Is there a difference between anschalten and einschalten?
If I turn on the TV, oven, heat, start the car etc., can either verb be used?
Generally both words einschalten and anschalten mean the same thing. Duden defines them as
Thus you can ein- and anschalten following things:
While I would use einschalten rather than anschalten in the pretty most cases Google shows a lot of hits for anschalten though. I assume a regional frequency differences. Others may elaborate on this thought.
In case of heat, however, I'd use einschalten and anschalten when activating the heat in autumn (this does not mean that it works right now) and anmachen (colloquial version of einschalten, respectively anschalten), aufdrehen or hochdrehen (drehen defines the sort of action/movement you do when turning on a heat) when it's cold and I want the heat to work.
In the end, it's similar to turn on/off and switch on/off in English. You can interchange them quite often as well.
The meaning is the same. Einschalten is used way more commonly in written and spoken German. Anschalten is used less, only in spoken German and is the less formal word.