Peacock, Amazon reach deal to add streaming app to Fire TV devices

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Angela Lang/CNET

Peacock — the partly free, partly paid streaming service from Comcast‘s NBCUniversal — is finally coming to Amazon’s Fire TV devices Thursday, more than a year after the app launched and one month before Peacock kicks off streaming the Olympics in the US. 

Amazon teased the news earlier on Twitter with a reference to The Office, one of the marquee titles that Peacock streams exclusively. 

In addition to adding Peacock to Fire TV and Fire tablets, the companies’ deal adds support for NBCUniversal’s network apps on Amazon’s platform, they said in announcing the deal Wednesday. NBCUniversal’s 15 network apps include NBC, Bravo, NBC News, NBC Sports and Telemundo.

Streaming surged in popularity during the pandemic, and Amazon’s Fire TV products are among the most popular devices to stream on televisions in the US. Rivaling Roku in scope, those two companies make up 70% of all the streaming devices installed in the US, and they reach more than 100 million active users between them. 

But rather than serving as neutral platforms for apps, Amazon and others like it have become more assertive in their talks with new streaming services in the last year. And media companies have grown more invested in reaping the greatest reward possible from their streaming bets, leading to impasses. HBO Max, for example, was missing from both Roku and Fire TV for months after its May launch.

Peacock is already available on a bevy of streaming TV devices, like Roku, Apple TV, Google’s Android TV and Chromecast, Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4. The Peacock app is also available on Vizio’s SmartCast TVs and LG Smart TVs, and the service can be viewed on mobile devices, too. 

Competing with the likes of NetflixDisney Plus and HBO Max, Peacock is yet another new service to roll out in the so-called “streaming wars,” when a flood of services spilled out from tech and media giants over roughly a year and a half. In the case of Peacock, it means even a traditional TV and cable company like Comcast is betting that the tide of cord-cutting won’t turn. 

Unlike its streaming service rivals, Peacock offers an always-free tier, which lets you sample about half its library with advertising. Peacock Premium, which unlocks the full catalog, is $5 a month or $50 a year with advertising, or you can upgrade to an ad-free version for $10 a month or $100 a year. 

The library has about 20,000 hours of shows, movies, news, sports, skit-style clips and exclusive big-budget original programming. 

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