Philo is the budget-friendly live TV streaming service you’ve been waiting for

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If you’re looking to cut the cord, you might be surprised by how much it costs to do so. You may need to invest in a streaming device like Roku or an Amazon Fire TV stick, then you’ll want to factor in a couple of subscription services like Netflix, Hulu, or HBO Go. And if you’re looking to add streaming live TV, you can expect to pay anywhere from $40 to $70 a month.

That’s where Philo comes in. The live TV streaming service is a budget-friendly that gives you plenty of cable channels without breaking your bank. Here’s everything you need to know about Philo.


$20 per/month

58+ channels Free Trial

What is Philo?

Philo is a streaming TV service that focuses on entertainment, education, and lifestyle programming. Initially launched as a streaming TV solution for college campuses, Philo opened access to the general public in November 2017. Despite its budget price, Philo is a full-featured streaming TV solution, offering most of the perks of more established services.

How does Philo TV work?

No streaming service on the market is easier to try than Philo. Getting started with a free trial only requires a phone number—not a credit card. Once you’ve logged on Philo offers you four options: Home, Live, Saved, and Search. Home is a brief rundown of the shows you’ve been watching (including the option to pick up where you last left off, even if days later), trending live shows, and upcoming programming. The Live section gives you a grid listing of what’s playing at any given moment. Saved captures your DVR programs, while Search is self-explanatory.

One of the odd aspects of Philo is how it handles on-demand content. After a week of solid use, I found that the fastest way to get to the on-demand listings is to pick a channel from the Live section, press down on my remote, and select “More on this channel.” That brings up both a live schedule of what will be playing and a list of the top shows on the network. You can select from those top shows to find the episodes that are currently on-demand. 

What devices support Philo?

The biggest strike against Philo is its lack of streaming options. You can watch Philo on Roku, iOS, Android, a web browser, and following a major update in 2018, Apple TV and Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV. However, while its streaming options are limited, each app is well designed. Learning to navigate around the Roku app has a learning curve, but once you’ve got the hang of things, Philo makes watching your favorite shows easy.

What Channels are on Philo

The standard Philo package comes with 58 channels, featuring a host of great entertainment options and a frustrating lack of news. Unlike many of its streaming competitors, Philo has a deal with Viacom, giving you streaming access to Comedy Central, MTV, BET, and other channels you won’t find elsewhere. The package is rounded out by popular favorites Discovery, A&E, AMC, Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, and the Food Network.

As you can see, this isn’t a package for sports fans or news junkies. In fact, the only news channel you get with Philo is BBC World News. Then again, BBC World News is a great news channel, and it’s not oversaturated with commentary like so many American cable outlets. While once part of an add-on package, channels like BET Her, Cooking, Discovery Life, and Nicktoons are automatically included

One thing to note: Philo does not offer local channels. You’ll want to invest in an HD antenna to supplement Philo. You might also want to look into alternative ways to watch ESPN online.

List of Philo Channels

A&E AMC American Heroes Channel
Animal Planet AspireTV AXS TV
BBC America BBC World News BET
BET Her Cheddar Business Cheddar News
Cleo TV CMT Comedy Central
BET Her Cheddar Business Cheddar News
Cooking Channel Destination America Discovery Channel
Discovery Family Discovery Life DIY Network
Food Network FYI Game Show Network
Hallmark Channel Hallmark Drama Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
HGTV History Channel IFC
Investigation Discovery Law & Crime Lifetime
Logo Motor Trend MTV
MTV Classic MTV Live MTV 2
Nickelodeon Nick Jr Nicktoons
Oprah Winfrey Network Paramount Network PeopleTV
Revolt Science Channel Sundance
Tastemade TeenNick TLC
Travel Channel TV Land UpTV
VH1 Viceland WeTV

How much does Philo cost?

Here’s where Philo sells itself, offering roughly 10 more channels than it’s closest competitor.  Philo’s 58-channel package is just $20 per month (with 7-day free trial), making it one of the cheapest streaming TV solutions around.  

Is Philo worth it?

Philo certainly won’t meet the needs of everyone, but for the money, it’s easily one of the best streaming services on the market. With a starting price below anything else out there, Philo is the ideal budget streaming TV option for people who miss cable. The lack of news and sports channels is a significant issue, but between websites and local over-the-air channels, it’s possible to make up the deficit—and with the money you’re saving, it’s easier to justify.

It’s evident from the channel listing that this service started off aimed at college students, but no matter what time of day you tune in, there’s always something good on. Best of all, there’s no reason not to try it out. Just give Philo your phone number and keep your credit card to yourself. If you’ve always wanted to dip your toe in the waters of streaming TV, Philo is the best way to do it.


Philo Competitors

Hulu Live TV Sling TV Fubo TV
YouTube TV AT&T TV  
VidGo AT&T Watch CBS All Access
Best Premium Streaming Services
Netflix Hulu Disney Plus
Amazon Prime HBO Apple TV+
Starz Shudder DC Universe
BritBox Curiosity Stream WWE Network
Acorn TV Rooster Teeth CrunchyRoll
Where to Stream Popular Cable Channels
A&E AMC Animal Planet
BBC America BET Bravo
Cartoon Network Comedy Central Discovery Channel
Disney Channel Disney XD E!
Food Network Freeform FX
FXX Hallmark Channel HBO
HGTV History Channel IFC
Lifetime MTV National Geographic
Nick at Nite Nick Jr Nickelodeon
Paramount Network Science Channel Showtime
Starz Sundance SYFY
TBS Telemundo TLC
Travel Channel TruTV TNT
Viceland Willow The Weather Channel
Live Sports Channel Streams
ESPNU ESPN Deportes ACC Network
Big Ten Network BeIN Sports Fox Sports
FS1 FS2 MLB Network
Mountain West Network NBA TV NBC Golf
NBC Sports Network NFL Network NFL Redzone
NHL Network Pac 12 Network Tennis Channel
SEC Network DAZN UFC Fight Pass
News Channel Streams
CNN CNBC Fox News Channel
Streaming Devices
Amazon Fire Roku Apple TV
Android iOS Smart TVs
Chromecast XBox Playstation

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John-Michael Bond

John-Michael Bond

John-Michael Bond is a tech reporter and culture writer for Daily Dot. A longtime cord-cutter and early adopter, he's an expert on streaming services (Hulu with Live TV), devices (Roku, Amazon Fire), and anime. A former staff writer for TUAW, he's knowledgeable on all things Apple and Android. You can also also find him regularly performing standup comedy in Los Angeles.