Is Acorn TV Free With Amazon Prime?

In some cases, we earn commissions from affiliate links in our posts.

As many people know, you can subscribe to Acorn TV (or BritBox) through Amazon Prime Video. It gives you all the great Acorn TV shows, except instead of viewing them through the Acorn TV app, you watch them through the Amazon app on your TV, phone, or tablet. You can always watch those Acorn TV shows on a laptop or desktop computer by simply going to the Amazon website. 

This works especially well for those people who have Samsung or other Smart TVs that don't offer the Acorn TV channel by default. It allows you to subscribe without the need to buy an additional device to plug into your television.

The part that confuses some people, though, is how you pay for it. If you have an Amazon Prime subscription, you probably know that it gives you access to a fairly large library of “free” (free with membership, anyway) TV and film content. In fact, we maintain a list of British TV shows on Amazon Prime here. This, plus the fact that Acorn TV is available on Amazon Prime, leads many to wonder if Acorn TV is included for that price.

Is Acorn TV Free With Amazon Prime?

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. Amazon offers them a marketing channel (their site), distribution, and payment collection, and in return, the two share in the monthly subscription fees. 

It's also important to mention that if you want to subscribe to Acorn TV (or BritBox) through Amazon, an Amazon Prime or Prime Video account is a prerequisite. If you already have a Prime/Prime Video account, that's no big deal.

If you don't already have one, you'll  have to think about whether the additional benefits of Prime are worthwhile for the convenience of subscribing through Amazon. Amazon's Prime Video does offer an additional set of content (including many British shows), but the annual fee is not insignificant.

What's the Difference Between Amazon Prime & Prime Video Membership?

Since subscribing to channels via Amazon requires you to get either an Amazon Prime subscription OR a Prime Video subscription, let's take a look at the difference between the two:

An Amazon Video membership is cheaper, and the only added benefit you get is access to their “free” Prime Video streaming + the ability to subscribe to additional channels like Acorn TV, Smithsonian, BritBox, CBS, Sundance, and so on.

An Amazon Prime membership is more expensive, but it gives you video benefits plus a number of other things like free 2-day (and sometimes 1-day) shipping, music, Whole Foods discounts, and cloud photo storage, along with a number of other things that will vary somewhat by market. Most people are in it for the free shipping, of course. 

 

Why Would You Want to Get Acorn TV on Amazon?

This is the big question we hear over and over again. If I can buy Acorn TV directly from Acorn, why would I want to get it through Amazon? While I wouldn't necessarily recommend it for all users, there are several cases where it can be beneficial:

  • If your internet service provider is slow, you may find the streaming to be smoother with Amazon. This isn't a guarantee, but I've personally tested both options in a variety of geographic locations, and I did see better performance from Amazon when the internet provider was a bit on the slow side. I'm not sure if this is because Amazon adjusts streaming quality on the fly to deliver the best quality your connection speed can handle, but it was definitely smoother in my experience. With my ultra-fast urban ISP, however, I saw no difference at all. 
  • If you prefer to limit the number of places where you enter your credit card, you'll likely prefer subscribing via Amazon. If you subscribe to BritBox, Acorn TV, PBS Masterpiece, and maybe a few others, you can either set up all those accounts separately and share your credit card information with every company, or you can manage it all in one place on Amazon. Some people prefer the security of a single site holding their details.
  • If you have a Samsung Smart TV, Amazon makes it easy to watch Acorn TV. A while back, Acorn TV stopped supporting their Samsung Smart TV app. If this affected you, there are a couple ways to deal with it. You can get a Roku or similar device, or you can switch over to Acorn TV on Amazon. The Amazon app works just fine, and Acorn would then be watched through Amazon.
  • If you like the convenience of managing all your subscriptions quickly and easily through Amazon, you can. Many users like to switch back and forth between streaming services every few months, and Amazon has a single page where you can manage all your subscriptions through them. You can subscribe and unsubscribe with a click or two, and there's no need to talk with a human. It also shows you when things expire, so it's easier to track them. We created a quick tutorial on managing Amazon channel subscriptions HERE.
  • If you like having just one British TV watchlist, Amazon is the better option. If you use Prime Video and subscribe to BritBox and Acorn on Amazon, you can put all the shows you want to see on a single watchlist, rather than opening up all the apps separately to find something to watch. The same goes for other channels like Sundance Now, Cinemax, HBO, Starz, etc. Many people also prefer being able to go to Amazon, type in the show they're looking for, and find it – rather than going into each app separately to find the show they want.
  • If you like using your Amazon credit card to get cash back, or using Amazon gift cards to pay for your subscription, use Amazon. Acorn does offer an annual subscription that allows you to save a bit, but that only applies if you want to buy a full year at once, and I know that's not possible for everyone.

Are there any drawbacks to getting Acorn TV through Amazon?

Yes, there are a couple of things that are slightly less convenient when using Amazon.

  • Occasionally, shows take a little longer to show up on Amazon. It's usually no more than a few hours, but in a couple cases, it has taken a bit longer. If you're the kind of person who gets upset at not being able to watch the very instant a show becomes available, Amazon may be frustrating for you. I've also seen shows linger a bit longer on Acorn at Amazon after they've been removed from Acorn direct.
  • Every now and then, Acorn might pull together a collection of episodes (for example, British TV Christmas specials available on their channel). Amazon doesn't offer an easy way to organise these on their site, so you may have to manually look up the ones you want to watch. You GET them either way, it's just a bit easier to find them through the official Acorn TV app or website than on Amazon.

In Conclusion…

In conclusion, Acorn TV is not free with Amazon Prime, but depending on your situation, you may find it worthwhile to subscribe through Amazon. If you're not sure, remember that both options offer a free trial period, so you can always test them out to see which works better for you.

31 Comments

  1. Suddenly my amazon prime. Video will not connect on my Samsung smart tv I can still watch on computer If I get acorn through will I be able to watch on computer until amazon figures out why my smart tv won’t connect

  2. I did the Free Trial with Acorn. Thought you would charge me after that. You ended up charging me for the Good Karma Hotel.
    Sooo can we get this straight-having enough problems with a hacker ( got Amazon to send he/she a phone and heavens knows what else. Amazon giving me great help to get money returned to me

  3. I recently looked at the Newly Added shows on the Acorn channel on my Roku. I was delighted to see such old favorites as Miranda, A Touch if Frost, and the Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes series. But they wouldn’t play! I was either shot out of the Acorn channel entirely, or I was directed to check my internet connection and try again later. Unfortunately, later never came. I contacted Acorn customer service and they said I had a third party subscription and there was nothing to be done. I had no idea what they were talking about! Still don’t, really. About 7 years ago I cut the cord, bought a roku box and started streaming. I subscribed to Acorn ever since. They said I didn’t have a direct subscription. Can someone explain to me the differences? They have been of little help. Thanks.

  4. Why is Doc Martin not on PBS? That’s where I have watched it all along and I don’t understand why they went with Acorn. All I can see is another thing I have to buy. Very frustrating. Will Amazon at sometime put it on Prime in a year or so? Thanks.

    • I was horribly disappointed this morning to see commercials on Midsomer Murders on Acorn through Amazon Prime. Hoping it is a glitch, because I didn’t have commercials on Netflix (MM apparently went off Netflix October 1.)

  5. My wife and I enjoy Acorn TV and love having it available with Amazon Prime TV. That is…until now. At least with Midsomer Murders they are showing commercials (4 and 5 times with a block of 3-4) and this is annoying. Especially since we pay for Prime AND Acorn. Unless we can find a way to avoid this we will have to unsubscribe from the channel and subscribe to Acorn direct.

    • Hi Saundra – Please note, we are not Acorn TV. You can’t cancel a service with one company by leaving an article comment on an entirely different company’s website. You’ll need to contact Acorn TV directly to cancel your subscription.

  6. In canada….you have to purchase a prime membership to get prime video…there is no seperate prime video option as far as i know…

    • Correct – it’s the same in the US. I’m not sure how good Prime Video is in Canada, but I know it has 360+ British shows on its own here in the US, so a lot of people like to subscribe to it anyway. I understand Canada doesn’t always get the same programs, though, so it may not be as great a deal there.

  7. this is such a mess…basically if i want to watch acorn on my samsung or lg smart tv…..i cant becuase there are no apps fr samsung or lg to watch it on ….so im stuck buying a stick such as roku or fire which i dont feel i should have to…why are there no apps for acorn tv on lg or samsung….ughhhh…my only alternative is to purchase amazon prime and purchase acorn on top of that,,,,,ughhh,,,,cheaper to just buy a stick for each tv…i guess and forget about amazon prime….

  8. Prime Video gives you access to the same free titles (the ones with the Prime stripe across the corner), but you don’t get access to the free shipping, mp3s, and other non-video benefits of a Prime membership. Here’s our most recently updated list of programs you get with Prime Video (though it varies almost daily, so you may find a few that have since gone off).

    https://www.iheartbritishtv.com/2018-update-british-tv-shows-you-can-watch-for-free-on-amazon-prime-video/

    Acorn and BritBox are still separate fees in addition to the Prime Video fee, of course. So, if you wanted Prime Video and Acorn TV, it would be the $9/month + $6 or whatever Acorn is going for now. You can always alternate between channels easily (they have a “manage channels” page where you can cancel and add them without needing to talk to a human). As long as you have that underlying Prime Video membership, you can subscribe to any of their channels as you please – whether that’s Acorn, BritBox, Sundance Now, Cinemax, HBO, Showtime, etc. Occasionally, you’ll find good British shows on those others, and a lot of people “save” their free trial for those services until there’s something they really want to watch.

    One other thing to mention about Amazon channels: If you subscribe and then unsubscribe a day or two later, it will continue to function until the end of your trial period. It’s good to know if you plan on switching back and forth and you don’t want to have to remember to cancel on the last day of the membership. They shut it off at the end of the period you paid for, not the moment when you cancel.

  9. If I subscribe to Acorn TV, either by itself or through Amazon, do I have to pay for each episode I watch of Vera etc, or does my subscription cover watching anything that’s available without additional cost? Ditto BritBox.

    • If you pay for Acorn TV through prime, you’ll get all the content that’s available through Acorn – but you’ll still have to pay for shows that aren’t included in that subscription. For example, Vera has been largely moved over to BritBox at this point, so an Acorn subscription would still require you to pay for most Vera episodes. With a BritBox subscription, you’d get those episodes free.

      Regardless of whether you get either subscription or both subscriptions, there are plenty of British shows on Amazon that would require purchase because they’re just not part of those subscriptions. There are also some British TV shows that are free through your Prime membership, but which aren’t part of BritBox or Acorn TV.

      To find out what’s available on BritBox and Acorn TV, you can visit their websites – both have pages to list all their programming so you can see what’s included.

      • Thank you, that was a speedy and helpful response!
        But just to be sure I understand, if I subscribe to either BritBox or AcornTV but NOT to or through Amazon, the shows which are AVAILABLE through each of those two would be FREE TO VIEW through each of them individually, by dint of having a subscription to them through themselves directly?
        Or alternatively, to subscribe to either or both of BritBox/AcornTV THROUGH AMAZON would require that I for a subscription first to Amazon, and then pay additionally for either or both of them also? And would involve viewing either of them in that case via an Amazon viewer?
        And of course before deciding which services to subscribe to, also searching out which shows that I’m interested in are available where.

        • >>>Or alternatively, to subscribe to either or both of BritBox/AcornTV THROUGH AMAZON would require that I for a subscription first to Amazon, and then pay additionally for either or both of them also? And would involve viewing either of them in that case via an Amazon viewer?

          This is correct. You can subscribe directly with BritBox or Acorn TV, or you can subscribe through Amazon – but if you subscribe through Amazon, they do require you to have Prime Video or a standard Prime membership (which gives you access to another set of “free” shows marked with the Prime banner).

          If you do subscribe through Amazon, you have to view either at Amazon.com on your tablet/computer, or through the Amazon video app. For some people, that’s a perk because there are a number of smart TVs that have the Amazon app but no compatible version of the Acorn TV or BritBox apps. Some people also find it streams better when they subscribe through Amazon.

          Acorn TV and BritBox both offer a free trial when you go direct with them, and Amazon also offers a free trial for their Prime Video service (and you can get a SEPARATE Acorn/BritBox trial week through Amazon). If you have the technical setup where either is possible, I’d recommend taking advantage of both sets of trials to see which gives you the best combination of ease of use and streaming quality. Hope that helps! 🙂

          • That DOES help, I hadn’t known you could get separate trials through Acorn & BritBox themselves AND through Amazon!
            But I am somewhat confused about Amazon Prime, and Amazon Prime VIDEO. As far as I can tell (and sorry, but Amazon seems unclear to me about their video services and their overall Prime service), I could join Amazon Prime for ~$13/month, or just Amazon Prime Video for maybe $9/month, but with Prime I could for instance watch episodes of Endeavour for free, but with Prime Video I’d have to BUY (or rent?) each episode? The confusion, for me, is the name PRIME is one thing with its own conditions, which INCLUDES Prime Video, but Prime Video is itself something different with ITS own conditions if you subscribe to it separately. And the information from Amazon is also confusing. And I ask these questions because I don’t buy much from Amazon, so the Prime would be not quite a good fit for me, but the Prime VIDEO would be, if viewing videos was similarly free.

    • Hi Kate! First off, I want to clarify that we are NOT Acorn TV or BritBox. We are a website that writes about British television and streaming services. We cannot provide support for those companies because nobody here works for them.

      I’m not aware of any special AARP deals, so you would likely need to contact them or Acorn TV directly to find out more about that. I do know that they recently raised the annual price to $59.99, so you may have viewed an old or outdated advertisement.

  10. What is my process to try Acorn TV on Amazon.ca … if I wish to opt out after a week‘s trial is it a hassle?

  11. Thank for this clear and detailed explanation. I have been searching all over and couldn’t find a clear answer to this simple question!

    Note as well, though, that (as of early 2019) Acorn is $1/month, or $10/year (for the full year) cheaper if you subscribe through Amazon Prime rather than Acorn’s own website. So there’s another benefit.

  12. I like to watch Vera and did watch the first 2 seasons on Amazon Prime but to watch the rest if the seasons I have to watch on BritBox which is fine but cannot figure out how to turn on the closed captions option. I really have a hard understanding the words while watching Vera on BritBox.

  13. One item you didn’t mention in doing a BritBox or Acorn subscription through Amazon: You can’t use the annual subscription and get the discount. You have to pay monthly.

    • Hi Barbara,
      For BritBox on Amazon: When logged into your Amazon Account on a computer, click “My Account” and then you should see a section/box near the bottom that says “Memberships and Subscriptions.” From there, it should be in “Prime Video Channels.”
      This link may help, also: https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201975160
      For Acorn directly: On a computer, when logged into Acorn, in the top right corner, click on “My Acorn TV” and a drop down menu should appear. “Manage Account” will be in this menu and you should be able to see payment details there. 🙂
      Cheers,
      Liberty

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*