Acorn TV US vs UK – Who’s got the best shows?

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What is Acorn TV?

Acorn TV is an American streaming service that airs predominantly UK TV shows, with a few offerings from a handful of other territories’ thrown in for good measure.

It seems as though American culture vultures can’t get enough of anything ‘British’, and really, who can blame them? UK TV provides some of the best programming in the world, with masses of quaint culture mystery murders through to gritty, hard-hitting police dramas and psychological thrillers.

The additional content that the Acorn Media Group has thrown in on top of its UK selection comes from Canada, Australia, and a few others. Chiefly, though, much of its catalogue comes from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, All3Media, DRG, and ZDF.

To give you a decent taste of what you’re going to get—if you haven’t heard of the channel before—think Bloodlands, The Attaché, Law & Order: UK, The Silence, and Deadwater Fell. Then there’s a generous provision of documentaries if those are more your taste, including such titles as Paradise Gardens with Monty Don to The Cat Hospital or even their biographical feature about The Real Prince Philip.

Low-cost access to so many UK favourites

Acorn TV makes a great add-on to your existing viewing. It’s never going to provide you with the same sort of blockbuster action that Netflix and Prime do, but for loose change ($5.99 US/month or £4.99 UK/month), it’s certainly not going to break the bank.

If you’re outside these two territories and are pining for some traditionally British drama, documentaries, or murder mysteries, then it’s well worth a shout. There’s enough good, hearty, unmistakably British content there to keep the most hungry satisfied.

What’s the difference between watching Acorn TV in the UK and the US?

Almost all of the viewing on Acorn TV in the UK is or has been available on another channel at some point. Brits will pass a glancing eye over the shows and features on Acorn TV, seeing it as a platform where they can find some old favourites or current shows that have disappeared from the mainstream channels. If they fancy re-running a series they might have missed before or fancy dipping into some mid-week afternoon drama, Acorn is a great place to start.

Acorn TV tells a different story in the States

For US viewers, it’s a real first point of contact for that quintessential and charming British TV. Acorn TV premiered Detectorists, Vera, Inspector George Gently, and Midsomer Murders in America. British culture is a real passion amongst many American residents, and Acorn is a great place to soak it all up.

Why are there different catalogues for the UK and US Acorn TV platforms?

Given that British TV providers distribute the bulk of their content, there are a few licensing rights and crossovers within the UK that aren’t quite as problematic in the US.

Licensing laws and international regulations play their part in who gets to watch what and where.

Acorn Originals US and UK

As is popular with many streaming services, one easy way of getting around all the licensing issues is to produce your own programs—and Acorn is no exception. They’re building quite a selection of Acorn Originals, which begs why such a small percentage are available on the UK platform? We can only guess it’s more licensing fun and games, especially seeing some UK library titles aren’t available in the US and vice versa. However, with StreamLocator in the mix, you can be anywhere you want to be—so it’s all up for grabs if you want it.

Which one’s the best—Acorn TV UK or US?

When you sit both websites side-by-side—UK and US and pull up the content, there are plenty of filters to organise your titles.

Here’s where you really see a difference.

The US website has masses more content than the UK version. The UK website offers a meagre 75 shows and the US 363. I think that tells us a lot about who's got the best content.

Admittedly, as noticed previously, some of the titles on the British platform don’t appear in the US catalogue and vice versa, but unless they’re the shows you really can’t do without, opting for the vastly superior-in-size selection you get from the American platform seems like a no-brainer.

You can understand how the UK service will find it trickier to land exclusive rights to programs. So many are already airing over other channels and streaming services in the country, after all. Whereas in the States, well, it’s a bit of a free for all when it comes to UK content.

We’d plump for the US platform, purely on numbers. They’ve got more titles from more providers.

Acorn Originals in the US

  • Bloodlands
  • The South Westerlies
  • Mystery Road
  • The Sounds
  • The Other One
  • The Nest
  • Queens of Mystery
  • Dead Still
  • Deadwater Fell
  • Blood
  • Agatha Raisin
  • Keeping Faith
  • London Kills
  • Martin Clunes: Islands of America
  • Straight Forward
  • Pitching In
  • Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries
  • Martin Clunes: Manhunt
  • Foyle’s War
  • Striking Out
  • Girlfriends
  • Detectorists
  • Love, Lies & Records
  • Acceptable Risk
  • Loch Ness
  • Agatha Christie’s: The Witness for the Prosecution
  • The Level
  • Close to the Enemy

Most popular on Acorn TV US

  • Bloodlands
  • Law & Order UK
  • Balthazar
  • A Suitable Boy
  • 19–2
  • Mystery Road
  • The Sounds
  • Wisting
  • The Other One
  • The Nest
  • Queens of Mystery
  • Hidden
  • Deadwater Fell
  • Blood
  • Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears
  • Agatha Raisin
  • The Brokenwood Mysteries
  • The Heart Guy
  • Midsomer Murders
  • The Good Karma Hospital
  • Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries
  • Doc Martin
  • My Life Is Murder
  • Keeping Faith
  • London Kills

Documentaries on Acorn TV US

  • Saving Britain’s Worst Zoo
  • Cat Hospital
  • The Real Prince Philip
  • Muse of Fire: A Shakespearean Road Movie
  • The Secret History of the British Garden
  • Wartime Farm
  • Bone Detectives
  • Pride & Prejudice: Having a Ball
  • Victorian Farm
  • Growing Up Gracefully
  • The Yorkshire Vet
  • Prince Charles: Inside the Duchy of Cornwall
  • Heavenly Gardens
  • Tales of Irish Castles
  • The Badness of King George IV
  • Churchill: Blood, Sweat & Oil Paint
  • Narnia’s Lost Poet: The Secret Lives & Loves of C.S. Lewis
  • The Genius of Roald Dahl
  • The Brilliant Brontë Sisters
  • The Ballroom Boys
  • Civil War
  • At Home with the Georgians
  • Julia Bradbury’s Wainwright Walks
  • Edward & Mary: The Unknown Tudors
  • Digging for Britain