5 Things to Know Before You Download the Free NBC App

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There’s something different about the NBC app compared to similar apps from ABC, CBS and FOX — and it’s good for cord cutters

I tested out the free NBC app and discovered why it still may be worth downloading, even as NBCUniversal is putting more energy into the Peacock streaming service.

In this article and the video below, I review the five things to know about the NBC app. Let’s get started!

1. What Does the NBC App Offer?

The NBC app features live and on-demand content from NBCUniversal’s networks, including NBC, Bravo, E!, Oxygen, MSNBC and USA.

You’ll need to sign in with a pay TV provider (cable, satellite or a live TV streaming service) to view live feeds of NBC and its cable networks, but there is one exception. NBC News Now is free to all users.

A pay TV login gives you access to all of the on-Remember: If it’s an NBC show, you can always wait eight days for it to be unlocked or check Peacock to see if it’s available on the free tier.

All NBC shows are available next day with Peacock Premium, and 24/7 access to your local NBC station is available with Peacock Premium Plus.

4. Is There Any Other Free Content?

The NBC app features a Watch for Free section on its home screen to quickly identify content that doesn’t require a pay TV login.

Titles include Law and Order, Debris, Dateline, Young Rock, House and more. But don’t expect to find every episode of any particular series.

I found that sometimes an entire season is unlocked, but other times it’s only five episodes or less.

What’s locked and what’s unlocked can get complicated, but it’s more straightforward for the newest NBC shows that are in their first season.

For those shows, the latest episodes are all unlocked. 

5. How Bad Are the Ads?

The on-demand content that I’ve streamed from the NBC app has a relatively high number of ads, whether that’s shows from NBC or one of the NBCUniversal cable networks.

Using the NBC app, I streamed an episode of Dateline and jotted down the ads. Each break was two minutes long.

That same episode of Dateline was also available on Peacock with half the ads.

Since its launch, Peacock has said it will carry five minutes of ads or less per hour, even on the free tier. 

So if a show is on the NBC app and Peacock, I would stream it on Peacock for fewer ads.

Final Thoughts 

A lot of people who streamed the NBC app in the past have probably made their way over to Peacock — and that’s not a bad thing.

Peacock has a lot more content and a better user experience.

But the NBC app is still relevant as long as it continues to offer those three credits and additional free content. 

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2 thoughts on “5 Things to Know Before You Download the Free NBC App”

  1. If you want to use a different email address than you originally signed up for, say because you got married and are closing out your old, old email account, you’ll have to create a new account. Yes, this means losing all your content and preferences. UGH!


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