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Everything to know about NBC’s free new streaming service Peacock

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From subscription tiers to programming

a preview of peacock Image: NBCUniversal

A new contender has entered the streaming wars. Peacock, the new streaming service from NBCUniversal, launched on Wednesday, July 15 with a slate of classic shows and movies, currently running NBC series, and original programming exclusive to Peacock.

This isn’t NBCUniversal’s first attempt to carve out a space in the streaming landscape, however. Early deals with Hulu in 2006 made the site a destination for the network’s sitcoms. The company’s comedy-focused platform, Seeso, struggled to keep up with the giants like Netflix, and shuttered in 2017, selling much of its catalogue to the streaming platform VRV. With Peacock, NBCUniversal is branching out to feature more than just niche comedy, with beloved NBC dramas like Law and Order SVU streaming alongside sitcoms like The Office and 30 Rock.

Peacock’s main gimmick, though, is that it’s “free as a bird” to sign up for the base, ad-supported tier. With most streaming services offering base tiers that cost between $4.99 and $8.99 per month, some of them ad-supported, it’s a bold move to offer a completely free option.

Below, we break down everything you need to know about Peacock, from subscription options and supported devices to available content and channels.

So a Peacock subscription is really free?

Yep! NBCUniversal is offering a free, ad-supported version of Peacock with about 7,500 hours of content, including classic and current shows and movies. However, it won’t grant access to the platform’s full library of content, and will only include “select episodes” of original Peacock shows.

peacock homepage showing original series and NBC sitcoms Image: NBCUniversal

What does a paid Peacock subscription cost?

Peacock Premium costs $4.99 monthly and includes all 15,000 hours of content on the platform, as well as next-day access to currently running NBC shows. Like the free tier, Peacock Premium is ad-supported. A $5 per month upgrade will remove the ads on most content, bringing the monthly cost to $9.99.

Is there a Peacock Premium free trial?

Yes, Peacock is offering a seven-day free trial to new members.

What about Comcast Xfinity customers?

Comcast Xfinity X1 and Flex cable subscribers received free early access to Peacock Premium starting on April 15. That free access will continue after Peacock’s launch, as long as the Xfinity account is active. Xfinity subscribers with free Peacock Premium can also upgrade to the ad-free version for $5 per month.

Which devices support Peacock?

At launch, Peacock will be available on Android and Apple devices, Google Chromecast, Xbox One consoles, Comcast Xfinity X1 and Flex, LG Smart TVs, and Vizio SmartCast TVs.

On July 14, one day before launch, NBCUniversal announced that Peacock would be available on PlayStation 4 consoles starting the week of July 20.

As of this writing, Roku and Amazon devices do not support Peacock.

What’s streaming on Peacock?

Peacock boasts 15,000 hours of content at launch. That includes classic NBC sitcoms like Cheers, Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock, and, eventually, The Office, when it leaves Netflix in January 2021. SNL archives will also be available, as well as dramas like Friday Night Lights, Downton Abbey, and Monk. And Peacock Premium subscribers will have next-day access to currently running NBC shows.

Peacock is also planning a slate of original programming heading to the platform. Psych 2: Lassie Come Home, a movie spinoff of the beloved USA series, will be available at launch. A series based on Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World will also be on the platform when it launches. Reboots of both Punky Brewster and Saved By The Bell will be hitting the platform at some point, though Peacock chairman Matt Strauss confirmed that the coronavirus pandemic will push back a “significant” chunk of Peacock Originals into 2021. Other announced Peacock Originals include a thriller called The Capture, a prequel series of DreamWorks’ Madagascar featuring the zoo animals as kids, a spy comedy starring David Schwimmer, and a biopic about Hollywood mystery Angelyne.

What about the virtual channels?

In addition to the content available to stream on-demand, Peacock is offering virtual channels. Content are dedicated to specific formats like indie movies, genres like true crime, and even individual shows including Law and Order: SVU. Like a much more specific version of cable, the virtual channels will run 24/7.