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Paramount Plus vs Peacock: Which Is Best If Only Subscribing To One?

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Paramount Plus and Peacock are two popular streaming services but which one should you go with if you need to make the choice? While it is fairly easy to make a decision between live TV streaming services, due to their differences in price and channels, choosing between on-demand subscription services can be a little harder. Still, there are enough differences between Paramount Plus and Peacock that can help to prioritize one service over the other.

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Paramount Plus launched in March of 2021 and brings together access to shows and content from multiple popular networks under the one subscription. This makes Paramount+ a good option for those that want access to select networks without a live TV subscription. The app is available to download on many of the most popular platforms and devices as well, making it an accessible service in general.

Peacock is slightly older then Paramount Plus considering it first launched in April of 2022. However, it was only initially available to Comcast Xfinity customers. That exclusivity period was short-lived, though, as Peacock became available on many other platforms a few months later. Since then, the streaming service has gone on to expand device support, as well as the content it offers to subscribers.

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If price matters, Peacock is free

Before actually digging into the details of the differences and which service is best, it is worth being aware that Peacock can actually be accessed for free. Led by services like Tubi and Pluto TV, free services have continually proved popular with consumers, and this trend has resulted in more free options becoming available. Peacock is no exception here, as the service has offered a free tier since the very beginning. As to be expected, the free level of access is significantly more limiting than the paid subscriptions. Still, it is something to keep in mind and especially considering Paramount Plus does not offer a free plan. Even when opting to pay for Paramount+ instead of Peacock, it still might be worth taking advantage of Peacock’s free tier.

While on the topic of price, and excluding the free tier, this is one area where the two services are largely identical. Both Peacock and Paramount Plus offer two main paid plans for consumers to choose from. With Paramount Plus, the choice comes down to the $4.99 Essential and the $9.99 Premium plans. With Peacock, the choice is between the $4.99 Premium and the $9.99 Premium Plus plans. With both paid plans for both services priced exactly the same, consumers won’t save anything each month by choosing one service over the other.

Likewise, the benefits of both plans for both services are also mostly the same. For example, both the Paramount Plus Essential and the Peacock Premium plans are offered at the discounted $4.99 monthly rate by utilizing ads. In addition, both the Paramount Plus Premium and the Peacock Premium Plus plans provide an ad-free experience in return for the higher $9.99 per month rate. It is worth being aware that even though these more expensive plans are advertised as ad-free, subscribers may still see some ads. Both services do caveat their commercial-free claims by explaining that there are times when ad-free customers will be exposed to ads. This may be the result of agreements for certain videos, or more simply, advertisements by the streaming services for their own content.

The real question is NBC or CBS?

Probably one of the easiest ways to make a decision between Paramount Plus and Peacock is to decide whether content from NBC or CBS is more important. After all, Peacock is owned by NBCUniversal and Paramount Plus is owned by Paramount (formerly ViacomCBS). While both services are certainly more than the sum of NBC and CBS, these are still integral elements of each service.

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For example, Peacock provides access to plenty of popular NBC shows. This is not only in terms of back catalog content, but also new shows and episodes as well – Premium and Premium Plus subscribers get next-day access to current NBC shows as part of their subscription. Due to this, any subscribers that want to keep up with the latest NBC shows, but don’t have a live TV subscription that includes NBC, a paid Peacock plan can be a good solution. This also applies to sports as well. Considering the NBC family of channels hold the rights to various sporting events, including English Premier League and the Olympics, Peacock provides good sports coverage. Similar to other streaming services, Peacock also includes access to some exclusive shows that are only available with a subscription.

Just like how Peacock focuses on NBC, Paramount Plus comes with a focus on CBS. Again, this not only means that many popular CBS shows are available to watch on-demand, but Paramount+ subscribers can also watch their local live CBS channel without a live TV plan. For reference, the ability to watch local CBS is specifically reserved for those signed up to the $9.99 Premium plan (or those still signed up to the no longer available ‘Limited Commercials’ plan). This focus on CBS also does mean that some sports programming is available to watch though Paramount Plus, including NFL, Champions League, and March Madness. Then there is the Viacom element. In addition to a focus on CBS, Paramount Plus brings together content from many other popular networks including Paramount Network, BET, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, MTV and Smithsonian Channel. Again, just like Peacock, Paramount Plus also provides access to its own exclusive shows and movies that can’t be streamed elsewhere, even with a live TV plan.

Paramount Plus vs Peacock summary

There are enough Paramount Plus and Peacock differences to make choosing between the streaming services easier, and especially for those that only want to pay for one subscription each month. Essentially, Peacock comes with a major focus on NBC and Universal content, and this includes live sports that are typically available to watch via the various NBC family of channels. Likewise, Paramount Plus leans heavily on CBS content, as well as shows and programming from other popular networks. Paramount Plus also provides access to some live sports as well.

One area where this isn’t much difference is in the price. Both Paramount Plus and Peacock offer two main plans that are priced exactly the same, and come with the same main benefits. However, Peacock does have the advantage of a free tier as well. Put simply, those paying for Paramount Plus can still watch some Peacock content for free, while those only playing for Peacock won’t be able to watch any Paramount Plus content at all.

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John Finn

By John Finn

John started Streaming Better to help consumers navigate the live TV streaming and subscription service landscape. John has been writing about technology and TV-related services and devices since 2014 and believes the best streaming approach is to bounce between services as needed. Contact John via email at john@streamingbetter.com or on Twitter

3 replies on “Paramount Plus vs Peacock: Which Is Best If Only Subscribing To One?”

I have Internet with Comcast. Do I need a smart TV for the streaming services? Also, how would I contact them to sign up for service?

If you have an Xfinity box, you can click the Xfinity button on your remote, then apps, then the Peacock icon. That’s what I’m doing to watch Yellowstone.

Years ago there was a show called “Resurrection Blvd.” Ran for 3 seasons. I believe it was a Paramount product. Would I find this show on Paramount Plus? Peacock? To jog some memories, the show was about a Latino family with a long history of boxing. Any help?

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