Peacock Review: The new streaming service from NBC actually isn’t bad. What’s more, it’s FREE! Find out more details here.
I'll admit I had a bit of a grudge against Peacock going into this review. They, of course, are the streaming service that took The Office away from Netflix. How DARE they!
From what I had heard about Peacock, it seemed like they didn't really have any big new shows. It also seemed like they were lacking some key features, like 4K streaming. My expectations overall were pretty low.
While some of these hangups ended up being true, Peacock, particularly their free service, innovates the streaming platform model in some really clever ways. You'll find certain features here that you won't find on Netflix or HBO Max. I've been pleasantly surprised by Peacock and find myself watching it much more often than I originally thought.
Keep reading this Peacock review to find out more.
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Peacock App Overview
Normally I start my reviews by highlighting the movies and shows on the platform. In this case, though, I find it necessary to bring up the app itself as it is what makes Peacock truly unique. When you first load up Peacock, you'll see three main sections- “Channels,” “Trending,” and “Browse.”
“Trending” is a section that highlights short clips from Peacock shows, mostly news programs and talk shows. For the most part, I'll leave this out of the review. I find the section really unnecessary and would prefer to watch this sort of short-form content on Youtube, Instagram, or Tik Tok.
The stars of the show are going to be “Channels” and “Browse.” “Channels” is a feature that has live programming in a manner that is very similar to Pluto TV. You'll find a range of channels from news, sports, cooking, and entertainment as well as channels dedicated to specific shows. There is even a Bob Ross channel, which has become my new bedtime soundtrack.
“Browse” takes you to the on-demand library of movies and shows. You're able to sort out everything by category. There is a huge selection of content that includes programs you might not find on other streaming services like news, sports, and talk shows. It's a little bit difficult to sort out the Peacock originals, as they are mostly sprinkled in with everything else. If you scroll for a while, though, you should find a “Peacock Originals” row.
Peacock Pricing and Plans
The great thing about Peacock is that most of their content is available for free. Once you create a login with a username and password, you are able to access the majority of the content on Peacock, albeit with ads. No credit card info is required either.
The “Channels” section is free in its entirety. Most of the non-original content is free to watch, and a surprising chunk of the Peacock Originals are as well (although in some cases it's just a few episodes worth).
To unlock the full range of content and features, they offer two paid membership tiers, Peacock Premium and Peacock Premium Plus.
Peacock Premium gives you access to all of the movies and shows that you can' t access with a free membership. Additionally, you get access to live sports like the Premier League and live events like WWE. Plus, you'll have next-day access to current NBC shows. Note that you'll still have ads with Peacock Premium. This plan costs $4.99/month.
If you'd like to remove ads, Peacock Premium Plus will remove… ahem… most of the them for $9.99/month. Much like Hulu's “ad-free” option, though, there are a handful of shows and movies that will still have ads. Those include the “channels” section, live events, and a “few TV shows and movies,” although they don't specify which ones. This plan also offers offline play for “select titles.”
Both Peacock Premium and Peacock Premium Plus offer a free, 7 day trial. Sign up for the trial here.
Customers of Xfinity can also get premium memberships at no additional cost. Xfinity customers can get your free membership here.
Whats On Peacock?
There is a somewhat decent line-up of acquired programming in Peacock's movie catalog. Much of their movie content rotates in and out. At the time of publication, big name hits like the Hobbit trilogy, the Harry Potter films, the Jason Bourne films, Bridesmaids, King Kong, Despicable Me, and American Pie are available.
Original movies are much more sparse. Aside from a movie sequel to the TV show Psych and some documentaries, there's not much to see.
The biggest standouts in the non-original category here are going to be large lineup of comedy shows. It's the exclusive streaming home for The Office (although seasons three and up require a Premium membership). You'll also find SNL, Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock, Two and a Half Men, Frasier, Modern Family, and King of Queens.
Original comedies include the Tina Fey-produced Girls5eva and Rutherford Falls. There are also modern reboots of Saved by the Bell and Punky Brewster.
Drama shows include Yellowstone, This is Us, and various iterations of Law and Order. Amongst their originals, the sci-fi adaptation Brave New World was meant to be a splashy marque show. It has failed to attract an audience, though, and will not be renewed for another season.
This content is rounded out with some reality shows such as the Real Housewives and Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
These remain a highlight of the service, in my opinion, and remain the same regardless of your membership level (including ads). Call me old-fashioned, but I miss being able to just select a channel and let it decide the shows for me. Much like Pluto TV, Peacock Channels do this work for you.
In addition to various news and sports channels (more details below) you'll get Peacock Reality, Classic TV, Classic TV Crime, LOL! Network, Tastemade, CNBC Ka-Ching, Dust, The Bob Ross Channel, and Rotten Tomatoes, to name a few. Shows like SNL, The Tonight Show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Unsolved Mysteries, and Law & Order get their own channels as well.
Peacock has become the streaming home to the Premier League in the United States, as well as Rugby and Indycar. The upcoming Tokyo Olympics will be streamed through Peacock as well. Most live events are only available through a Premium membership. Replays and highlights are available to watch for free either on-demand, or through the sports channels like NBC Sports or NBC Golfpass.
While calling it a “sport” might be generous, Peacock is the streaming source for WWE fans as well. You can watch live WWE matches with a premium membership or check out the WWE channel.
Live news can be found on the “Channels” section including the original, left-leaning network The Choice as well as NBC News NOW, TODAY All Day, Sky News, and Dateline 24/7. Shows like NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, Dateline, Meet the Press, and The Medhi Hasan Show can be viewed on-demand as well.
Peacock features two original “late night” talk shows, Wilmore and The Amber Ruffin Show. You'll also be able to watch on-demand episodes of the The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and Late Night with Seth Meyers. Jimmy Fallon even has his own Tonight Show channel as well.
Additional Features and Availability
One downfall of Peacock is the lack of certain key features that you can find on other platforms. There is currently no support for 4k resolution. You can't create multiple profiles for different family members (although they do have parental controls). Plus their offline play is seriously limited. You can only download certain shows to mobile devices if (and only if) you get a Premium Plus membership.
They do offer the ability to stream on up to three devices at once, but there's no ability to upgrade beyond that.
While Peacock is currently available on a wide range of platforms, be it Android or Apple mobile devices, various smart TVs, Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV, and game consoles, they are NOT available on Amazon Fire TV or Samsung TV. See the full list of supported devices here.
Peacock Review Wrap-Up and Final Thoughts
Overall, Peacock is a streaming service that is very hit and miss. They takes some bold risks and do things differently from other streaming services, which I appreciate.
In my opinion their free service is absolutely worth it and makes for a good alternative to apps like Pluto TV. There's plenty to watch here, especially sitcoms and live programming.
When it comes to their paid memberships, though, the lack of features and original content makes this streaming service very weak in comparison to Netflix or HBO Max. There simply is no competition until we see some improvements or new content.
Despite that, I could see myself splurging on the $4.99 tier if I really wanted to watch a show for a month or two. Plus fans of the Premier League or the upcoming Olympics will find this to be a must-have.
Peacock is a service that has a ton of potential. Time will tell if it truly gets to strut its feathers.
Shall I Stream It? Download and watch the free tier, but skip the paid ones for now.
Best for: Fans of NBC comedies, the Premier League, WWE, and the Olympics
Sign up for a free trial of Peacock Premium here
Xfinity customers can get Peacock Premium for FREE here