Peacock Streaming Service Review

As part of IGN’s State of Streaming event, we’re taking a fresh look at the major streaming services and what they offer subscribers in 2022. You can check out our initial thoughts on the Peacock streaming platform as of 2020, and see what’s changed (for better or worse) in this updated review.

While certain streaming heavyweights have been around long enough to get their driver’s license, Peacock has barely finished teething. Launched in 2020 as a sort of dumping ground for NBC content, Peacock’s greatest selling point was that it was the new home of “The Office” – and yes, that meant it was clawing that prize back from Netflix. This was met with the kind of groans you’d expect; in short, it was not a very exciting proposition, and many people were bummed to find they needed to shell out for yet another streaming app.
But the last two years have been kind to our feathered friend. Peacock has all but abandoned its free-to-watch ambitions, expanded its catalog of original content, and carved out a niche for itself as the home for WWE, Bravo, Real Housewives, and more programs with cult followings. Oh, and it has The Office.

Peacock’s TV Shows and Movies

While its selection is still relatively modest compared to heavyweight competitors like Hulu, HBO Max, and Netflix, Peacock has carved out a niche by bringing together some of the most fiercely loyal fanbases around. Its catalog has a large variety of reality television and sitcoms, a small but interesting collection of originals, and a robust WWE hub. It also has a smattering of live sports, including golf, rugby, Premier League games, and NFL games.
That ever-expanding list of original movies and TV shows includes The Resort, Meet Cute, Vampire Academy, Below Deck: Down Under, Vengeance, and Love Island: USA, among many others. It also features one of the funniest shows on any streaming platform: MacGruber.

Peacock shines brightest through the aforementioned NBC sitcoms, which include the full runs of The Office, Psych, Parks & Rec, 30 Rock, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and Modern Family, to name just a few. It doesn’t stop there – Peacock has created exclusive extended episodes with new bonus scenes, which it has lovingly dubbed “Superfan Episodes.” There’s also a bizarre 24-hour broadcast channel called “Office Shorts,” which is filled with – you guessed it – clips from The Office. And because NBC Universal owns Peacock and The Office, there’s little risk that any of this will disappear from the service anytime soon.
On top of that, it also includes a slew of hidden non-comedic gems, such as Trey Edward Shults’ 2019 drama Waves, Robert Eggers’ 2022 film Northman, or the incredible and riveting horror mystery The Invitation, also from this year. That’s a strength that isn’t played to, though; many of these will likely remain hidden as Peacock’s interface doesn’t do a great job surfacing them.

Peacock’s User Interface

Peacock’s interface is similar to many of the others we’ve seen, consisting of a large carousel of featured content at the top and individual-themed lockers, like “True Crime Junkies” and “Drama Kings & Queens” below. But in 2022, Peacock is also uniquely stark and static by comparison. There are no auto-playing videos on the homepage, a vast majority of its lockers are manually curated (not algorithmic), and there’s no way to tell Peacock that Leeds United is your favorite Premier League team so that you’ll see more about them and less about Manchester United.
Its interface is also slightly different depending on which device you use. For instance, on all devices, there is an important toggle button that filters between on-demand videos and a sort of TV-lite broadcast network called “Channels.” On the iPad, this toggle floats near the bottom of the screen. But on a desktop in a browser, it’s situated in a row alongside the top navigation—which is doubly confusing because the toggle functions differently than the buttons it sits alongside.
When you repeatedly run into these tiny nuisances as you use the app their effect is cumulative.
There are a number of small ways the interface irritates like this. On the browser, you must press search and then click the actual search bar before you can start typing in your search. Switching between Browse and Channels occasionally takes a weirdly long time to populate. Returning to on a browser nearly always required me to log back in, no matter how little time had passed. Search is separated between “Results” and “Clips” – which is confusingly worded and unintuitive. When you click a special “Extras” button on a show or movie, all you’ll often find is a trailer. Again, this is all minor stuff, but when you repeatedly run into these tiny nuisances as you use the app their effect is cumulative.
Peacock’s Price

Peacock is among the cheapest streaming services around, weighing in at $4.99 a month for its ad-supported plan (Plus) or $9.99 for its ad-free plan (Premium Plus). There’s also a current deal to get 12 months of Plus for $1.99 a month. Customers of Comcast (which owns Peacock and NBC) and eligible partners like Cox and Spectrum can also access Peacock Premium at no additional cost.
You can sign up to watch 10,000 hours of select (admittedly limited) Peacock programming for free
But you can also sign up to watch 10,000 hours of select (admittedly limited) Peacock programming for free – and best of all, you never even need to give them your credit card. While the free content is limited to a small percentage of movies and pilot episodes, it is an excellent way to get a feel for the app.
This seems like the right time to point out that I completely and utterly hate ads – there’s rarely an ad-free plan I won’t sign up for given the opportunity. But even I had to admit that Peacock’s ad-supported plan is pretty unintrusive – a 30-minute episode of MacGruber gave me only one or two 60-second ads. But this really depends on the show you’re watching, as Chicago P.D. had four ad breaks in a single 42-minute show and The Voice had a staggering 10 ad breaks in its 84-minute season premiere.
This story originally appeared on: IGN - Author:Nic Vargus

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