Acorn TV Review




      Reasonably priced

      Original and exclusive content

      Four simultaneous screens


      Only 720p resolution

      No offline downloads

      Limited library


Acorn TV is a video-on-demand (VOD) streaming service that specializes in providing British, European and Oceanic programming. It also features original and exclusive content. If you’re a fan of British and international European TV, you’ll find plenty of shows and movies to enjoy. Its price is on the affordable side as far as streaming services go, and you’ll also receive an ad-free experience. However, you won’t be able to stream above 720p, which seems to be about average among other mid-level services. More comprehensive options such as Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Netflix tend to provide better streaming quality.

Acorn TV is a niche streaming service like BritBox, Sundance Now and ESPN+. It focuses on delivering an on-demand, specialized experience, so its library tends to be smaller and less broad than those offered by Amazon Prime Video, Hulu or Netflix. And unlike Hulu + Live TV or YouTube TV, it doesn’t provide access to live TV. So even though Acorn TV won’t be your all-in-one solution for cutting the cable TV cord, it gathers content you’ll be hard-pressed to find anywhere else and puts it all in one catalog.

What To Watch On Acorn TV

As a streaming service that counts international shows from Australia, Canada, France, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand and the UK in its catalog, Acorn TV constantly updates its archives, adding and removing content regularly. Don’t expect to find news and sports programming, but there are plenty of detective dramas, mysteries and original shows to strike your fancy. Content is categorized by Armchair Escapes, Binge Worthy, Comedy, Documentary, Drama, Feature Film, Foreign Language, Most Popular, Mystery and Only On Acorn TV. New content appearing this month includes Balthazar, Barristers, Blood, Deadwater Fell, Land Girls, Lovejoy, Murdoch Mysteries, Seachange and Vintage Roads Great & Small.

Acorn TV is home to several popular original series. RLJ Entertainment, Acorn TV’s parent company, owns the rights to Foyle’s War as well as a 64% stake in Agatha Christie’s estate, which gives Acorn TV access to several exclusive US premieres. Acorn TV original content includes titles such as Acceptable Risk, Agatha Raisin, Close to the Enemy, Detectorists, Finding Joy, Girlfriends, Keeping Faith, London Kills, Love, Lies & Records, Martin Clunes Manhunt, Miss Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries, Mystery Road, Pitching In, Queens of Mystery, Sando: The Prodigal Mum Returns, Straight Forward, Striking Out, The Level and The Witness for the Prosecution.

There are plenty of licensed and popular shows on Acorn TV, like: 800 Words, A Dance to the Music of Time, A Place to Call Home, Agatha Christie’s Marple, Delicious, Doc Martin, George Gently, Hamish Macbeth, Jack Taylor, Line of Duty, Loch Ness, Midsomer Murders, Murdoch Mysteries, No Offence, Rebecka Martinsson, The Brokenwood Mysteries, The Good Karma Hospital, The Heart Guy, The Indian Doctor, The Poirot Collection, The Secret Agent and Vera. When it comes to movies, however, there are only around 30 titles including: Agatha Christie’s The Witness for the Prosecution, Alexandria: The Greatest City, Anner House, Belonging, Care, Cider with Rosie, Golden Years, Marvellous, Miss Fisher: And The Crypt of Tears, Mr. Morgan’s Last Love, Sisters of War, The Lilac Bus, The Return, The Scapegoat, The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Trench, The Way Back, Turning Green, United, Wide Sargasso Sea and Wreckers.

BritBox, on the other had, is run by the BBC and ITV, so you’ll receive fast access to select shows, including daily favorites like Good Morning Britain. However, not every show from these networks is available through the service, and in many cases, you can find similar content through sources like PBS. Ultimately, since both Acorn TV and BritBox draw from the same well of content, you’ll find some of the same titles in both catalogs.

Acorn TV Costs And Plans

Acorn TV will cost you $5.99/mo. after a free trial period of 7 days. Hulu’s Base plan, on the other hand, costs $5.99/mo., comes with a 30-day free trial and commercials. Unlike Hulu and many other popular streaming services, Acorn TV only has a single plan option. But this is typical for niche services. Other niche services with only one plan include BritBox ($6.99/mo.), HBO NOW ($14.99/mo.), STARZ ($8.99/mo.) and Sundance Now ($6.99/mo.)

Acorn TV positions itself price-wise just under its biggest competitor BritBox. However, if you’re seeking live British programming from the likes of the BBC, you’ll want to consider TV alternative services like fuboTV ($54.99/mo.) or Sling TV ($30/mo.)

Acorn TV Supported Devices

Several devices are supported by Acorn TV. You’ll be able to use Acorn TV with both your Android and iOS phones and tablets as well as casting and media options such as Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast and Roku. On top of that, you can also stream Acorn TV on game consoles like PlayStation 4 and Xbox One as well as with your web browser.

Simultaneous Streams And Offline Viewing

Acorn TV surpasses many of its rival streaming services by letting you stream on up to four devices simultaneously. Hulu only provides 2 simultaneous streams, while Netflix offers four streams with its $15.99/mo. Premium plan. That said, Acorn TV’s main competitor, BritBox, gives viewers access to five concurrent streams.

To enjoy Acorn TV, you’ll need to have a strong internet connection. — unfortunately, the service doesn’t offer the option to download titles for offline viewing. You also won’t be able to download titles on BritBox. When put up against streaming services like Amazon Prime Video or Netflix that have relaxed downloading features, it’s unfortunate that Acorn TV doesn’t have a similar option for when you’re away from Wi-Fi.

Acorn TV Streaming Quality And Playback

Acorn TV’s streaming quality can be difficult to peg down but seems to operate mostly around 720p resolution. Streaming quality may also depend on the specific show, and can even drop to 480p. Although 720p seems to be typical for niche streaming services. Comparable services like BritBox, DAZN and Sundance Now all offer up to a 720p resolution experience. Industry leaders Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Netflix, in comparison, support 1080p and 4K HDR quality streaming.

The Acorn TV playback screen comes with play and volume controls along with Resume and Play From the Start functions. From the playback screen, you can also toggle Closed Captions (CC) and view the title’s rating.

Using the Acorn TV Web Interface

Acorn TV’s web interface has a navy blue banner along with white and red accented icons and titles. Overall, navigation is simple, whether you’re browsing or searching for a specific title. Its menu consists of features to Browse, Schedule, Help and Store. There’s also a search tool. In the search area, you can filter content by Recently Added, Coming Soon and Leaving Soon. The Help section has articles organized by subject and devices. Below the menu, you’ll find rows of sideways scrollable playlists organized by genres. Below each title is a View All function that’ll take you to all the shows and movies within that category.

There aren’t many personalization features to customize your experience. With Disney+, you can create up to six user profiles where users can manage what they watch and save. Acorn TV functions more like HBO NOW, where you share one account with other members of your household. To find what titles you’ve recently watched or saved, just select My Acorn TV on the menu.

Can I Cut the Cable TV Cord With Acorn TV?

Acorn TV is not a complete way to cut the cord since its programming concentrates on British and European television. So you won’t find news, sports or any other mainstream US networks. Instead, Acorn TV is a great way to supplement your TV experience. So if you already have a traditional provider or a cable-alternative service like fuboTV, Hulu + Live TV or Sling TV, then Acorn TV will round out your experience.

If you’re a true lover of British TV, you might want to combine Acorn TV with BritBox to get the most programing. You might also want to consider some of the free ad-supported streaming services out there like Pluto TV, which is owned by ViacomCBS and functions as a traditional TV provider. And if you want to keep the savings going, you can opt for an HD antenna, which will provide all local ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC affiliates in crisp, high definition (HD).

Current as of May 2020*

Malin Curry

Article Author

Disclaimer: This article may have had additional images, links or data that was added by this site's editor.

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