Peacock is here. The last of the major 2020 streaming services to launch, Peacock looks to unite NBC’s shows, Universal’s films, and original content into a single service that will put a much bigger emphasis on live, curated content than nearly any other competing service.
But Peacock is arriving late to a very crowded party, one that’s already filled with Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, CBS All Access, HBO Max, Apple TV Plus, and Amazon Prime Video — which means it’s going to have a big challenge to break through to customers.
Peacock does have a trick up its sleeve, though: a completely free, ad-supported tier that will offer thousands of hours of content to customers.
Interested in trying it out? Here’s everything you need to know about getting started with Peacock.
(Disclosure: Comcast, which owns NBCUniversal, is also an investor in Vox Media, The Verge’s parent company.)
How much does Peacock cost?
Peacock has three different tiers which determine what content you’ll get and how many ads you’ll see.
Uniquely, the base tier of Peacock is a completely free, ad-supported, more limited version of the service. It’ll feature roughly 13,000 hours of NBCUniversal content, including classic shows like 30 Rock, sample episodes of Peacock Original shows, and new episodes of currently airing NBC shows one week after they air.
Next is Peacock Premium, a $4.99-per-month subscription that includes more than double the content of the base plan, Peacock’s exclusive original shows, next-day episodes of current NBC series, and more live programming (including Premier League soccer and early access to NBC late-night shows). But while it’ll offer much more content, it’ll still have ads.
Unless, of course, you shell out for the $9.99 version of Peacock, Premium Ad-Free, which offers the same content as Peacock Premium but without ads. But even the Ad-Free plan isn’t totally ad-free: the company warns that “due to streaming rights, a small amount of programming — Peacock channels, events, and a few shows and movies — will still contain ads.”
Both paid plans also offer annual subscriptions, at discounted rates of $49.99 per year for Premium and $99.99 per year for Premium Ad-Free.
Will Peacock still be free for Xfinity customers?
Astute readers will note that NBCUniversal is owned by Comcast, which also provides Xfinity internet and TV services. Xfinity customers have already had access to an early version of the service for weeks. The company will be continuing to leverage that corporate synergy as a key part of Peacock’s launch, offering free access to the Peacock Premium service to Xfinity Internet or Digital Starter TV customers. Plus, Xfinity customers will be able to upgrade their free Peacock Premium plan to Premium Ad-Free by paying $4.99 per month.
Cox subscribers will also be able to leverage that deal, with access to free Peacock Premium. NBCUniversal is working on enabling similar deals with other cable and internet providers in the future, with a goal of offering free service to as many customers as possible.
What can I watch on Peacock?
The Peacock service will offer access to more than 20,000 hours of content drawing on the vast back catalogs of NBC shows. Many top shows and movies will be available on the free tier, including 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, Saturday Night Live, Psych, Monk, Battlestar Galactica, Downton Abbey, Suits, Royal Pains, Columbo, The Matrix series, Phantom Thread, the Bourne films, Jurassic Park franchise, and more. (Notably absent at launch will be The Office, as Netflix still holds streaming rights for that series through the end of 2020. It’ll arrive on Peacock in 2021.)
Peacock Premium will expand that library with even more content, including Two and a Half Men, House, Frasier, Cheers, Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU, Ray Donovan, and the Shrek films. The paid tiers will also feature Peacock Originals: original shows and movies that will be exclusive to the service. Major titles at launch will include Brave New World (based on the Aldous Huxley novel), Psych 2: Lassie Come Home, The Capture, and Intelligence, but there are plenty more on the way, including Punky Brewster, Battlestar Galactica, and Saved By The Bell reboots.
There’s also a big focus on live content with Peacock. NBC will be offering curated live news and sports content, including a 24-hour NBC News channel and (eventually) a big emphasis on the Olympics (whenever the event ends up happening). Peacock Premium will also include Premier League soccer games and early, 8PM access to NBC’s late-night shows like Late Night With Seth Meyers and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (whenever those shows return to studios).
Where is Peacock available?
Right now, Peacock is only available in the United States at launch. NBCUniversal has yet to announce plans for future countries.
What devices can I watch Peacock on?
Peacock is currently available on Android, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, iOS, Xbox One, Vizio SmartCast TVs, and LG Smart TV. It’ll have an app released for the PlayStation 4 during the week of July 20th. There’s also a desktop web player for streaming on Mac, Windows, and Chromebook devices.
Notably missing from that list: Amazon’s Fire TV and Roku, neither of which can access Peacock for now. NBCUniversal has indicated on its Peacock Twitter account that it’s in talks with Amazon, while directing disappointed Roku customers to “squawk” at the set-top box company to add the service.
Can I share a Peacock account with friends and family?
Peacock supports a maximum of three concurrent streams, so you can share an account. There’s no support for profiles at launch, but Peacock will offer a basic PIN system for parental controls that will lock mature content behind a password.
What resolution will Peacock content be offered in?
Right now, Peacock will only stream in HD, with more premium options like 4K video, HDR, or Dolby Atmos not available at launch. The company is looking to add them in the future, though.
Can you watch Peacock shows offline?
Peacock won’t have offline downloads at launch for its mobile apps, although NBCUniversal is promising that the feature will be added in the future.
How do I sign up?
Peacock can be signed up for through the Peacock website or through the various Peacock apps on your service of choice.