Today NBCUniversal launched their new streaming service, Peacock. (The name comes from NBC’s long-running bird mascot in their logo.) I rarely get to talk about a new streaming service. They’re either totally subscription based like Disney+ or been around for a long time by the time I hear of it. Last night I just found out about a retro anime service called Retrocrush, part of a series of websites that hosts translated TV and movies from Japan, China, and Korea and I literally just learned about Popcornflix a minute ago. There are so many more streaming sites out there that we don’t know about.
So getting to talk about a new service on launch day is a bit new for me. I want to do a follow-up video once I’ve had more time to play with it but here are my initial thoughts and so far, as the title of this article indicates, it hasn’t exactly gone off without a hitch. There are a few issues that need to be addressed but overall, it’s not terrible.
Let’s address the first problem right now because it comes out the moment you try to watch anything. Even if you’re using the free tier only (more on that momentarily) you have to make an account. I have an account for Crackle but it wasn’t a requirement. I use Tubi pretty often and I don’t have an account. Having one does allow you to save your progress through a series or rate stuff but it shouldn’t be demanded of the service to get one when you aren’t going for the premium service. I guess they want to make sure they have an email box to spam. Honestly if it wasn’t for doing a review I probably wouldn’t have bothered, but it only wants an email and password. You also have to sign back in every time you close the window. Not the browser…the window. And sometimes if the site sits there long enough you’re logged out and have to log in again. If you don’t have the password saved on your browser (and that’s of course a PC/Mac option) you have to enter it in again. Hopefully this isn’t a problem for apps. Fine done, let’s watch something.
The show menu is honestly easier to use on the homepage than on the main page once you logged in. I wish more sites would just give you the A-Z listing immediately and if you want the popular list or latest episode list you could select it. You have to scroll down all the different categories and genres just to reach something. At the top of the screen you have channels (I’ll get to that as well), browse, and a few popular subcategories: TV, movies, kids, news, sports, and Latino. It’s the usual stuff. Some menus can also list all the premium shows. There is a tier for ad-sponsored access to the premium, which includes just Peacock exclusive shows and early access to new NBCUniversal station shows, and a higher one that just does away with ads altogether and plans to include download to mobile in the future. I’m not sure it’s worth it, but I do want to see Cleopatra In Space, the cartoon based on the Mike Hacklebeck comic series. So let me choose something I recognize. How about Wing Commander Academy. I never played the game but I used to watch the show and really like it.
Funny, I don’t remember the Kilrathi looking that cute. Okay, how about The New Adventures Of He-Man. For some reason that’s the only He-Man show up here which I can watch elsewhere as well but whatever.
What? I’m on a desktop with one monitor. If I disconnect it I won’t be able to watch anything. How does that work? I got this problem on Chrome and Firefox, so I figured something had to be wrong and originally this article was going to end there, plus noting some other complaints I saw on Twitter. Just for funzies I decided to give it one more try with Microsoft Edge, their replacement for Internet Explorer because they wanted to seem hip or something. For some reason this worked. Why did it work? You’re guess is as good as mine. The theory I put on Twitter was that they had an arrangement with Microsoft or something.
So I watched an episode of New Adventures Of He-Man and only had time to watch a few minutes of Wing Commander Academy. When you can find something to play it on the player works okay. I had no problem watching the episode and canceling the autoplay for the next episode since I didn’t have time to watch it. The browser games ate up most of my time. Finding shows is easy despite what I noted earlier about my preferences for going right to the A-Z list.
As far as their choices I was disappointed that not even half of Universal’s library is in here. There are a few nostalgic shows but it’s stuff like Airwolf, The Greatest American Hero, and Hunter, shows that have been everywhere though if they’re following Disney I’m betting they pulled them from the other services. The animated action shows are limited to the aforementioned He-Man and Wing Commander offerings, Exo Squad (which is also available in a lot of places, or was), and Legend Of The Dragon, a British-produced martial arts show. They have the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica but if you want to watch the original you have to go to NBC’s regular website. Actually, a lot of older shows that are up there should have been with Peacock at launch, like Buck Rogers. It’s odd to see so many of Universal’s shows over the years aren’t available anywhere, and that should have been there at launch. Disney got flagged for not using all of their library at launch and they had more to offer but less sources than NBCUniversal. The Universal family also included Universal Kids (which had a few offerings there), Telemundo, Bravo, SyFy, and USA Network. That’s a whole lot of shows. I thought Silk Stalkings would be there at launch but you have to find that elsewhere. At least they had Warehouse 13 I guess. This is mostly what I plan to go over in the follow-up video. I only skimmed the movie lineup.
Then there’s the streaming section. Xumo is owned by Comcast, which is also part of the family so I guess now they’re competing with themselves…except they don’t offer a lot of channels for the Peacock livestreaming. If you haven’t used Xumo or Pluto TV these are two of the livestreaming services that operate like cable. You have channels, hence the name of the section, and each is like its own network. You have channels dedicated to binging a particular series or franchise. In Peacock’s case you have one channel for each of their late-night shows, a few random choices, the obligatory 80s channel, the obligatory Fail Army and Bob Ross stream, and none of the obligatory kids channels. As it is the kids offering is a bit low on the on-demand side, and they have Care Bears of all shows on the Premium side. They don’t offer much and I wonder if they would offer it at all if not for Xumo, but having all those channels in one spot (which admittedly might require a different licensing) would have been nice.
What really has Twitter mad besides not being allowed to have a second (or in my case first, except on Edge) monitor is that so many Smart TVs and streaming boxes like Amazon Fire or the Roku box (Roku also has a PC/Mac browser streaming service that last I recall ALSO required an account just to use the darn thing…and I can find most of those shows on Tubi) do not have an app to use Peacock. Plus as noted only one browser can even play a video for me…except for some reason the trailers for that show will work so go figure. There are some major technical issues they have to deal with, but that’s not surprising for a new channel…except given how many people use Chrome and Firefox you’d think they would have tested it. The question to ask is whether or not the service is worth it. You need an account log in, part of their library is only available elsewhere and a lot of their back catalog isn’t available anywhere, including here. I’m not impressed with their original exclusives except for Cleopatra In Space but that’s just me. I’m sure the fans of Psyche are happy to see a new season of that show. I don’t know how often I’ll use this service but hopefully they’ll fix these flaws in the future and make it worth spending time, if not money, with. Right now, if you don’t want yet another account on the internet or spending the money on the premiums I would wait and see if the service improves. There’s some neat stuff there if you can run it but it’s not quite there yet.