(Pocket-lint) - NBCUniversal has launched its video streaming service, Peacock. It's designed to offer cord-cutters a slate of big-budget original series from showrunners who have previously worked with NBCUniversal, but it also carries TV shows and movies from the company's Universal arm, sports, and more.

Peacock, therefore, directly competes with other streaming services from popular US networks, such as CBS All Access, Showtime, HBO Now, and Disney+. Here's everything you need to know about it, including how much it costs and which countries and devices you can access it from at launch.

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What is Peacock?

Peacock is a new video streaming service that draws on NBCUniversal's wide swathe of properties. At launch, you can use Peacock to watch 20,000 hours of original programming, as well as dramas, comedies, news, sports, unscripted TV, kid-friendly content, Spanish-language content, curated channels, trending highlights, and "timely and timeless moments" like the 2021 Olympic games and 2020 election coverage.

Key features

The "preview" version of Peacock was limited, and NBCUniversal hasn't yet detailed every feature of Peacock. But we do know it'll offer parental controls managed by a PIN, and you can use up to three devices to stream Peacock simultaneously from a single account. It won't support family member profiles at launch, but NBCUniversal promised the feature alongside mobile downloads for those who are Premium subscribers.

Why is it called Peacock?

NBCUniversal said the name Peacock is a "nod to NBC’s iconic logo" as well as "NBCUniversal’s rich legacy of creating beloved films, TV series, characters, and franchises that have been at the epicenter of pop culture and will continue to define the future of entertainment".

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What can you watch on Peacock?

Peacock will offer original programming and plenty of hits from "the vaults of NBC", including The Office and Parks and Recreation.

Here are three "takeaways" NBCUniversal is really promoting:

  • Original dramas: Including Battlestar Galactica reboot from Sam Esmail; Dr. Death Starring Alec Baldwin, Jamie Dornan, and Christian Slater; Brave New World featuring Demi Moore; Armas de Mujer from the team behind Telemundo’s La Reina del Sur
  • Classic comedies: Including Parks and Recreation and The Office, which will run exclusively on Peacock. Additionally, 30 Rock, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Cheers, Everybody Loves Raymond, Frasier, Saturday Night Live, Will and Grace, King Of Queens’ and Married With Children.
  • Original comedies from Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Lorne Michaels, Mike Schur, Ed Helms, Jada Pinkett Smith, Rashida Jones, and Tracey Wigfield.

In terms of shows, you can expect NBC classics like 30 Rock, Bates Motel, Battlestar Galactica, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Cheers, Chrisley Knows Best, Covert Affairs, Downton Abbey, Everybody Loves Raymond, Frasier, Friday Night Lights, House, KUWTK, King Of Queens, Married…With Children, Monk, Parenthood, Psych, Royal Pains, Saturday Night Live, Superstore, The Real Housewives, Top Chef, and Will and Grace.

Peacock will also feature blockbusters and acclaimed films from Universal Pictures, Focus Features, DreamWorks Animation, Illumination, and Hollywood’s biggest studios. These movie titles will include: American Pie, Bridesmaids, Knocked Up, Meet the Parents, Meet the Fockers, A Beautiful Mind, Back to the Future, Brokeback Mountain, Casino, Dallas Buyers Club, Do the Right Thing, Erin Brockovich, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Field of Dreams, Jaws, Mamma Mia!, Shrek, The Breakfast Club, and franchises like Bourne, Despicable Me, and Fast and Furious.

Peacock will also stream nearly all of the shows from Dick Wolf’s Wolf Entertainment, including Law and Order, Law and Order: SVU, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, and Chicago Med. Finally, Telemundo, a major Spanish-language network, will even be available on Peacock. You can expect 3,000 hours of Telemundo, including popular titles like 100 Dias Para Volver, Betty in NY, El Baron, and Preso No. 1.

Does Peacock have originals?

Yes. Peacock offers original programming. Universal Pictures is even developing original films and animated series for Peacock. DreamWorks Animation will also create originals for the streaming service.

The following titles have been announced so far:

Original dramas

  • Dr. Death: Based on a podcast starring Jamie Dornan, Alec Baldwin, and Christian Slater.
  • A Battlestar Galactica reboot. It's coming from Mr. Robot producer Sam Esmail
  • Brave New World: Based on the dystopian novel by Aldous Huxley and starring Alden Ehrenreich (Solo: A Star Wars Story) and Demi Moore
  • Angelyne: A limited series from Emmy Rossum.
  • One of Us Is Lying: Based on the New York Times best-selling mystery-thriller.
  • Hatching Twitter series: It tells the “tale of betrayed friendships and high-stakes power struggles that accompanied the meteoric rise of the infamous tech company,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. It “will explore the real masterminds behind it all, how it was done, and the colossal ramifications the technology will have on our future.”
  • Division One: A "coming-of-age comedy about an underdog women’s collegiate soccer team that gets a new female coach - a former professional soccer player who’s fallen from grace - and must decide whether or not they’re going to take the risk of trying to be great.”

Original comedies

  • Rutherford Falls: Co-created by Mike Schur, Ed Helms, and Sierra Teller Ornelas, and starring Ed Helms.
  • Straight Talk: From Rashida Jones and Jada Pinkett Smith
  • A reboot of Saved By the Bell from Tracey Wigfield (30 Rock), featuring Elizabeth Berkley and Mario Lopez.
  • Punky Brewster: Starring Soleil Moon Frye as a grown-up version of her character
  • A new season of A.P.Bio starring Glenn Howerton and Patton Oswalt
  • A second movie spinoff from the long-running series Psyc.
  • The Adventure Zone is a "side-splitting and heart-filled fantasy animated comedy series that follows an unlikely, poorly equipped trio and their beleaguered Dungeon Master as they reluctantly embark on a quest to save their world.”
  • MacGruber: After sitting in prison for a decade MacGruber is out and finds himself facing down Brigadier Commander Enos Queeth. All characters from the original film appear to help save the world.
  • Clean Slate: A Norman Lear’s comedy about a Southern car wash owner who reunites with his estranged child, a trans woman named Desiree, played by Laverne Cox.
  • Expecting: Mindy Kaling stars as an independent woman named Ellie who becomes a mother with her gay best friend, Jonathan. Ellie asks Jonathan if he’ll donate his sperm, and they tackle becoming a family together.
  • Girls5Eva: A new Tina Fey-produced show about a 90s girl group that reunites.

Original unscripted

Peacock will feature unscripted programming, including:

  • Who Wrote That: A new Saturday Night Live docuseries from creator Lorne Michaels, exploring the famous personalities in front of and behind the camera.
  • An original talk show series from Jimmy Fallon in collaboration with Matador Content and Universal Television Alternative Studio.
  • A weekly late-night show starring Amber Ruffin and produced by Seth Meyers
  • And a spinoff of Bravo’s The Real Housewives franchise.

Original Spanish-language content

  • Armas de Mujer, a new series from the makers of La Reina del Sur
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Which devices support Peacock?

The "preview" version of Peacock was only available to stream through Comcast's own platforms on either an X1 box or a Flex streaming box. However, following the nationwide launch on 15 July 2020, Peacock is now available to watch on the following devices:

  • Desktop browser: Peacocktv.com
  • Apple devices: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple TV 4K, Apple TV HD, and the Apple TV app. You'll be able to sign up for Peacock or upgrade your membership with in-app purchases as well.
  • Google devices: Android phones and tablets, and Android TV devices, Chromecast, and Chromecast built-in devices. If you sign up through Android and Android TV, you get free access to Peacock Premium until 15 October.
  • Xbox One consoles: Microsoft's Xbox One family of devices, including Xbox One S and Xbox One X. You can even get it from the Microsoft Store. You'll be able to sign up for Peacock or upgrade your membership with in-app purchases on Xbox.
  • Sony consoles: PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro consoles (from 20 July 2020).
  • Smart TVs: Vizio SmartCast TVs and LG Smart TVs.

Notably absent at launch is Roku and Amazon Fire TV devices.

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How much does Peacock cost?

Peacock is available in three tiers:

  • Peacock Free: A free option that comes with limited programming. It consists of 7,500 hours of programming, including next-day access to current seasons of NBC shows, Universal movies, SNL, Vault, and Family Movie Night.
  • Peacock Premium with Ads: An ad-supported version that is free to existing Comcast customers and $5-a-month for everyone else. It includes everything Peacock Free has, but also live sports and early access to late-night shows. Comcast and Cox cable subscribers will get free access to Peacock Premium with ads, or they can pay just $5 per month for an ad-free version.
  • Peacock Premium: A $10-a-month (or $100 annually) ad-free subscription option that is open to everyone. This tier combines the two earlier tiers, ditches the ads, and includes non-televised Premier League soccer games.

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

After launch, Peacock offers a seven-day free trial standard for any new signups to either premium tier. If you sign up for the service through the Peacock Android app or another Google platform, Peacock is offering an extended free trial until 15 October for the ad-supported level of Peacock Premium.

By comparison, Hulu is $5.99 a month with ads and $11.99 a month ad-free. CBS All Access charges $5.99 per month with advertising or $9.99 for the ad-free version. Netflix, which has no ads, offers its cheapest tier at $8.99 a month. There's also a $12.99 plan that's popular. Then there's Apple TV Plus ($4.99 a month), Disney+ ($6.99 a month), and HBO Max ($14.99 a month), none of which include advertising.

Does Peacock require a cable subscription?

Peacock doesn't require a cable subscription. You can even watch it for free with the Peacock Free plan.

Does Peacock support 4K?

Peacock won't support high-end formats at launch, including 4K resolution, high dynamic range, and Dolby Atmos. But they are coming.

When can you try Peacock?

NBCUniversal launched a "preview" of Peacock on 15 April 2020 for Xfinity X1 and Flex customers. It launched for everyone else in the US on 15 July 2020.

Where is Peacock available?

Peacock is available nationwide in the US. An international expansion is planned, but NBCUniversal hasn't detailed a timeline. Peacock's user interface is English only, though it does support any language audio or subtitles tracks.

Writing by Maggie Tillman.
Sections TV