While that's not to say Peacock is perfect, we're definitely at a point where many people now don't even think about canceling their Peacock subscriptions. This Peacock review will explain why that is, from Peacock's wide range of live events (both sport and pseudo-sport) to its occasional SNL streams, exclusive originals and solid back catalogue of films. Oh, and it has live news, too.
We'll also go over how Peacock could improve as it looks to stay important in 2022.
Peacock review: Price and availability
Peacock is available in three tiers, and while its pricing should be simple, it's a little confusing.
Price: Free | $4.99 | $9.99
Available: U.S. and certain U.S. territories
TV Shows: 345*
*On Peacock Premium as per JustWatch, as of Jan. 13, 2022
Unfortunately, there's a big old caveat for Peacock Premium Plus: it isn't completely ad-free. In Peacock's own words, "channels, live events, and some shows will still have ads."
Certain folks, including Xfinity Flex customers and Xfinity X1 owners, will get Peacock Premium for free.
Peacock review: Interface
If you've seen most modern streaming services, you won't be surprised by Peacock’s interface. You've got sections for Movies and TV at the top, a home page called Featured, the My Stuff section for things you've favorited, and two other sections. Peacock, much like Paramount Plus, stands out by offering sports (which has its own section). This contains live events, documentaries and sports-based TV shows. There's also the WWE on Peacock section, because Peacock became the exclusive U.S. distributor of the WWE Network, which presents Vince McMahon's sports entertainment live events and back catalogue.
The home page is fairly simple: you've got a carousel of promoted content, and below that a Continue Watching section for things you didn't finish. Unfortunately, you can't remove content from that list (a problem that other streaming services, such as Netflix and HBO Max, have faced and fixed).
Then, you've got a row of more promoted items (Peacock Picks) and then a "just added" section to remind you that Peacock isn't a static collection. Below that, you've got more and more rows of thematically grouped content. At the very bottom, as if you've run out of content, there's a Coming Soon row where you can preview what's up next.
One of the unique parts of Peacock is its Channels section, which apes traditional cable with a series of linear and sometimes live sets of networks and collected content. While you start out with NBC News Now, a channel for MSNBC's daily content and NBC Sports, a lot of the other content is collections of previously aired programming (including Below Deck, In It To Win It and Todd Chrisley-based content), giving you another way to "browse" the Peacock library. The live news is similar to what Paramount Plus gives you with CBS News and the rest feels like a sometimes-better version of the content you get on Pluto TV.
Frustratingly, I've found that the Channels section can be difficult to click around and navigate on even some of the best streaming devices (including the Apple TV 4K). Trying to navigate from live content to the grid-based guide doesn't always go too well.
The SNL Channel, Seth Meyers and The Office Channel don’t show full episodes, but rather clips and sketches from various seasons. For instance, once when I was watching the SNL Channel, it went from an '80s-era Eddie Murphy sketch to one with Adam Driver in a Del Taco audition. A few minutes later, it was showing Alec Baldwin’s Schwetty Balls sketch.
By not airing full episodes of SNL, Peacock presents a good way to avoid those late-in-the-show duds. But I wish the sketches were organized, rather than just being aired randomly.
At the moment, these “live” channels don’t support pausing, fast-forward, or rewind, but Comcast is planning to add these features, as well as playlists and skipping ahead or back between shows in a channel.
Movies and TV Shows
In each of these sections, you get what you'd expect: the recent releases that Peacock is promoting above groups of thematically similar content. At the very bottom, you've got A-Z sections. This situation isn't great or bad, just "typical."
I just wish Peacock presented the A-Z sections in a grid (as Paramount Plus does) and not a row. A row of four tiles that has all of the movies and shows in a service takes a long time to navigate.
Peacock review: TV Shows
For a while, Peacock's strength was primarily based on its collections of certain pillars of the NBC library. It's got The Office, Parks and Recreation, Cheers, a ton of Law & Order and 30 Rock (also on Netflix right now). Sometimes, Peacock offers live episodes of SNL, but it's not always going to happen.
But poking around you'll find a lot of stuff you may not associate with NBC. Those include Downton Abbey, the medical procedural House starring Hugh Laurie that aired on Fox, the USA Network's Monk and ABC's Modern Family.
And on top of that, Peacock has some truly coveted shows, such as Yellowstone. Yes, for some reason you need Peacock (and not Paramount Plus) to watch Yellowstone, a series that airs on the Paramount Network. Peacock's also got reality TV on tap, with editions of Bad Girls Club, Real Housewives and other hits.
In terms of new content, Peacock's been getting new episodes of This Is Us, New Amsterdam, Grand Crew, Keenan and Young Rock, close to when they air.
As for exclusive originals, often the major reason why people subscribe to services, Peacock has had some well-liked shows, such as Girls5Eva (which convinced a TG staffer to shell out money for Peacock) and the new Saved By The Bell revival. Still, though, Peacock is light on the big new hits, and still looking for its Stranger Things, or to a lesser extent its Ted Lasso.
Peacock review: Movies
There is a seemingly ever-growing depth to the films library inside of Peacock. Opening the app right now, I can see plenty of movies I love and would watch, including Snowpiercer, Winter's Bone (starring Jennifer Lawrence), The Replacements (starring Keanu Reeves), the modern action classic Bad Boys II, Good Will Hunting, Goodfellas and Lost In Translation.
Peacock also knows there's money in collections of movies. So it's got the Harry Potter films and The Matrix movies (save for Resurrections). It's also got some of the Scream movies, as well as the Fifty Shades and Karate Kid films, which are odd to see side by side.
Peacock doesn't have the kind of new original exclusive films that Netflix has, though. But considering its lower price, we're not shocked.
Peacock review: Supported devices
Here is the full list of Peacock's supported devices:
- Android phones and tablets running Android 6.0 and above
- iPhones and iPads running iOS 13/iPadOS 13 and above
- Amazon Fire TV devices and Fire Tablet devices
- Android TV
- Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD with tvOS 13 or above
- Chromecasts including Chromecast with Google TV
- Hisense VIDAA-powered devices
- LG Smart TVs with LG WebOS 3.5
- Roku devices
- Samsung Smart TVs from 2017 and later
- Vizio TVs with SmartCast 2.0 or 3.0 from 2016 and later
- Xbox One
- Xbox Series X
- Xbox Series S
- Cox Contour Box with Voice Remote and Contour Stream Player
- Xfinity XG1v1 (Arris), XG1v3, XG1v4, XG2v2, XiD, Xi3, Xi5, Xi6 and Xfinity Flex
- Web browsers including Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Safari
Peacock review: Sports and WWE
Peacock stands out with sports, and that includes everything from rugby to supercross, and it's even got Premier League live streams and NFL live streams. Heck, it's even going to be one of the homes of Super Bowl 2022. Peacock will soon host the 2022 Winter Olympics, which comes after its run hosting select Tokyo Olympics events including the Team USA Men's Basketball games. It even livened things up with an interesting series called Peacock's Tokyo Tonight.
And in addition to sports, Peacock has something called sports entertainment, the term that Vince McMahon's WWE branded itself as. Yes, it's not pro wrestling to them. While Peacock's acquisition of the WWE Network proved to be a rocky affair, things have more or less normalized. Almost forgotten are the days when the Comcast-owned service decided which of WWE's less appropriate moments were fit to stream, and stream reliability issues. Instead, WWE fans in the U.S. get to save on the $4.99 per month Peacock as opposed to the $9.99 WWE Network. Ardent WWE fans will tell you, though, that Peacock is terrible for finding specific old matches and navigating a PPV. It also organizes decades of WWE events such as WrestleMania by "seasons," where each year's edition is its own season. It's unfinished, to say the least, but it's all fans have without resorting to a VPN to use the WWE Network in another country.
Peacock review: Bottom line
Thanks to its enormous catalog of important TV shows such as Law & Order and The Office (and its exclusivity deal with WWE) Peacock is a must for some folks. It's similar to how Disney Plus is the place you go for Marvel, Disney and Pixar.
This Peacock review shows that while the service is still young, it is working on filling itself with must-stream TV and more. But while a big hit still eludes Peacock, its lower-than-Netflix price, vault and live content make for a compelling lineup (to at least some, if not many).