At the first glance, Acorn TV and BritBox seem basically the same: The both offer a mix of old school and new crime series from Poirot to Vera along with a host of documentaries and popular British films. They are both available on platforms like Amazon Video and even their subscription price point is in the same range.
So when it comes to watching British TV via streaming services, does it matter picking one vs. the other? Actually it does. These two streaming services, although have some similarities, are quite different in terms of focus and breadth of offerings they bring to their audience.
We have done a side-by-side comparison of these two services from various angles to help you choose what fits your needs:
History of BritBox vs. Acorn TV
Acorn TV has had a presence in the U.S. market for more than two decades. Acorn Media Group has distributed British television in the United States since 1994, originally selling VHS tapes via catalogues before moving into DVD and Blu-ray media.
Continuing the company’s expansion into new formats, the company launched a direct-to-consumer e-commerce website in 2011 and in 2013, Acorn TV was relaunched as a standalone service with expanded content offerings and monthly and annual subscription options.
Trying to create a niche for itself, the company has been offering exclusive content, starting with the US premiere of Doc Martin, Series 6. In 2015, Acorn TV was the only niche streaming service to have a program nominated for an Emmy when Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case was nominated for Best Television Movie. As of December 31, 2016, it had 430,000 paid subscribers. The company’s shows have also been nominated for Edgar Awards, the prestigious prize offered by Mystery Writers of America (MWA).
Currently Acorn TV subscription streaming service offering television programming from the United Kingdom, as well as Ireland, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. It is available on a variety of devices including Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and Roku.
BritBox, on the other hand, is much more newer service. As a video on-demand service owned by BBC Studios and ITV plc., the company has certainly the financial backing and access to material necessary to penetrate British TV market niche.
So far, BritBox has focused on British television series, featuring current and past series supplied from the BBC and ITV. Some series, such as Coronation Street, have new episodes available within a day after their British premiere, although generally within just a few hours of its UK airing.
The streaming service’s launch was officially announced in March 2017. It reported a subscriber base of 250,000 in one year, as of March 2018. So although it is still smaller than Acorn TV in size, it is growing faster and is already becoming a serious rival.
BritBox’s service area includes the U.S. and Canada. However, the programs available in each country are not identical. For example, BritBox carries Coronation Street in the U.S. but not in Canada, where the corresponding rights have long been held by CBC Television.
The Differences Between BritBox vs. Acorn TV
The most visible difference between the two services is price: At $4.99 a month, Acorn TV is 29% cheaper than BritBox which charges customers $6.99 per a single month of subscription. With an annual plan, both streaming services charge the equivalent of 10 months for 12 months of access to their portfolio of films and TV series.
Acorn TV, on the other hand, has an impressive list of Original series
While both services have similar offerings in terms of classic mystery shows such as Hercule Poirot or Agatha Christie’s Ms. Marple, BritBox has a much larger and higher growing inventory of new shows, thanks to generous support of BBC and ITV.
Acorn TV, on the other hand, has an impressive list of Original series with some already having a loyal follower base. The haunting shore of Scotland’s most iconic loch is, for example, the stunning backdrop for Acorn TV Original mystery series Loch Ness that follows the search for a serial killer.
Other shows from Acorn TV’s impressive stable of original programming include The Detectorists, Keeping Faith, and the Emmy-nominated Curtain: Poirot’s Last Stand.
BritBox does not have as many notable Non-British films and shows. Its portfolio however is younger and sexier. There are more up-to-date lifestyle shows and LGBTQ titles like Tipping the Velvet and Christopher and His Kind.
So Should I Subscribe To BritBox Or Acorn TV?
It depends on what your are looking for. Acorn TV seems to be more solid in terms of its list of old-school mystery TV series and shows. It also has a growing list of original series with amazing plots (Loch Ness is a case in point). For fresh content and shows which are currently running on BBC or ITV or were recently aired, BritBox is the place to go.
If money is not a problem, we recommend you to subscribe to both to enjoy the best of both worlds.