Peacock is getting live TV to draw in cord-cutters — but there's a catch

The Peacock app
(Image credit: Future)

Peacock is getting new live TV programming in a move that will help it both attract users and catch up with the competition. There's just one issue — live TV won't be available to all Peacock subscribers, only those who are truly paying the most.

The Comcast-owned streaming service announced today (Nov. 8) that Peacock "will soon have 24/7 access to watch their local affiliate station through a channel on their Peacock homepage." But that's only if they're Peacock Premium Plus subscribers, meaning they pay for the $10/month ad-free tier of the streaming service. 

Some users will get this live feed before others, but live NBC channels will be available in all of the 210 NBC affiliate markets, starting on November 30. The entirety of your local NBC channel will not just unlock live sports, but local news and weather, NBC's prime-time lineup, Saturday Night Live, Today and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Those who have the $5 per month Peacock Premium or the free tier of Peacock will probably be getting suggestions to upgrade if they want live streaming.

Analysis: Peacock catches up to Paramount Plus — and helps cord-cutters

While we think Peacock is one of the best streaming services, this is exactly the kind of feature it needs to stay there during increased competition.

This move for NBC makes a world of sense, as Paramount Plus already uses live local CBS stations to lure people into its $9.99 per month tier. Much like how Peacock Premium gives away the NFL live stream for Sunday Night Football in its $4.99 tier, Paramount Plus also includes CBS-broadcast NFL and UEFA Champions League games in its $4.99 tier.

This all makes the delay in the decision to offer live NBC on Peacock something of a peculiarity. One has to assume there's something not-obvious at play, such as a long-term contract whose details aren't public.

If customers are willing to get NBC and/or CBS this way, these offers may be enough to pry some subscribers away from Sling TV. One of the best cable TV alternatives, Sling TV's entry-level price bumped up to $40 per month (from $35 per month) recently. That said, Sling TV Blue (which has NBC, and not CBS) has local Fox networks — and there's no service like Peacock or Paramount Plus that's offering Fox yet.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.