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Peacock Review 2020: Plans, Pricing, and More

Peacock probably won’t be your go-to streamer, but it’s still loaded with content (and it’s cheap).

  • Free–$9.99/mo.
  • 15,000 hrs. of content
  • "Live" channels
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What is Peacock?

Peacock, named after NBC’s classic multicolored mascot, is an on-demand streaming service from NBCUniversal. It carries over 15,000 hours of TV shows and movies from the NBCU vault, as well as exclusive original content.

Most newsworthy, Peacock will be the only place to stream The Office beginning in 2021—a move that’s put Netflix subscribers at “Threat Level Midnight” (if you’re a fan, you get it).

Peacock is also unique in that it’s the only major streaming service that offers a free, ad-supported tier alongside its paid plans. If you’re experiencing subscription fatigue—the struggle is real—you can access half of Peacock’s massive library for nada.

Is Peacock good?

Aside from its content catalogue, the most appealing aspect of Peacock is its pricing: you can go with the limited free version, a monthly $4.99 (with ads) full-library Premium plan, or the $9.99 (no ads) monthly full-library Premium plan. This makes Peacock one of the least-expensive big media steamers out there—that’s a fat check in the “good” column.

On the downside, the service launched with the same hitch as HBO Max before it: Peacock isn’t available on Roku or Amazon Fire TV devices, which leaves a huge portion of the streaming audience out in the cold.

Overall, we think Peacock is a worthwhile addition to your streaming apps lineup. The freebie tier gives you an impressive array of shows and movies, and it’s hard to argue with the price. Of course, you’ll get far more content on the Premium tiers, and who knows how long Peacock will offer a free level—Hulu used to have a no-cost tier too.

Peacock pros and cons

Pros

  • Inexpensive plans
  • Exclusive NBCUniversal content

Cons

  • Limited original content
  • No Roku and Amazon Fire TV apps

Peacock free trials and deals

Peacock offers a seven-day free trial for both its Premium tiers.

Xfinity and Cox cable subscribers can get Peacock Premium (with ads) for free with their service, or Peacock Premium (no ads) for $4.99 a month.

Paid Peacock subscribers who sign up through Android and Google platforms can get an extended free trial that lasts until October 15 (ad-supported version only).

You can prepay for 12 months of Peacock Premium (with ads) for $30.00 (which adds up to $30.00 off), or 12 months of Peacock Premium (no ads) for $80.00 (adding up to $40.00 off).

Peacock plans

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PackagePriceHours of contentStreamsResolutionDetails
Peacock (with ads)Free7,50031080p, 4KView plan
Peacock Premium (with ads)$4.99/mo.15,00031080p, 4KView plan
Peacock Premium (no ads)$9.99/mo.15,00031080p, 4KView plan

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

The free version of Peacock gives you access to half of the service’s 15,000+ hours of shows and movies, and none of its original content (not that there’s much of it right now). This includes current NBC broadcast series and older NBCU shows and movies—and yes, ads.

The Premium tiers open up the entire Peacock catalogue and include next-day drops of broadcast episodes from NBC series and Peacock originals. Most interestingly, at least for late-night talk show fans, Peacock Premium will drop new Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Late Night with Seth Meyers episodes three-and-a-half hours before broadcast.

Get Peacock

Peacock vs. the competition

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ServicePriceCustomer ratingStreamsResolutionCompatible devicesDetails
PeacockFree–$9.99/mo.N/A31080p, 4K10+View plans
Netflix$8.99–$15.99/mo.4.327/51–41080p, 4K14+View plans
Hulu$5.99–11.99/mo.4.368/521080p, 4K13+View plans
Prime Video$8.99–$11.99/mo.4.247/531080p, 4K13+View plans
Disney+$6.99/mo. 4.460/541080p, 4K13+View plans
Apple TV+$4.99/mo.4.201/561080p, 4K7+View plans
CBS All Access$5.99–$9.99/mo.4.306/521080p12+View plans
HBO Max $14.99/mo. N/A31080p10+View plans

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Peacock’s tech specs are similar to other major on-demand streaming outlets, but it only has an ad-supported paid tier in common with Hulu and CBS All Access. But, according to NBCUniversal, Peacock’s ad load is a relatively light five minutes per hour (if you believe the suits).

Shows and movies on Peacock

Peacock on-demand shows and movies

NBCUniversal’s library of TV shows and movies is deeper than you might think. It’s not just NBC shows on the TV side; it also includes cable networks USA, Syfy, Oxygen, Bravo, E!, CNBC, MSNBC, and Universal Kids.

Peacock will also feature some live news and sports, like Premier League soccer and the 2021 Olympics.

On the movies side, Peacock draws not only from NBCU brands DreamWorks, Focus Features, and Universal Pictures but also from rival Paramount, thanks to a licensing deal struck before its national launch. In non-biz terms, this means both The Godfather and the Fast & Furious franchises coexist on Peacock—whoa.

Shows on Peacock (partial list):

  • The Office (January 2021)
  • Parks and Recreation
  • 30 Rock
  • Friday Night Lights
  • Saturday Night Live
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • Law & Order franchise
  • Downton Abbey
  • Below Deck
  • Southern Charm
  • House
  • Cheers
  • Frasier
  • Heroes
  • Parenthood
  • Psych
  • Saved by the Bell
  • The Bad Girls Club
  • Snapped
  • All current NBC series

Movies on Peacock (partial list):

  • Fast & Furious franchise
  • The Godfather trilogy
  • Bourne trilogy
  • Bridesmaids
  • Knocked Up
  • E.T.
  • American Psycho
  • The Blair Witch Project
  • Moonrise Kingdom
  • Schindler’s List
  • Robin Hood
  • Liar Liar
  • Meet the Parents
  • Lost in Translation
  • Reservoir Dogs
  • Ray
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Shrek
  • Trolls World Tour
  • Despicable Me

Peacock original shows and movies

Peacock has a few exclusive originals up its feathered sleeve, like Psych 2: Lassie Come Home (the second sequel to the USA series), A.P. Bio (a comedy continuing from NBC), and modern-day Saved by the Bell and Punky Brewster reboots.

It’s not all refurbished and borrowed sitcoms though. There are also some heavy dramas, like Brave New World (based on the 1932 dystopian-society novel), The Capture (an international conspiracy thriller), and government workplace comedy Intelligence (starring Friends’ David Schwimmer). It’s a small lineup, but Peacock plans to kick up production in 2021.

Peacock original shows
(some arriving 2021):

  • Psych 2: Lassie Come Home
  • A.P. Bio
  • Saved by the Bell
  • Punky Brewster
  • A.P. Bio
  • Brave New World
  • The Capture
  • Intelligence
  • In Deep with Ryan Lochte
  • Lost Speedways
  • The Amber Ruffin Show
  • Angelyne
  • Dr. Death
  • Caso Cerrado
  • Girls5Eva
  • Rutherford Falls

Combine Peacock with another streaming service

Peacock doesn’t do it all, so you might want to beef up your viewing options by adding another app to your entertainment lineup.

Swipe Left to See All →
YouTube TV
$64.99/mo.
HBO Max
$14.99/mo.
Hulu
$5.99–11.99/mo.
Get over 84 live TV channels and unlimited DVR space for just $64.99 a month.Watch every show from the HBO library, plus blockbuster movies and Max Originals.Check out next-day network shows from FX and many other channels, plus original content.
YouTube TV reviewHBO Max reviewHulu review

Peacock specs and features

NBCUniversal video apps, like those for NBC and Syfy, have always been fresh and functional—Peacock is no exception. There aren’t many bells and whistles, but it works well enough.

Peacock number of streams vs. the competition

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ServiceIncluded streamsUpgradesOffline downloads
Peacock3NoneYes
Netflix1–4Varies by planYes
Hulu2NoneYes (Hulu No Ads, $11.99/mo.)
Prime Video3NoneYes
Disney+4NoneYes
Apple TV+6NoneYes
CBS All Access2NoneYes
HBO Max3NoneYes

Three simultaneous streams is the unspoken industry standard, though we’re still unsure why Hulu and CBS All Access are so stingy with just two. What’s one more? Let our mother-in-law in the guest house have her Criminal Minds reruns already.

You can also set up different user profiles on Peacock and create a dedicated “kids mode” account too.

HBO Max supported devices vs. the competition

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DevicePeacockNetflixHuluPrime VideoDisney+Apple TV+CBS All AccessHBO Max
Amazon Fire Cube
Amazon Fire TV
Amazon Fire TV Stick
Android phones and tablets
Android TV
Apple TV (4th gen.)
Apple TV 4K
Chromecast
Echo Show
iPhone and iPad
LG TVs
Nintendo Switch
NVIDIA SHIELD
PC and Mac Web browsers
PlayStation 3
PlayStation 4
Roku
Roku Express
Samsung TVs
Wii
Xbox 360
Xbox One

As we’ve mentioned, there’s still no Peacock love for Roku and Amazon Fire TV users. We’re sure this will get worked out at some point, but leaving so much of the streaming customer base hanging at launch is a baffling move (and we haven’t forgotten about you, HBO Max).

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Peacock video and audio quality

Rectangles, tabs, and channels—oh my! For a largely on-demand service, Peacock’s interface looks a lot like a cable TV setup. Maybe it didn’t want to confuse Xfinity customers (who were given access to Peacock months ahead of the rest of the country).

Peacock's home screen

In addition to the usual along-the-top tabs—which include a YouTube-like “Trending” section—there’s a tab for a grid of 21 “channels,” which are really just endless loops of shows. Peacock features channels dedicated to NBC News, The Tonight Show, Saturday Night Live, and ‘80s classics, among 17 others.

Peacock channels

There’s not much of a learning curve with Peacock’s interface, as it’s light on features and options—which is good or bad, depending on your level of tech tolerance. On a purely aesthetic note, we’re not sold on the choice of yellow highlighting. With so many colors on a peacock, why go with the most obnoxious one?

Peacock’s audio is standard 2.0 stereo, though some shows and movies stream in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound—like megabudget action flicks, where it sounds and feels like you’re right in the middle of whatever disaster The Rock is battling against.

Final take: Is Peacock worth it?

While the anticipation and excitement level for Peacock was nowhere near that of Disney+ or HBO Max, it still has plenty to offer. It’s more in-line with CBS All Access and Apple TV+: nice but probably not essential (though Battlestar Galactica fans may strongly disagree).

But, for the price, Peacock is worth checking out—the free tier alone gives you thousands of viewing diversions, many you can’t get anywhere else. It won’t be your sole source of entertainment (at least not yet), but Peacock is a solid addition to your app lineup.

Besides, you’re more than a little curious about what Punky Brewster is up to now, right?

Get Peacock

Peacock FAQ

How much does Peacock cost?

There are three levels to Peacock, and all of them are cheaper than most other on-demand streaming services.

  • Peacock (free with ads): A no-cost, ad-supported tier with access to half of Peacock’s library (7,500+ hours of content), including next-day streams of current NBC series and older NBCUniversal shows and movies.
  • Peacock Premium (with ads): A $4.99/mo. ad-supported tier with access to all of Peacock’s library (15,000+ hours of content), including next-day streams of current NBC series, older NBCUniversal shows and movies, and Peacock original content.
  • Peacock Premium (no ads): A $9.99/mo. ad-free tier with access to all of Peacock’s library (15,000+ hours of content), including next-day streams of current NBC series, older NBCUniversal shows and movies, and Peacock original content.

Does Peacock stream live TV?

Peacock streams live news programs from NBC, Sky News, MSNBC, and CNBC, as well as rebroadcasts and curated news briefs.

Peacock will also stream some live sports, including Premier League soccer, Ryder Cup golf, and the 2021 Olympics.

Does Peacock stream local channels?

Unlike CBS All Access, which livestreams over 150 CBS local channels in select markets, Peacock doesn’t carry any NBC local affiliate stations.

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Bill Frost has been a journalist and TV reviewer since the 4:3-aspect-ratio ’90s. His pulse-pounding prose has been featured in The Salt Lake Tribune, Pacific Northwest Inlander, Coachella Valley Independent, Salt Lake City Weekly, and many other dead-tree publications. In addition to his CableTV.com work, Bill is a senior writer and streaming TV columnist at SLUGMag.com. By night, Bill cranks a Flying V with his band at the bar.

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