BritBox, from the BBC and ITV, features a mix of timelier shows from those networks, including the daily talk show Good Morning Britain, and a host of talk shows and game shows other programming, including classics like Doctor Who and Coronation Street that have long been staples of the culture. Acorn TV, from AMC Networks, is cultivating a different style by developing its own originals, including its first movie Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears along with a few classic staples.
The varying approaches have netted each service more than a million loyal subscribers, ranking them among some of the most popular SVOD (subscription video on demand) services. Choosing the service that suits you best depends on your specific tastes.
Plans and pricing for BritBox vs. Acorn TV
|Free trial length
|Number of TV shows and films
|Original content available? (Y/N)
|Live streaming available? (Y/N)
Comparing the BritBox vs. Acorn TV experience
Both BritBox and Acorn TV offer a simple, intuitive experience, using the same sleek, clean interface across their platforms.
In both services, you can go from the home page to watching an episode of your favorite show in two clicks, whether you’re watching on your TV, your laptop or your smartphone. All three platforms share the same interface, so searches made in the app on your mobile device will show up on the service’s website and you can pick up watching your show where you left off on another device.
While both services are available through their websites or through their smartphone apps, Acorn TV is the easier service to set up to stream on your TV. Simply download the Acorn TV app to your Amazon Fire TV or Roku (or add the Acorn TV channel to your Android device) and log in.
For BritBox, you can download their app to your Roku. However, to use BritBox on Amazon or Apple TV, you have to subscribe to it through Amazon Channels or Apple TV Channels and those subscriptions are separate from the one you would use on BritBox.com or its smartphone apps. If you wanted to watch BritBox shows through Amazon or Apple TV and on your laptop or smartphone, you would need two subscriptions.
BritBox device compatibility
- Android devices
- Apple TV (4th Generation or Airplay to older models)
- Samsung Smart TVs
Acorn TV device compatibility
- Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick
- Android devices
- Apple TV (tvOS version)
Both BritBox and Acorn TV take pride in their simple interfaces, keeping personalization and add-ons to a minimum. Both services let you easily add shows to a watchlist and track what you most recently watched so you can pick up where you left off, but that’s about it.
Both services have a variety of closed captioning options that viewers can use to personalize their viewing experience. Toggle the CC icon in the BritBox viewer to turn on closed captioning. Acorn TV’s closed captioning options vary based on the device. But the service permits users to tweak caption fonts and colors. The option is only available on select BritBox titles.
On BritBox, users can have up to 5 simultaneous streams, while AcornTV permits 4. BritBox also allows you to set parental controls by using a PIN code. Acorn TV, on the other hand, doesn’t have this feature.
BritBox vs. Acorn TV content
Both BritBox and Acorn TV aim to offer a wide range of entertaining content. BritBox is cultivating its own line of new original shows, including the Luke Evans show Pembrokeshire Murders, McDonald and Dodds starring Jason Watkins from The Crown, as well as timely talk shows and a “Panel Channel” of game shows. Acorn TV makes the most of its classic Agatha Christie holdings, including series featuring the exploits of Miss Marple and Poirot and The Agatha Christie Hour. Both services also want to foster a sense of discovery, curating a mix of shows from different eras together like “Doctors in Time” on BritBox and “Irish Tales” on Acorn TV.
What to watch on Brit Box
BritBox basically cornered the market on classics like Doctor Who, Coronation Street and EastEnders, thanks to its co-owners the BBC and ITV. The company says it “thrives by tapping into the underserved audience of women 45 years and older,” so if you fall into the demographic, chances are good you’ll find what you’re looking for at BritBox.That means there is plenty of Dame Helen Mirren, including all seven seasons of Prime Suspect, and Dame Judi Dench, in series like Cranford and movies like Mrs. Brown, as well as lots of series with strong female leads, like the police proceduralBancroft. There are also plenty of Charles Dickens adaptations –- including David Copperfield, Bleak House, and Oliver Twist — to balance out buzzed-about hits like Kenneth Branagh’s Wallander or James Corden’s breakout role in Gavin & Stacey.
What to watch on Acorn TV
On the other hand, Acorn TV, owned by AMC Networks, is primarily focused on bringing more recent shows to North America from the United Kingdom and developing its own slate of shows with established talent. The service’s first feature film Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears, continuing the stories of the Australian hit series, made its debut in late March. In April, it will host the North American debut of Deadwater Fell, starring David Tennant of Doctor Who and Cush Jumbo from The Good Wife. Some of Acorn TV’s successes are also making their way to the flagship cable channel AMC, starting with the British hit Line of Duty, led by Fear of The Walking Dead star Lennie James.
The final cut
BritBox and Acorn TV both deliver British entertainment in a sleek, easy-to-use package. People looking for classics like Doctor Who should opt for BritBox. Those looking for new voices from the UK will gravitate more toward Acorn TV. Ultimately, though, it’s a personal choice. Luckily, both services offer 7-day free trials so you can get a full sense of what they offer and maybe even a chance to be surprised by some slice of British cleverness you didn’t even know existed.
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