Acorn TV Review: No-Frills British Television | (2023)

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You like British dramas? Acorn TV is for you—fish and chips optional

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Acorn TV

Acorn TV Review: No-Frills British Television | (12)


  • Acorn TV Review: No-Frills British Television | (13)

    British dramas and mysteries galore

  • Acorn TV Review: No-Frills British Television | (14)

    Simple and easy-to-use interface

  • Acorn TV Review: No-Frills British Television | (15)

    Wonderful acting

  • Acorn TV Review: No-Frills British Television | (16)

    Plenty of original shows

Acorn TV Review: No-Frills British Television | (17)

Editorial Lead, TV, Streaming, & VPN

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November 09, 2020

5 min read

We are committed to sharing unbiased reviews. Some of the links on our site are from our partners who compensate us.Read ourdisclosure policiesto learn more.

Most of us are still adjusting to all of the changes in the world due to the pandemic. We might work from home, don’t visit friends and family as often, and avoid going to the movie theater at all costs. In this current climate, hunkered down at home, it can be extremely hard to find things to do other than knitting, sewing, or crochet.

With apologies to those who love crochet, there must be other options. One recent discovery isAcorn TV, a streaming media app that caters to a specific audience. You like British dramas and mysteries, and that’s about it. You are not interested in science fiction, sports, or even situation comedies, news, or movies. Your favorite type of show is probably something along the lines ofDeath in Paradise, a murder mystery show.Read on to find out how it all checks out.


  • Low cost

  • Suits a specific audience


  • Interface is a bit behind

  • Shows run in 720p resolution

Don't be so dramatic

Acorn TV Review: No-Frills British Television | (18)

Acorn TV has almost all dramas and mysteries. That is either perfect for you or not so great.

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What are the specs?

Acorn TV's limited specs don't seem to matter to viewers who like what they see

The theme of this review is that Acorn TV is a good app for people who like British dramas and mysteries. That's perhaps a bit too basic as a way to describe it (e.g., there are shows from other locations like Australia and the Oceanic countries). The crowd who likes these shows might not care about all of the extra features you will find with Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, and might not even notice anything is missing. Yet, on paper, the specs are notable for how outdated they are:

Acorn TV specs

Minimum Internet speed to use it1.6 Mbps
Download for laterNo
HD quality720p
User profilesNone
Parental controlsNone
Family planNone
Simultaneous streamsFour
Total originalsNA
Total shows and movies320+
Live showsNone
Free trial lengthSeven days
Learn moreView Plans

How much does Acorn cost?

The price is reasonable, although the shows are limited

At $5.99, the Acorn TV app is certainly worth considering. It's about the same price as Apple TV+ and a few other apps that focus on original shows. If you pay for the annual membership, the app gives you two months free, which is a nice bonus.

That said, with around 320 shows in total, it's not a great value. Netflix has several thousand shows and movies and, for the streaming-only plan, costs about twice as much. As you'll see, the only real reason to consider Acorn TV is if you like British shows.

In terms of value, Acorn TV provides a boatload of new shows to wile away the time during the pandemic, many of them quite compelling. My favorite show on the streaming media app is called The Nest. I was hooked right away.I'm a fan of twisty dramas, procedural crime shows, and mysteries myself. One thing that impresses me so much about BBC shows in general is that they don't rely on shock and awe as much as American television. You have to pay attention, and some of the shows seem more like books come to life.

The app is a bit limited in terms of how it works. There are no recommendations and suggestions. (So if you find a show you like, you can't see similar options.) You have to dig around even for basic information like the rating and when the series debuted. It's not a huge issue if your goal is to watch the entire season of a British drama and you know what you like, but we're a long, long way from Netflix here.

The app is also a bit behind in other ways. The resolution runs at only 720p, there are no user profiles, parental controls, or family plans. You know what you want (British dramas and mysteries), and this app plays them for you, that's really about it.

Acorn TV package details


Monthly price




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*Data effective 10/7/2020. Price and channel inclusion vary according to location.

Which devices are compatible with Acorn TV?

The price is reasonable, although the shows are Acorn TV works with most streaming devices and smart televisions

We tested Acorn TV on three different devices and it worked fine, although there was one small glitch. We used a HiSense H8F smart television that runs Android TV, we used an NVIDIA Shield TV, and we tested using the Google Chrome browser.

In all cases, the app worked fine, but the browser version would stutter slightly once in a while. This can be caused by many factors, some unrelated to the app itself. Usually, it's a memory issue where the browser window stalls out a bit.

Acorn TV provides a good list of compatible devices. In general, it pops up on most smartphones and tablets, streaming devices, and smart televisions. Our only strange discovery is that Google search results often don't flag a specific show as being on Acorn TV. When you search for The Nest, for example, it lists Sling TV as the provider.

What are Acorn TV’s most unique features?

The short answer is that the app doesn’t focus on unique features

Acorn TV isn't trying anything new here, and my guess is the audience for these shows is not looking for the latest watch party modes or 8K streaming. Instead, these are shows with a good storyline and, in some cases, excellent acting.

One feature I did like about the Acorn TV app is how quickly you can fast forward. You don't see any thumbnails or fancy effects. It just jumps ahead and that's it.

You won't find anything too techie. To use the app after you install it, you have to login with your email and password. You can't sync to an existing account on your laptop or phone as you can with almost every other streaming app we've tested. As I mentioned, there are no parental controls, no profiles, no TV show suggestions. You are stuck with basic features like a watch list. The interface is not that cluttered so it is easy to find the latest shows and also the ones that are coming up soon on the app.

What about the Acorn TV content?

Many of the shows are well done and interesting

Acorn TV produces several original shows like Foyle's War, Mayday, Lost Kingdoms of Africa, and The Politician's Wife. A show called The Sounds is interesting because it's not a police procedural or an action show. It's a drama about marriage. In a way, that's refreshing because the major network shows tend to be way too similar.

I'm also impressed by the quality of the shows, even if they are streamed in only 720p. Most of the acting is good, the plots are twisty, and the music draws you in.

Here's just one example:

In the show I keep mentioning called The Nest, the main actor Sophie Rundle turns in a stellar performance, one that is equal parts jaded, confused, and yet highly emotional. She wants to have a child and goes to great lengths to find a surrogate mother.

I won't spoil the plot, but you can probably guess how that all turns out. You might not call this innovative, but it was a pleasant surprise, especially compared to some of the shows on the Quibi app I watched recently, that the acting is consistently engaging.

How does the Acorn TV quality compare?

Furthering the theme of basic streaming, the quality is just okay

From a technical standpoint, most shows on the Acorn TV are just okay. They look fine, and you may not even notice they are not 1080p or 4K like almost every other streaming media app these days. They sound fine. You won't be blown away by any surround-sound audio filling your living room, and that's not really the point.

You can hear the dialogue easily. Most of the shows are bent on hooking you into the plot so the reason to keep watching is to find out who did some dastardly deed and not because a spaceship seems to fly overhead and blast the aliens into burnt toast.

Recap: Is Acorn TV worth it?

If you fancy British dramas, this is your app

For anyone who loves British dramas and mysteries, Acorn TV is a good option. I would say it is second only to BritBox in that regard, which is a better app with a more diverse roster of shows. The acting is good, the plots are well-written. You will find a few British dramas on Hulu and even on Netflix, but not nearly as many.

It's one of the easiest decisions to make when it comes to streaming media. If you like these types of shows, the $5.99 fee is a no-brainer. Acorn TV adds new shows on a routine basis, and the quality is good. Obviously Netflix and Hulu and many others are better apps with more shows and movies, but they also cost far more per month.

What do you think?

Do you have Acorn TV? What's your experience with it been? Or do you like a different streaming service better? Drop us a comment below!

Acorn TV Review: No-Frills British Television | (19)

Written by

John Brandon

John Brandon is an Editorial Lead at covering TV apps, services, and devices. He also covers the VPN market currently. He has a long history as a journalist and author. His articles have appeared in many magazines including Wired, Popular Mechanics,, Inc. Magazine, Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Relevant Magazine. His hobbies include disc golf, reading books, and watching obscure Netflix documentaries. Contact him at

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What is difference between Acorn TV and BritBox? ›

For viewers that like variety in their content, Britbox is the better option. Acorn, on the other hand, tends to have a smaller media library than Britbox, as the service primarily provides comedies, murder mysteries, and crime shows.

Which is best BritBox vs Acorn? ›

Acorn TV definitely has some hidden gems, and they've got some solid exclusives outside of the UK, but their library still looks a bit leaner in comparison to BritBox's offering. BritBox is going to cater to a far broader audience, and it offers a significantly wider range of shows and movies.

What is error 2231 000000 000 on Acorn TV? ›

2231-000000-000. This only occurs when the number of shows is greater than about 50.

What is the cost of an Acorn TV subscription? ›

Watch whenever you want, wherever you want for one low monthly price of $6.99/month. Or upgrade to an annual membership for $69.99/year—that's 12 months for the price of 10! Cancel anytime.

Is Acorn TV worth getting? ›

If you want to watch some British, European, or Oceanic shows, then Acorn TV is worthy of consideration, even if it's not your only option for such programming. It gets you access to lots of complete seasons for a low monthly cost.

Is Acorn TV worth paying for? ›

How much does Acorn cost? At $5.99, the Acorn TV app is certainly worth considering. It's about the same price as Apple TV+ and a few other apps that focus on original shows. If you pay for the annual membership, the app gives you two months free, which is a nice bonus.

How to get BritBox for free? ›

If you've never tried out the service before, you can sign up for a 7-day free trial of BritBox direct on its website.

How much is BritBox a month? ›

A BritBox subscription will set you back £5.99 a month or £59.99 per year (which works out as roughly £4.99 per month). If you opt for the yearly subscription, you'll save £11.89 over the course of the year, which isn't a saving to be sniffed at — that tenner can get you three meal deals.

Is BritBox free with Amazon Prime? ›

Is BritBox free with Amazon Prime? Whilst you can add BritBox to your Prime Video subscription as a Prime Video Channel, you'll still have to pay for your subscription. That's because adding BritBox to your Prime Video package is the same as adding any other channel like HBO or Showtime.

Why won t my Acorn TV work? ›

Sign out and back in to make sure you're properly recognized as a member. Clear your cookies and cache. Test watching on a different browser (we recommend Google Chrome) Reboot your computer.

Why are acorns charging $5 a month? ›

Acorns charges $3 a month for a taxable brokerage account, Acorns Later (an IRA account) and Acorns Checking, or $5 a month to include those benefits plus Acorns Early, investment accounts for kids.

Why am I having trouble with Acorn TV? ›

Acorn TV requires consistent bandwidth of 1600 kbps (or 1.6 mbps) or above. If you are experiencing issues with buffering or stuttering, please try the following troubleshooting tips: Turn off your device for at least one minute and then power back up. Connect your device directly to the router via Ethernet cable.

How do I get Acorn TV for free? ›

Sign up for a free 7-day trial at Your free trial entitles you to a week of unlimited access to Acorn TV (new customers only).

Can you watch Acorn TV on a regular TV? ›

If you're a Chromecast user, you can download the free Google Home app in order to cast Acorn TV to your television, or cast directly from the Chrome browser on your device. You can also log in to your Acorn TV account from any other compatible device, including Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and via web at

What channels come with Acorn TV? ›

What do you get with Acorn TV?
  • All3Media.
  • Channel 4.
  • Content Media.
  • BBC Studios.
  • DRG.
  • ITV.
  • ZDF.

Is Acorn owned by Amazon? ›

Acorn TV is owned by RLJ Entertainment, Inc.

How many people can share an Acorn TV account? ›

There is one plus, though – Acorn TV allows unlimited simultaneous streams, so you can share your subscription and watch multiple shows at once, on as many devices as you like.

Is it easy to cancel Acorn TV? ›

An Acorn TV subscription is easy to cancel. You can cancel Acorn TV by going to the Acorn website and clicking «Cancel Membership» on your account page. If you subscribed to Acorn TV through Amazon Prime, you'll need to cancel through Amazon's «Memberships & Subscriptions» menu instead.

Can you share your Acorn TV account? ›

Visit to share Acorn TV with a friend via email, Facebook, or Twitter. If your friend signs up for Acorn TV's 30-day free trial, you'll receive an email that contains a code for a free month.

Does Roku include Acorn TV? ›

Search for "Acorn TV" within the Channel Store to add the channel to your Roku. If you are already an Acorn TV subscriber, you can use your regular email address and password to log in. If you are a new customer, you can sign up for a free trial or purchase a membership through Roku.

Is Acorn free for Amazon Prime members? ›

So, IS Acorn TV free with Amazon Prime? The simple answer is this – NO. A large number of companies make their subscription content available on Amazon, but they're separate companies from Amazon and they charge their own subscription fees.

Is BritBox closing down? ›

BritBox Stops Offering New Subscriptions

At the time, BritBox also confirmed to us that it will no longer produce original content, and some existing BritBox originals moved over to ITVX for their future seasons. We were also told, back then, that BritBox subscribers would be moved over to ITVX.

What channels are on BritBox? ›

BritBox shows

That currently stands at more than 300 different titles from the Beeb, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5. Included among those are Cracker, Downton Abbey, Broadchurch, Spooks, Only Fools and Horses and many more.

How much is BritBox for 12 months? ›

What's the deal? A BritBox subscription costs £5.99 a month or £59.99 per year.

Is BritBox worth the money? ›

Nostalgic British content

If there's one thing BritBox does well, it's delivering fantastic British TV to its customers. For those of you who grew up in the UK, BritBox offers a great dose of nostalgia for your childhoods spent in front of the telly.

How do I get 6 months free BritBox? ›

Anyone with BT Broadband can now add BritBox membership to their BT bill. To watch BritBox on your TV, you'll need to activate '6 months of BritBox on us'. Simply visit My BT, log in and activate your offer.

Does Netflix have British TV shows? ›

Popular on NetflixExplore more
  • Peaky Blinders.
  • The Last Kingdom.
  • The Crown.
  • Call the Midwife.
  • Octonauts.
  • Anatomy of a Scandal.
  • Sex Education.
  • Booba.

Is BritBox free with Roku? ›

You can watch BritBox directly on Roku

All you need is your remote control. And BritBox has a free seven-day trial on Roku, so you can test the waters and make sure BritBox has the shows you're looking for. After your free trial is up, you can opt to continue watching for $6.99 a month, or $69.99 a year.

Is BritBox on Amazon Prime the same as regular BritBox? ›

The content from BritBox is almost identical to what you'll find on Amazon Prime Video or Apple TV Channels. Though occasionally, due to the additional processing time needed by our partners, there may be a short delay before a show or episode becomes available, especially for live events.

What is the cheapest BritBox subscription? ›

You can get a 7-day free trial of BritBox via the BritBox website. After the trial you'll be rolled onto a $7.99/month or $79.99/year subscription, depending on your selection, unless you cancel.

What is hidden about on Acorn TV? ›

When a young woman's body turns up with evidence that she had been held prisoner, the investigation leads DI Cadi John (Sian Reese-Williams, Requiem) to a string of disappearances in a remote yet striking corner of Wales.

Can I get Acorn TV on Netflix? ›

Can I get Acorn TV on Netflix? Some crime shows on Acorn TV are available on Netflix but you won't be able to find all titles. Some exclusive content may not be available on Netflix because the platform removes shows every month.

Why was Acorn shut down? ›

In March 2010, ACORN announced it would be closing its offices and disbanding due to loss of funding from government and private donors.

What is the downside to Acorns? ›

Acorns Disadvantages

Foremost is the tiered-fee structure, which is too high for people starting out with low balances. Paying $36 a year when you have a few hundred invested is a bad deal. While many robo-advisors have an account minimum of $500 or $1,000, Betterment provides a no-minimum, lower-fee alternative.

How much does Acorns tax you when you withdraw? ›

If you take out any cash before the minimum distribution age, you may owe regular income taxes, plus, in most cases, a 10-percent penalty.

How do you get $600 from Acorns? ›

You are eligible to receive for this reward each time the new subscriber (1) uses your personal invitation code or referral link that you shared with them during the promotional period (December 25 - December 31, 2022) when they sign up for a new Acorns subscription and (2) completes an initial $5 investment in an ...

Why are the TV channels not working? ›

First check that your TV is set to the correct Source or Input, try changing the Source or Input to AV, TV, Digital TV or DTV if you haven't already. If your “No Signal” message is not due to incorrect Source or Input being selected, then it's most likely caused by a set up or antenna fault.

How do you refresh Acorn TV? ›

Once the “menu” options are displayed, select “More Info”: This will direct you to the Acorn TV app listing. Select “Update,” and within a few seconds, your Acorn TV will be updated: Your new Acorn TV app should now be available!

How can I watch Acorn TV on my smart TV? ›

To download the app please follow the following directions:
  1. Go to the Home Screen on your Samsung Smart TV.
  2. Launch the app store and search for “Acorn TV” on your Samsung Smart TV.
  3. Select “Add to Home” to install the app.
  4. Once installed, log in using your Acorn TV credentials.

How can I watch British TV in USA? ›

Check out these simple steps:
  1. Download a VPN with UK servers. We recommend NordVPN.
  2. Connect to a UK server.
  3. Connect to your VPN network in your router's admin.
  4. Download the streaming service app of your choice onto your Smart TV.
  5. Login, create an account, and enjoy!

Is Acorn TV free on Roku? ›

Welcome to Acorn TV

Thousands of episodes, live sports & exclusive originals. You must cancel before the trial ends to avoid charges. Subscription is pre-paid and auto-renews monthly for $6.99/month until canceled. Charges are non-refundable.

Is everything on Acorn TV free? ›

Sign up for a free 7-day trial. A week of unrestricted access to Acorn TV is included in your free trial (new customers only). You will be charged USD$5.99/month (plus applicable taxes) unless you cancel your Acorn TV subscription after your free 7 days are up.

What's the difference between Britbox and Acorn? ›

For viewers that like variety in their content, Britbox is the better option. Acorn, on the other hand, tends to have a smaller media library than Britbox, as the service primarily provides comedies, murder mysteries, and crime shows.

Does Acorn TV have BBC? ›

While programming depends on your geographical location, Acorn TV in the US focuses on TV shows from dozens of international networks in countries of the Commonwealth, from British channels like the BBC and ITV as well as Oceanic shows from Australia and New Zealand.

Does Acorn have commercials? ›

Hailed as "Netflix for the Anglophile" by NPR, Acorn TV offers the newest seasons of fan-favorite, award-winning shows from Britain and beyond. Watch critically-acclaimed mysteries, dramas and comedies, always commercial-free.

Is Acorn TV included with Amazon Prime? ›

Acorn TV. Prime Video Channels is the Prime benefit that lets you choose your channels. Only members can add Acorn TV and 100+ more channels — no cable required.

What channels do you get on BritBox? ›

BritBox shows

BritBox claims to host the largest amount of British box sets of any streaming service. That currently stands at more than 300 different titles from the Beeb, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5. Included among those are Cracker, Downton Abbey, Broadchurch, Spooks, Only Fools and Horses and many more.

Can I get Acorn TV in the US? ›

You can subscribe to Acorn TV directly by visiting the Acorn TV website. With a subscription, you can watch Acorn TV in a web browser, in a mobile app on your phone or tablet, as well as on streaming media players like Roku and Fire TV.

Can I watch Acorn TV on Netflix? ›

Can I get Acorn TV on Netflix? Some crime shows on Acorn TV are available on Netflix but you won't be able to find all titles. Some exclusive content may not be available on Netflix because the platform removes shows every month.

Is Acorn free on Roku channel? ›

Subscription is pre-paid and auto-renews monthly for $6.99/month until canceled. Charges are non-refundable. Click "Learn more" for full terms.

How can I watch BritBox in USA? ›

How can I change region or country on BritBox?
  1. Sign up with a VPN service that unblocks BritBox. ...
  2. Download and install the appropriate VPN for the device from which you want to stream BritBox.
  3. Open the VPN app and connect to a server in the UK, US, or Canada, depending on which version of BritBox you'd like to access.

How can I get BBC in the US? ›

BBC Select is a BBC streaming service available to stream on Amazon Prime Video Channels, the Apple TV app or The Roku Channel. You can try BBC Select for free for 7 days. After the free trial, the subscription price is just $4.99 per month.


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