NBC is one of the handful of different networks that are getting into the streaming video business so they can offer their shows directly to viewers. Their Android app has been available for a while now but the update brings in the new live video streaming capability which is something that users had been asking for, and they listened, now having expanded their streaming of live TV shows as well as the already available feature for streaming recorded TV shows(otherwise known as on-demand)from the desktop website to their mobile app. First and foremost, you do not need or require a subscription to a cable TV service to use the application. You don't even need it to stream TV shows, not all of them at least.
The way the app works it seems, is that NBC has allowed streaming of some TV shows while not others if you don't have an account with a cable provider, while live streaming specific TV shows and regular streaming of some recorded shows will require the user to verify their cable provider account within the NBC app. You can see from the images below I was able to stream State of Affairs without issue. These are all recorded TV shows that have already aired and are not live. Other TV shows like NBC's popular sitcom Parks and Rec requires a verification of the cable provider account to stream, otherwise it only lets you play a short clip of the video. These were also recorded and not live streaming.
To expand on that once more, the live streaming feature, which is the new functionality of the app in this latest update, does require you to have cable service with a local provider and you will have to verify that account with the NBC app. Furthermore the app lists that the live streaming feature only works in select cities at the moment, so it may not work in your area right away. How do you know if the live streaming will work in your area? Simple, just install the app and try to live stream a show when it comes on. If you want to know immediately before giving that a shot, the app will only allow live streaming in locations where the NBC affiliate network is owned and operated by NBC, which includes L.A., San Francisco, New York City, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas-Fort Worth, Washington D.C., and Miami-Fort Lauderdale. If you don't live in one of those areas, the live streaming is apparently not supported for you at this time. If you do live in one of those areas and want to take advantage of the new feature, you can grab the NBC app from the widget below.