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NBC Peacock tips: How to get a 3-month free trial, find kids' shows and more

Check out the major Peacock features and tricks we've found, including navigation tips, parental controls and Rotten Tomato ratings.

Peacock: NBC streaming service with original content
Sarah Tew/CNET

NBC's new free streaming service Peacock launched earlier this month with over 20,000 hours of shows, movies, news, sports, curated channels, trending highlights and exclusive originals -- about two-thirds of which you can watch totally free. The platform is home to popular shows like Parks and Recreation and 30 Rock; movies like The Bourne Identity and Shrek; and a big back catalog of shows and movies from a variety of networks and studios. (Unfortunately, you won't find NBC's biggest hit show The Office on Peacock until January.)

Read more: Peacock review: A ton of free, ad-supported NBC content, but it doesn't work on every device

You can stream Peacock on Apple devices like the iPhone and Apple TV, Google devices like Android phones and Chromecast, Xbox One consoles, PlayStation 4 consoles, Vizio SmartCast TVs and LG Smart TVs. But at launch, you can't watch on popular Roku or Amazon Fire TV devices

Whether you're sticking to Peacock's free tier or you've subscribed to one of the premium tiers, check out the tips and tricks that we've found so far to help you get the most out of the new streaming service.

Choose which pricing tier is best for you

Peacock premium account monthly costs
Sarah Tew/CNET

Peacock's free tier includes about two-thirds of the entire catalog (about 13,000 hours of shows, movies, news and sports), with ads. The premium tier of Peacock costs $4.99 a month for the full catalog with ads. Paying $9.99 a month lets you watch the full catalog ad-free. If you want to upgrade to ad-supported premium or no-ad premium, Peacock makes it easy to compare the plans on your account page.

Both premium tiers are the same, except the no-ad plan, well, doesn't have ads. That plan will also give you the option to watch offline on mobile at some point in the future. Peacock also notes that due to streaming rights, some titles -- even if you've got no-ad premium -- will still have ads. It's easy to switch back to free and you'll still get to finish your free trial period.

If you sign up for the free tier, you can start watching right away and it's easy to upgrade to one of the others. It was a seamless transition to ad-supported premium and there's only about 30 seconds of commercials that Peacock marks with a little orange dot. In an episode of Parks and Recreation, for example, I saw only three commercial breaks. 

Read more: Peacock free vs. Premium vs. Premium Plus: Is an upgrade worth it?

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Get the best deal 

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Parks and Recreation is one of the most popular library titles that Peacock is streaming. 

NBC

If you're interested in trying out one of Peacock's premium tiers, you can get a longer free trial by signing up with an Android device. Instead of the seven-day free trial, you'll get three months of Peacock Premium for free. In addition, if you're already an Xfinity or Cox customer, you can watch the premium service for free, too.

Set up parental controls

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Although Peacock doesn't have the same reputation as HBO for adult shows, you still might not want your kids to roam free through its library. While it doesn't have the same size kids' catalog as Disney Plus or HBO Max, there are still lots of kid-friendly options. NBC's streaming service has five different customization options to make sure your family views age-appropriate content. 

Simply click the profile icon in the top right corner and choose Settings. From there, scroll down to Parental Controls and toggle it on. You can choose Little Kids, Older Kids, Family, Teen or Adult. Peacock will give a brief description about each age section, for example Older Kids offers programming for kids ages seven and up. Most of the show ratings will be TVY7, TVY7-FV, TVG and G. 

Make your selection and create a PIN. For example, if you choose to set your parental control setting to Family -- which includes TVPG and PG -- the PIN will be required before you can watch anything with that rating or rated higher.

Read more: Hulu vs. Peacock: Which streaming service is best for you?

Navigation 101

Peacock: NBC streaming service with original content
Sarah Tew/CNET

Peacock's Browse interface is set up like most streaming services. You'll be able to search by TV shows, movies, news, kids, sports or Latino. Free and premium content is mixed together: If you're using the free tier, you'll see the premium titles are marked with a purple tag. If you're in the News tab and select Browse, you can watch news segment clips and playlists of clips from news shows like Morning Joe, The Rachel Maddow Show and MSNBC.

Aside from Browse, you can also explore Channels, which lets you browse a TV Guide-style menu of clips or some shows that you can watch live. But be warned that these aren't regular TV channels -- for example, an Office Shorts channel just shows clips from the show, not full episodes. The same goes for the Saturday Night Live Vault channel. They're fun to flip through if you want to watch something quickly, but not the most effective for finding full episodes of shows.

Finally, the Trending tab lets you scroll through 10 tile-like pages that start autoplaying news, late night clips or sports highlights. It's kind of like flipping through 10 preselected YouTube clips. 

Rotten Tomato ratings

When searching for a good movie to watch (or one that's so bad, it's good), Peacock saves you a few steps by including the Rotten Tomato ratings right on the movie's page. You can see the Tomatometer percentage by clicking on the movie or hovering over it (on desktop). When I browsed Peacock's free film collection on my laptop, some movies didn't show a rating when I hovered over it. It looks like Peacock only promotes the rating if it's over 60%. 

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For more on NBC's Peacock, check out our guide on everything you need to know about prices, free trials, devices, shows and movies and what it means that Peacock launched without Roku and Amazon Fire TV.