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

At last, a budget streaming TV option for the masses.

Oct 20, 2020, 3:07 pm*



John-Michael Bond

Streaming TV is somewhat of a luxury. While originally launched as an alternative to expensive cable packages it’s only taken a few short years for streaming TV costs to rise. Now your average streaming TV package costs as much as basic cable used to.

While there are exceptions on the market, most of them require you to sacrifice features. But there’s a dark horse on the market, offering big features and incredible channel selection for just $20 per month. Is Philo too good to be true? Here’s everything you need to know about Philo before subscribing.


Here's what we'll cover: 



How much is Philo? Plans, channels, and cost

Philo keeps things simple by only offering one plan for subscribers. The service costs $20 per month and comes with 59 channels focused on entertainment. As you’ll see later on in the channels section, Philo doesn’t have much to offer news or sports fans. But pop culture fanatics will find plenty to love.



Philo channels

Scanning Philo’s channel listing makes it becomes abundantly clear this service got its start as a crowd-pleasing package for college kids. Philo's 59-channel package contains all the pop culture and entertainment options you could want. It is, however, also decidedly lax on news and sports options. But if you only watch TV for entertainment, Philo is tempting. Here’s what you get.


A&EAMCAmerican Heroes Channel
Animal PlanetAspireTVAXS TV
BBC AmericaBBC World NewsBET
BET HerCheddar BusinessCheddar News
Cleo TVCMTComedy Central
Cooking ChannelDestination AmericaDiscovery Channel
Discovery FamilyDiscovery LifeDIY Network
Food NetworkFyiGame Show Network
Great American CountryHallmark ChannelHallmark Drama
Hallmark Movies & MysteriesHGTVHistory Channel
IFCInvestigation DiscoveryLaw & Crime
MotorTrendMTVMTV Classic
MTV LiveMTV 2Nick Jr.
Paramount NetworkPeopleTVRevolt
Science ChannelSundanceTVTastemade
TeenNickTLCTravel Channel



What else is on Philo?



Philo local channels

One of the compromises that come with Philo’s low cost is the lack of local channels. If you get Philo, prepare to pick up an antenna to watch the local news and big events like the Grammy Awards, Oscars, and Super Bowl.



Philo add-ons

Philo is lacking compared to other streaming TV options in the add-on department. Currently, the service does not offer any extra add-on channels or features. 



Philo streaming devices

Philo works with pretty much every major streaming-focused device on the market, though it has a few odd exceptions. Most notably, even though it started on college campuses, Philo doesn’t have an app for Xbox or PlayStation. Still, there are plenty of ways to watch. Here are your options. 

  • Roku
  • Apple TV
  • Fire TV
  • Amazon Fire Stick
  • Android TV
  • Android 
  • iOS



Philo DVR and multiple screens 

Philo has one of the most generous DVR set-ups on the market, a fact made all the more remarkable by the service’s budget price. Every Philo account gets unlimited DVR space, with up to 10 personalized accounts available per membership. Philo has unlimited free cloud DVR, record and watch all of your favorite shows for up to 30 days. After that, they disappear, so don’t expect to save entire seasons of your favorite shows. 

But don’t worry if you forget to record your favorite show. Everything on Philo that’s aired in the last 72 hours can be streamed at any time, thanks to a feature called Rewind. 

Each membership can be streamed on up to three different devices at the same time. Currently, there’s no way to add extra screens to your account, but three is a generous number for the price. 



Philo on-demand and offline content

There is a massive amount of on-demand content to be found on Philo drawn from across its channel lineup. The service estimates it has over 40,000 titles to choose from in its on-demand library, and it feels like it when you're browsing it. Add to that the 72-hour Rewind feature and there’s literally always something to watch on Philo. 



Philo vs. The Competition

Philo vs. WatchTV 

Of all the streaming TV services on the market, WatchTV is probably Philo’s closest competition. At just $15 per month for 35+ channels (including CNN, which Philo lacks), WatchTV is a pretty great deal. The problem is what's missing. WatchTV doesn’t include cloud DVR or multiple screens. If you’re living on a budget and not sharing your streaming service, or you don’t need DVR, WatchTV is a solid choice. But for most viewers, Philo will be worth the extra $5 per month for its bonus features and extra channels. 

Philo vs. Pluto TV

Pluto TV's another option if you're looking for entertainment, and since Pluto's free, you could "why not both" and bounce between the services. You'll see that Pluto's got a lot of news and sports among its specialty sections, as its organization is similar to what you might see with a cable set-up. It's also got an appreciable on-demand library to supplement what you'd get on Philo. It lacks DVR capabilities and it relies on advertising for revenue, but it's free. 

Philo vs. Sling TV

Sling TV was the first budget streaming TV solution on the market, but over the years, its prices have gone up. However, depending on what kind of streaming experience you’re looking for, Sling TV may still be the most attractive option. Sling TV comes in three packages, Orange, Blue, and Orange + Blue. The 32-channel Orange and the 47-channel Blue packages each cost $30 per month, while the 53-channel Orange + Blue package is $45.

Given that Philo comes with 59 channels for just $20, it may seem like Sling TV has nothing to offer. But here’s the thing: Sling TV offers a far more well-rounded package of channels than Philo. Philo might have more channels, but it doesn’t have ESPN, MSNBC, or TNT, for starters. Sling TV also includes local channels in your lineup, giving viewers even more sports options. Philo is a perfect package if all you ever want to watch is basic cable. But if you have an extra $10 to spare, Sling TVs Orange or Blue packages might just deliver the budget-priced cable of your dreams. 

Philo vs. YouTube TV

Only two streaming TV options on the market make it incredibly easy to share your account with multiple friends—Philo and YouTube TV. Of the two, the $49.99 per month YouTube TV has a few more options and features. The service comes with 70+ channels, including ESPN, MSNBC, Fox News, and local channels. Interestingly, when it comes to simultaneous streams and DVR, they're the same. Each offers unlimited storage and three simultaneous streams at once. 

The question, when choosing between Philo and YouTube TV, comes down to the needs of the people you’re sharing it with. $49.99 per month is over twice as much as Philo, but if you split it three ways, it’s actually very reasonable. Especially if you live in a house with people who care about sports, local channels, and news. Philo is ideal for a very specific kind of entertainment-focused TV fan, but when you stack of cost, features, and channels, YouTube TV is hard to beat. 



Is Philo worth it?

Philo is a truly wonderful streaming TV solution, but that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. Ask yourself what your favorite channels are. Do you mostly watch MTV, Comedy Central, Comedy Central, Discovery, Food Network, and Vice? Then Philo could be the perfect package for you, with all the entertainment you could ever want. But if you care about the news, sports, or local channels, Philo is going to leave you wanting. We highly recommend Philo, as it’s a great service with a competitive price and big name channels. But if you’re looking for a budget option that includes sports, the news, and local channels, Sling TV might be your best option. But if you want entertainment TV and big savings, try out Philo. 



How to sign up for Philo

Signing up for Philo is unlike any other streaming TV service in you can use either just your email or phone number to get started. Here’s how it works.

  1. Visit the Philo website and find the "Start Your Subscription" box on the homepage.
  2. Enter either your cell phone number or email address
  3. On the next page, enter your payment information and any coupons you might have. 
  4. Start watching. 

Live TV Service Guides

AT&T TV NOW CBS All AccessFubo TV
Hulu with Live TVPhiloPluto TV
Sling TVVidgoYouTube TV

Streaming Device Guides

Amazon FireApple TVAndroid
RokuSmart TVsXBox

Entertainment Channel Guides

A&EAMCAnimal Planet
BBC AmericaBETBravo
Cartoon NetworkComedy CentralDiscovery Channel
Disney ChannelDisney XDE!
Food NetworkFreeformFX
FXXHallmark ChannelHGTV
History ChannelIFCLifetime
MTVNat GeoNickelodeon
Nick JrParamount NetworkScience Channel
TLCTravel ChannelTruTV
VH1WillowThe Weather Channel

News Channel Guides

CNNCNBCFox News Channel

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*First Published: Dec 2, 2017, 6:00 am