Hate the New Acorn TV Interface? There’s a Simple Fix.

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The new Acorn TV interface…

In our opinion, Acorn TV has traditionally had the very best app for streaming British TV content. Netflix has the annoying auto-play when you're browsing, BritBox hasn't yet worked out all the bugs, and Hulu…let's not even talk about that monstrosity of a redesign they put out last fall. Acorn TV, however, had a delightfully simple, functional app that did a great job of showcasing the 200-300 titles they tend to have at any one time. It was fast and effective and all-around great.

The new app, however, is a huge step down. Unfortunately, the new experience is buggy, hard for many to read, and less functional. We've been seeing complaints non-stop since the update started rolling out, with positive comments few and far between – and mostly along the lines of, “It's alright, I guess I'll get used to it.”

What's different with the New Acorn TV App?

Not everyone has seen the new Acorn TV experience yet. Some devices have rolled it out automatically, while other people had to reset their devices to get the new version. If you subscribe to Acorn TV through Amazon, you won't see a change.

The biggest and most noticeable change is that everything has gotten really small, even on relatively large screens. Now, anyone who's been in a British TV Facebook group (like ours, which you can join here) will know the audience for British TV tends to skew a bit older (there are younger viewers, but fewer of them). The overwhelming majority of our Facebook page likes and website visitors are over 45, with a substantial portion over 65. Most people over 40-45 have some level of diminished reading vision, so why not take that into account?

Note: We don't collect your personally identifiable information unless you give it to us, but our site traffic tools give us aggregate data about our audience.

The new app has also removed the bar under shows that showed your progress, and there's a new auto-play feature that means you can fall asleep watching and wake up 8 hours later having slept through half a dozen episodes. Most apps with auto-play have a way to shut it off, but I've looked around the Acorn TV app and I don't see that option anywhere at time of writing.

The thing I dislike most about the new app is that you don't see episode descriptions as you scroll from side to side. Instead, you have to click on the episode to read it, then go back, etc. It's just less efficient. Here's a comparison:

The old Acorn TV app showed each episode description and your progress as you browsed.

And the new app…

The new Acorn app forces you to click each episode for a preview.

The new app also makes it harder to find your way back to where you were in a series, since it doesn't automatically take you to the episode you were ready to start. There's a “resume from –” button, but that doesn't give you the same visual feedback about how far you are in the series (by seeing shows before and after as you scroll right to left).

Some people have been even less fortunate, in that they can't open or use Acorn TV at all now. We've seen a number of complaints from users with Apple devices who say the app just flashes on and disappears. What a disaster for people who were looking forward to watching a favorite British show this weekend!

We Still Love Acorn TV, Though…

Now, if it were any other app, we'd be tempted to just unsubscribe and move on (that's what we did with Hulu). However, we – like a lot of people – really love Acorn TV's content. If you love your Acorn TV but hate the new app, there are two things you can do to fix it.

Give Your Feedback

Acorn TV set up a survey here to let people give their feedback about the new app. This is a great opportunity to give them better feedback than “I HATE THIS” so they can fix this situation. Be specific with your complaints for maximum benefit. If you like anything about the new version, include that, too.

Use Amazon Until the App Improves

If you don't like the Acorn TV app anymore, you can always subscribe to Acorn TV through Amazon. They offer a free trial to see if you like it, and it's extremely easy to cancel if you later want to go back to Acorn directly.

We hope all the issues and problems will be fixed very soon, but in the meantime, this may help some people to watch their favorite shows in a more user-friendly way. Amazon's app isn't perfect, and the experience varies by device, but you may find you like it better while Acorn is fixing their app.

What Do You Think of the New App?

Whether you love it or just need to vent, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments (but if you work for any of the companies involved or their competitors, please disclose that with your comments).

46 Comments

  1. After I subscribed, I was shown just a “carousel” of five or six shows to choose from. Where is the extensive library of shows? How do I access more shows, older as well as newer?

    • Did you subscribe through Acorn TV’s app, or through Amazon? For Amazon, you can see the full listing of programs here: https://amzn.to/2GMDuoB

      For direct Acorn TV subscriptions, the app has show categories if you navigate down below the main carousel. Hope that helps!

    • I am experiencing this as well. I can not access over 120+ shows. It just freezes at show 5 or 6 in every category. How on earth is this an improvement? I have filled out multiple service forms and still nothing is fixed. This is such an epic failure for Acorn. It seems that in order to justify having programmers on staff, they made unnecessary changes and have destroyed what was a great streaming channel.

  2. Please return to old way with Acorn. I loved being able to read descriptions of episodes. It was also so much easier to maneuver around. PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE! Okay?

  3. I use the app to cast to Chromecast (Ultra). I’ve always come and gone with Acorn usage, so I’m surprised there are differences.

  4. I agree with the problems cited by this post. I like being able to see graphically where I am in the series and be able to quickly see/read the synopsis without opening the episode. I see no advantages over the old set up. It had been one of the most user friendly interfaces. Why copy inferior apps???

  5. Why “fix” something if it’s not broken? I used Acorn all the time even to many of the programs are available on other sites simply because Acorn was easier and faster and clearer to use. Now it’s all screwed up. I have to type in a password and go through 10 hoops before I can even see my shows. Please go back.

  6. After complaining a few times, about the font size mostly, Acorn wrote me:

    Dear ….

    Thank you for contacting Acorn TV!

    We have reported to our tech development team that viewers feel the overall font on the website is too small. It is currently being investigated.

    We sincerely apologize for this issue.

    Best wishes,
    The Acorn TV Team

  7. I find it very difficult to figure out which episodes I have already watched. It was so simple before the way the line underneath each episode showed if partially watched, fully watched or not watched at all.?those of us getting a little order need that help. And the way you have to pick episode and then read info at top.? Why oh why do people have to take a great thing and then screw it up. Please go back to the way it was!!!!

  8. Cannot cast at all since update. My 10.3.3 version iPad with Chromecast worked fine until now. I’ve deleted and re downloaded Acorn app without success. Still gives me an error message saying content not available and that I am not connected to the internet when I am. Waiting to hear from help,desk

  9. I am having the same problem as Deborah. I have not heard back from Acorn tv but they did take my monthly subscription out right on time. I understand why they can’t get back to each person but why don’t they post something on their site?

  10. I love Acorn and upgraded to an annual subscription — just before the interface changed. Now it looks different, but many of the user-friendly features are gone. No longer is the last episode in a series marked for watching next, and autoplay has been added with no option for turning it off. It is now a much more unpleasant experience. I subscribed through Roku and there are no refunds. I feel really skewered. It sounds like subscribing through Amazon presents an experience like before — but who wants to double subscribe?
    I keep hoping Acorn will sent out an update and keep asking if their IT people ever actually use the app at home?

    • Ugh, sorry to hear that! I agree that the new interface continues to be pretty terrible. I’m hopeful that they’ll fix it, but who knows. They’ve opened a new group on Facebook with some very unfriendly moderators, and it continues to get lots of complaints. Unfortunately, they say Acorn employees don’t actually monitor the group for suggestions or support, which is just mind-boggling. I’m sorry to hear you can’t get a refund, but if you paid with a credit card, you might be able to try a chargeback. They substantially altered the service you believed you were signing on for, so it seems like there’s a reasonable case to be made.

  11. I use (or try to use) Acorn TV on iOS (my iPhone or iPad). With the new app I can no longer log in to the Acorn app — it keeps telling me that my password is incorrect even though I can log in using a browser with that same password. (I need to use the app so I can ChromeCast to my TV — Chrome under iOS doesn’t support this capability.) When I try to do a password reset from the app it always gives me the message “Password failed to be reset! Please try again.” I submitted a ticket to Acorn and haven’t heard anything. I love Acorn, but I hate their new app.

    • Per my comment on April 15, I have the same problem. Impossible to cast as I had done successfully since signing up in September. I have talked to three people, messaged through twitter and gotten messages back from the ticket I opened three weeks ago. I hear back that the issue is fixed. It’s not. I actually moved up my schedule to buy a new IPad and same problem persists. I signed up with Britbox and have no problem casting. It’s a little more expensive but I waited to sign up with Acorn until they were Chromecast compatible. Now they’re not. I’ll be cancelling on Monday.

  12. The new app just simply does not work properly. I won’t bother to list the problems I have had with it because I have written up the “bug” list for Acorn TV support SIX TIMES. I have yet to receive anything other than a robot response claiming someone will be in touch with me shortly. WHO? WHEN? So I’m stuck with a non-refundable annual subscription and no recourse. Anyone want to join me in class action law suit?

  13. The “search” function is worse than useless. It is interrupted to do a “search” after only one or two letters have been entered. Too frustrating, and too bad since I love Acorn content!

  14. While watching Acorn, the show freezes up and I am put back to my home page. Then, I have to go through a long series of steps to get back to the show that I was watching, only to repeat the same process in a few minutes. I only have this with the firestick, not on the computer or tablet. Any suggestions.

    • I am so frustrated, having the exact problem as you Maureen K. It takes me over two hours to get through a 1 1/2 hour show because of the times it turns off and sends me back to my home screen, have not had a response from my inquiry from Acorn.

    • Exact same issue has been occurring for the last few days. I love their shows but this ridiculous!!! I paid for a way to watch British shows in full….not having to restart them every 10 minutes!!

    • I have the same problem. I thought about getting a digital AV adapter from Amazon. It’s 20.00 for a iPad 2. But some people say it works great and others say it doesn’t work at all. And thought about getting a Roku stick. Not sure it would work either. Can I ask what kind of tv you have? I have a Sony smart tv and I’m using an Amazon stick.

  15. I subscribed to Acorn through iTunes. I just updated the App and now I cannot access the site at all. It keeps directing me to a free trial offer, I have submitted two help requests to tags Acorn online system and have not received any responses ( otter than an auto reply acknowledging receipt of my request). Very disappointed with Acorn’s poor customer service. I feel I have no choice but to unsubscribe .

    • That was my decision and a sad one as they offer such fabulous content. I subscribed directly and cancelled my annual subscription directly. They have not contacted me about a refund for the six months unused. It seems reckless to roll out an app with so little effective beta testing. I am now on a monthly subscription to Britbox. It costs a little more (much less than I paid for Acorn if they never refund). But Britbox works with iPad and Chromecast.

  16. Love Acorn TV. Hate, despise, loath the Acorn TV App on Samsung Smart TV and Apple iPad. With the latest update, the App on those two devices will not allow me to sign in, even though I sign in flawlessly via web browser on the same Samsung TV and Apple iPad. I stream exclusively and the Acorn TV app is by far the worst streaming TV app I use. Since I can’t sign in using the App, I no longer recommend Acorn TV to others and will most likely give up my subscription in the near future if the App doesn’t improve.

  17. Additionally, regardless the version of the app, it’s ridiculous that a streaming app in this day and age provides no means to fast forward or reverse.

  18. I am also hating the recent Acorn app (for iPad). I suppose I am lucky because I can still actually watch the shows… My main problem is: once I choose a series and begin watching, I can’t go backwards to chose another series. There is a back arrow in the upper left; this will toggle back & forth endlessly between “remove from watchlist” and “add to watchlist.” (This arrow actually does work as a back arrow on the iPad mini, but, I am watching on the standard size.) Once I turned the iPad to portrait orientation and the arrow worked — one time. Guess I am stuck in Murdoch for a while! Also, I preferred the list of episodes instead of the giant full-screen previews which are unnecessary. The one positive fix is the drop down menu to choose the season — the ONLY thing they needed to fix on the old app.

  19. I wanted to share the survey on facebook but since I already took the survey it would not show me the page to share. I even looked on the Acorn web site and did not find it.

  20. I am hearing impaired and use closed captioning. Or at least I did until the new acorn app. Now I’m never sure when it will play. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. I’ve written the acorn several times and gotten a response of things to try but nothing seems to fix it. They took a good working app it’s screwed up with this new app. Is anybody listening at acorn?

  21. I have given Acorn 2 months to fix the new user interface or revert back to the old user interface or we will drop our subscription. It loses track of what episodes we have viewed, useless. In addition to being a monstrosity to use.

    Why do Companies that have a good thing going destroy their product by re-designing. Such fools.

  22. Hi Acorn Tech

    Now i completely understand the episode tracking problem. It appears the new update was not compatible with the old data base relative to episodes I have viewed in the past. Acorn MUST realize what a disaster this is to ME THE CUSTOMER. The re-design requirements SHOULD have been compatible with the old data base. A major screw up by Acorn engineering / Software management, THEY SHOULD ALL BE FIRED!!!

    Please tell me and a long list of other Acorn Customers WHY Acorn Management decided to re-design the user interface. THEY MUST KNOW THE NEW DESIGN IS A MAJOR SCREW UP, BIGGIE AND DOES NOT PROVIDE ALL THE FUNCTION OF THE OLD USER INTERFACE. ACORN MANAGEMENT WHAT WERE YOU THINKING. I ONLY HOPE YOU GUY ARE GONE.

    So where does that leave me, Larry Durkos, a real pissed off customer. First hoping your better media will find a new home that I am now subscribed too. Also hoping that someone in your software writing group can think out how to make this new user interface compatible with the old data base and with the next Rev of the software MY previously viewed episodes with become so indicated. I also hope that same guy can drop the “red bar idea” and indicate, as the old Rev did along with all other competitive user interfaces, draw a line under previously viewed episodes and the underlines appear when the episode box appears, that it is fast unlike the ‘red bar”. The “red bar” is hard to use and sloooooooooooow. BAD SOFTWARE, BAD DESIGN.

    Let me know if and when all these fixes will be DONE, me and I am sure thousands if not tens of thousands of customers are waiting for this fix while deciding whether to drop Acorn completely. This is not fun writing these email telling Acorn how they screwed up and how to fix the new user interface.
    Guys the ball is in your court in a very competitive business, if you all can not get it done quick I am gone, along with thousands of other CUSTOMERS.

    • Hi Larry – I totally appreciate the frustration and outrage, and we have seen a LOT of unhappy people. However, this website is not run by Acorn or BritBox. We’re just a fan site offering up news and information on British TV. It’s unlikely Acorn will see your message here, so i would recommend emailing it to them directly so they know how you feel.

  23. On Amazon Fire Stick now the loads have become difficult to impossible with the load arrow just spinning and spinning and not loading.

  24. Thanks…
    I was hesitant to buying a refurbished Apple IPAD but this tablet functions as well as new tablets of varied brands I have purchased NEW in the past for sublime amounts of money. I would not balk at buying another such product from this responsive seller in the future.

    Jerome Y.

  25. Thankyou
    Great monitor! My main is a 2K G-Sync, and this matches it nicely. It has a lot more inputs to connect other devices. I use all of them, and am very pleased so far.

  26. I just signed up for Acorn last weekend because I was dying to watch “Hidden Villages” and the Julie Walters “Coastal Railways” series, I think my free trial ends tomorrow. I already have been signed up for Britbox a few months ago. The trouble I’ve run into is on my Samsung TV. I have a Roku stick attached to it, and from there, Britbox works great, but when I try to also access Acorn TV via the Roku stick, it keeps asking for a 4-digit pin and it shows “Roku Pay” on the screen. I don’t know if this is because I’m still within my one-week free trial, and my credit card hasn’t been charged, or if this will keep coming up. Meanwhile I’m trying to find a solution, because when I use the Acorn app on the TV, which I got through Samsung apps, the other night it would freeze when loading. On the upside, I’m loving Hidden Villages!

  27. I just signed up for a 7 day free trial on my MAC and have had no trouble there. However, I also downloaded the app to my Samsung Smart TV and I am unable to log in. I use the same email and password for the free trial I’m viewing on my MAC, but on the Samsung I get “Invalid Password”. I will definitely cancel my trial before the 7 days are up if I can not watch on my Samsung TV. Glad I read these comments as now I realize it must be the new Acorn app and nothing I’m doing incorrectly.

    • I’ve been an Acorn TV subscriber for almost 2 years. I watched using my Samsung TV for 8 months without any issues. Then i started getting Network Error messages as well as Invalid Password. Per Acorn’s tech support, Samsung has released a new operating system for their newer Smart TV models and will no longer be supporting app updates on Smart TVs from 2015 and prior. As a result, they’re no longer able to update the Acorn TV app on these models. This is why I now use a Roku stick. Cheers!

  28. I had horrible issues with my Samsung TV interfacing with Acorn. So ridiculous as it was I purchased a FireStick for my smart TV. It worked and issues resolved. Until now. I can watch about half a program and then it starts buffering and freezing. I have to exit the program and then go back in multiple times. Frustrating as hell. Acorn needs to get some REAL pros on their staff. Much as I love the programming there’s no point in subscribing if I can’t view the programs. I’m ready to cancel.

  29. I finally bit the bullet and subscribed to Acorn thru Amazon even though I still have a little bit of my yearly subscription left. It is definitely with the few extra bucks for the peace of mind. Plays well on my Firestick.

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