Peacock without Roku and Amazon Fire TV? Top exec is OK with that

Comcast's new streaming service launches next week and has yet to announce a deal with the two most popular streaming platforms.

Eli Blumenthal Senior Editor
Eli Blumenthal is a senior editor at CNET with a particular focus on covering the latest in the ever-changing worlds of telecom, streaming and sports. He previously worked as a technology reporter at USA Today.
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Eli Blumenthal
Joan E. Solsman
3 min read

Peacock may launch without Roku or Amazon Fire TV. 


Comcast's Peacock is the latest entrant into the "streaming wars" and like AT&T's HBO Max before it, the new service could very well launch nationwide next week without apps on the two most popular streaming device platforms, Roku or Amazon Fire TV. And in an interview with CNET, the executive in charge of the Peacock says that's fine.

"When it comes to Peacock, we've got a very long-term strategy and vision for what we're bringing to market," said Matt Strauss, chairman of Peacock and NBCUniversal's Digital Enterprises. "It's not a sprint, it's a marathon for us.

"Our launch date on July 15, is our launch date," he continued. "We're in discussions with everybody ... we would like to have the app available on all platforms, but we're committed to launching on the date that we set forth." 

It's the latest example of brinkmanship between new streaming video services and the devices you use to watch them. Roku and Amazon Fire TV streaming devices and smart TVs are incredibly popular, with a combined 70% of the streaming player market and roughly 80 million active users between them. But rather than act as neutral platforms offering up channels, companies like Roku and Amazon have grown more aggressive in their negotiations with new streaming services, leading to impasses that have kept high-profile services from launching on their devices.

Nearly two months into its launch, HBO Max remains absent from Roku and Fire TV as well, with no signs of a deal appearing to be close. Peacock might very well announce its own deal in the next week but unless that happens, Roku and Fire TV users could miss out on two of the newest services at a time when streaming is more popular than ever.

Comcast has already announced deals to bring Peacock to Apple's iOS, iPad and Apple TV devices, Google's Android, Android TV and Chromecast devices and Microsoft's Xbox One. Comcast recently announced it also plans to make the app available at launch Vizio's SmartCast TVs and LG's Smart TV platform

Peacock, available since April to Comcast's Xfinity X1 and Flex users, has a few different tiers. The free tier has ads and access to "more than 7,500 hours of movies, shows, and timely live and on-demand programming" from Comcast-owned NBC and Universal plus other studios such as ViacomCBS. (Editors' note: CNET is owned by ViacomCBS.)

A $4.99 per month Peacock Premium option also includes ads, but increases the amount of content to nearly 20,000 hours, including access to Peacock-original shows and movies. For $9.99 per month you can get all of Peacock Premium but without the ads. 

Comcast Xfinity customers, as well as those on Cox's Contour platform, can get ad-free Peacock for no additional cost. 

Shows on the platform include reruns of NBC classics like 30 Rock, Saturday Night Live, Friday Night Lights and (in 2021) The Office, with the service also featuring current NBC fare like Chicago Fire, early access to The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and Late Night with Seth Meyers, Peacock originals like Brave New World and movies from Universal and ViacomCBS, including Reservoir Dogs, Catch Me If You Can, The Talented Mr. Ripley and American Beauty.