CBS All Access charges $6 for its tier with advertising, and $10 for the ad-free version. And Quibi, a mobile-only subscription video service with an eye-popping lineup of stars, has set its monthly rate at $5 with ads and $8 ad-free.  

By comparison, Netflix, which has no ads, offers its cheapest tier at $9 a month, while its most popular plan is $14. Apple TV Plus is $5 a month, Disney Plus is $7 a month, and HBO Max is $15 a month. None of them includes advertising. 

But none of these competitors offers a free tier like Peacock’s.