[Originally posted on February 8, 2016] Late last week, I received an email from one of my favorite streaming TV services, Acorn TV, announcing that their subscription service is now available on Apple TV. This is great news, as it is one more step in the direction of having more of our core TV viewing options centralized on our favorite streaming device, the Apple TV 4.
We discovered Acorn TV three or four years ago, not long after getting our first Roku box, and we have been avid subscribers ever since. Acorn TV currently offers about 1,800 hours of high quality programs previously available only for viewing on British, Australian or Canadian TV. Acorn is a great collection of dramas, period pieces, documentaries, travel and history shows, comedies, and a few things that are quirky and hard to classify (but still intriguing).
Among the current viewing delights on Acorn is a multi-season Australian drama entitled "A Place Called Home" which is set in the early 1950's, when the development of contemporary mores began to emerge out of the ashes of World War II. The series is beautifully shot, true to the aesthetic of the 50's, and contains an array of appealing characters engaged in plenty of family and cultural dynamics that make the program eminently watchable.
Another recent addition to Acorn TV's program offerings is "Billy Connolly's Route 66", which is a delightful trip down the iconic Route 66, starting in downtown Chicago and heading west with Billy, a Scottish comedian, on his three-wheeled motorcycle. You know from the first episode that it's going to be a fun-filled excursion with an engaging host to navigate this famous highway's unique attractions and surprising discoveries. The program contains some fascinating bits of history along the way, including why Al Capone is responsible for the "sell-by" date on a container of milk.
Whatever your particular interest, you are sure to find many things to like on Acorn TV. If you are a fan of public television, you'll be right at home with the content appearing on Acorn TV. And the monthly subscription price of $4.99 (or $49.99 for a yearly subscription) is hard to beat, especially when you consider the quality of the viewing offered in exchange. Of course, now that it's available on Apple TV, new subscribers can purchase a subscription via the App Store for $6.99 a month. However, other than the one-click convenience of doing so, I can't imagine why you wouldn't save the $2.00 a month (and even more an an annual basis) by subscribing through their website at www.acorn.tv.
One of the advantages of watching Acorn TV using the Apple TV interface, compared with a Roku box, is being able to use the Apple TV's remote touch pad to easily "scrub" through the program to find just the spot you're looking for. I had hoped that I could use the even more valuable feature of being able to use the Siri voice command of "what did she (or he) say" to have the program back up 15 seconds and display subtitles, a feature that would be particularly helpful to those of us in the States whose ears are not fully trained to always capture all the nuances of British and Australian pronunciations. However, when I tried this, I was told "you can't do that here" (or words to that effect). Perhaps this feature is specific to each program, so I'll keep experimenting.
I have only begun to experience the Acorn TV service on the Apple TV, due, in part, to the fact, that we endured a 24-hour power outage in Southeastern Massachusetts last weekend as a snow storm dumped about 8 inches of heavy wet snow on the region, taking down trees and power lines. So while the power was out, I figured that, when in Rome, do as the Romans do and wrote most of this blog on my battery-powered iPad.
So treat yourself to some quality streaming (while the power's on) and sign up for Acorn TV. If your tastes are anything like ours, you won't be disappointed.