Philo Review

Philo logo

Philo

9.0

Millennial Money rating

Bottom Line

With 61 channels, DVR, and compatibility with all your devices, Philo stands out from the other platforms in its price range.

Pros

  • Affordable Streaming Option
  • 61 Channel Line Up
  • DVR with Ad Skipping

Cons

  • No Local Channels
  • No Parental Controls

Trial Period

10.0

Cost

10.0

Channel Line Up

8.0

Parental Controls

8.0

Philo logo

Cable and satellite are expensive, and the return just isn’t worth the investment for millions of entertainment-seekers.

Are you ready to cut the Cable TV cord and turn to a streaming platform?

Philo gives you an impressive lineup of 61 channels with unlimited DVR at a price that’s hard to beat.

For $20, a month, you get the live feel of cable service with the user experience and low cost of a savvy streaming platform.

If you’re looking for a cheap streaming service that meets your basic TV needs with some awesome bonus features, Philo is a no-brainer. But if you watch a lot of news and sports, you’ll want to look for a more robust service.

What Is Philo TV?

Philo is a 2009 Harvard startup that launched nationwide in 2017. Since then, it’s snagged over 750,000 monthly subscribers.

Comparable to Sling TV and AT&T Now, it’s one of the cheapest live streaming experiences on the market.

Philo offers a bundle of channels owned by a few providers you’re probably familiar with:

  • A&E
  • AMC
  • Discovery
  • Viacom

You won’t find sports networks like ESPN on this TV streaming service, but you will find some of the nation’s most popular reality, lifestyle, and entertainment programming.

If you do need sports in your life, you could still save money by mixing and matching: subscribing to Philo and ESPN+, which costs only $5.99 a month.

Philo Features

So what do you get with Philo packages? Let’s walk through some of the biggest perks of Philo TV.

Extensive Live Channel Lineup

Philo comes with 61 streaming channels, more than all the competitors around its price point.

What you see is what you get. Without any location restrictions, you’ll have access to all of Philo’s channels, no matter where you live.

Here is the Philo 61 channel lineup:

Channel Included with Philo
A&E ✔️
AMC ✔️
American Heroes ✔️
Animal Planet ✔️
Aspire ✔️
AXS TV ✔️
BBC America ✔️
BBC World News ✔️
BET ✔️
BET Her ✔️
Cheddar ✔️
CLEO TV ✔️
CMT ✔️
Comedy Central ✔️
Cooking Channel ✔️
Destination America ✔️
Discovery ✔️
Discovery Family ✔️
Discovery Life ✔️
DIY Network ✔️
Food Network ✔️
FYI ✔️
GSN ✔️
Get TV ✔️
Great American Country ✔️
Hallmark Channel ✔️
Hallmark Drama ✔️
Hallmark Movies & Mysteries ✔️
HGTV ✔️
History ✔️
IFC ✔️
INSP ✔️
Investigation Discovery ✔️
Law and Crime ✔️
Lifetime ✔️
Lifetime Movie Network ✔️
Logo ✔️
MotorTrend ✔️
MTV ✔️
MTV Classic ✔️
MTV Live ✔️
MTV2 ✔️
Nick Jr. ✔️
Nickelodeon ✔️
NickToons ✔️
OWN ✔️
Paramount Network ✔️
People TV ✔️
Revolt ✔️
Science ✔️
Sundance TV ✔️
TasteMade ✔️
TeenNick ✔️
TLC ✔️
Travel Channel ✔️
TV Land ✔️
ONE TV ✔️
UPtv ✔️
VH1 ✔️
Viceland ✔️
We TV ✔️

Notable absences from the Philo lineup include:

  • Local channels
  • On-air networks like ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX
  • Sports channels
  • Disney’s channels
  • Bravo
  • Turner networks like TBS, TNT, and CNN.

Cord cutters who don’t watch much news or sports but do watch lifestyle and entertainment programming will love Philo.

Philo Add Ons

In addition to its base package, Philo offers add-ons for Epix and STARZ so you can binge even more of your favorites.

Additional $6/month

  • Epix
  • Epix Hits
  • Epix 2

Additional $9/month

  • Starz
  • Starz Encore
  • Starz Kids & Family

On-Demand

In addition to live TV, you also get access to a library of thousands of TV shows and movies on demand. You can search Philo’s massive collection of on-demand content by title or search by network.

Philo has more on-demand content than some of its pricier competitors like YouTube TV. Of course, it doesn’t boast as many options as Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu which specialize in on-demand content.

But when it comes to popular new TV shows that are still on the air (on the cable channels Philo streams), you can expect to find access to the most recently aired episodes.

DVR

One of the best features of Philo is its DVR functionality. With Philo TV, you can record an unlimited amount of shows and movies and store them for as long as 30 days, at no additional charge.

By comparison, Sling limits you to 10 hours of recordings with its basic package, and not every network allows you to record — even fewer networks have unlimited cloud DVR storage.

You can also rewind and fast-forward to your heart’s content, without having to watch any ads on your recordings.

Simultaneous Streams

If you’re planning to share your account with a couple of roommates or family members, you won’t have to worry about getting kicked out because someone else is streaming.

With Philo, you’re allowed as many as three simultaneous streams at any given time, meaning three devices can watch TV using your account at once. You could also set up 10 different profiles within one account.

Some providers require you to pay for an upgrade like this, but it’s bundled into Philo’s basic services.

Streaming Device Compatibility

Philo is compatible with several of the most popular smart TVs and devices. If you plan to stream on one of the devices below, you’re good to go with Philo:

  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Android TV (5.0 and later)
  • Android and iOS devices
  • Apple TV (4th gen and later)
  • Chromecast (2nd gen and later)
  • Fire tablet
  • Roku
  • Web browsers: Chrome, Safari, Edge, and Firefox

That leaves out gaming systems and a few popular smart TVs, but with the TV Everywhere app, you should still be able to watch on some devices excluded from the list above.

User Experience

Philo’s interface is simple and intuitive. The home screen recommends shows and movies based on your saved content, along with what’s trending and new and upcoming content.

While it would be nice if you could sift through shows and movies by genre, the simple interface works well enough.

From the home page, you can also pick up where you left off with a “Keep Watching” section or navigate to your saved shows.

Depending on what device you’re using, you’ll have access to a guide screen or a live screen that shows you what’s playing on each channel.

Philo’s search tool is solid, too, quickly populating results from its library on-screen as you type.

When it comes to customization, you can create up to 10 profiles to make the platform your own. Just note that Philo lacks parental controls if you’re worried about restricting your kids’ access to mature content.

How Much Does Philo Cost?

Philo costs $20 a month, period.

Other streaming services like Hulu charge more for commercial-free streaming or unlimited DVR cloud storage space, but there are no up-charges with Philo.

Philo used to offer two plans at different price points, but now it only offers the 61-channel package for $20.

The one exception is the option to add premium channels.

You can add STARZ to your plan for $9 a month and EPIX for $6.

Philo does not have an option for HBO or Showtime, but the 61-channel lineup does include several movie channels such as Hallmark, LMN, and AMC.

Signing Up

Signing up for Philo is easy. The service comes with a free seven-day trial.

Even better, you don’t have to enter any payment info to give Philo a try for two days, which is pretty uncommon.

All you’ll need to do is enter your mobile number, where you’ll get a secure code and a link to log in and start your trial. After 48 hours, you’ll be prompted to enter your credit card info to access the remaining five days of the trial.

If you choose to sign up with email instead of your phone number, you’ll be asked to submit your payment info at the start of the trial.

Once the trial is up, you can cancel and reactivate your account at any time.

Philo TV Promotions

All too often, people sign up for a free trial, forget to cancel, and only realize it when they check their bank statement.

Philo’s 2-day promotion without payment info is an awesome promotion you won’t find with many services.

This offer and the 7-day free trial are always available. From time to time, you may be able to get additional discounts and introductory offers, too, like when you buy a smart TV that features the Philo app.

Security

Philo is a safe streaming platform. Unlike a lot of streaming services, it offers a more secure login process than simply entering a username and password.

Instead, the process looks like this:

  1. Enter the number or email associated with your account
  2. Follow the link sent to your phone or email address
  3. Confirm your device to log in

Beyond that safety feature, Philo also notes that it can work when you’re connected to a VPN (virtual private network), which can add another level of privacy.

Customer Support

Philo is pretty easy to use, whether you’re watching, signing up, or managing your account. But if you find yourself in need of assistance, their Help Center is full of advice.

It has a nifty search bar, popular articles, and FAQs for operating Philo, managing payments, and troubleshooting.

You can also chat with a representative online or give them a call between 10 a.m. and midnight (ET).

FAQs

Is Philo a good streaming service?

Philo is at the top of our list of the best streaming services based on Philo reviews, cost, and channel selection.

Is Philo worth the money?

Philo offers the widest selection of channels for the lowest cost. If you’re looking for a basic live streaming service and prefer reality and lifestyle TV over news and sports it’s well worth the money.

Is Philo better than Sling?

Philo beats Sling in terms of streaming capability, DVR storage, and affordability, with Sling’s lowest package starting at $30 for around half the channels. The main benefit of Sling is its inclusion of sports networks.

Does Philo have local channels?

Philo does not have local channels like Fox, ABC, NBC, and CBS. A simple and affordable fix is to buy an HD antenna to pick up on local networks, for a low one-time fee.

Does Philo have a contract?

No. Philo is a pay-as-you-go monthly service provider, so you aren’t required to make any commitments when you sign up. You can cancel your service at any time.

Can you share your Philo account?

You can create 10 personalized profiles on your Philo account, and up to 3 people can stream on your account simultaneously.

Is Philo better than YouTube TV?

YouTube TV, which is owned by Google, is a full-service streaming service that includes local channels and cable channels. It also costs about 3 times more than Philo. Google Fiber recently endorsed Philo as an alternative to cable.

Can you request channels?

Philo’s help center includes a way to request additional Philo channels. It never hurts to ask, but keep in mind Philo’s low-cost results from its current lineup. Adding expensive sports programming would drive up the monthly cost.

How do you cancel Philo TV?

Canceling your Philo account couldn’t be much easier. There’s no need to call and explain yourself to anyone — just click the cancel button on your account page. You can restart your subscription anytime.

Where does the name Philo come from?

This streaming service is named after Philo Farnsworth, who invented the TV.

Pros & Cons of Philo

There are a lot of advantages to Philo, but no service is perfect. Whether Philo is right for you depends on what you want from a streaming service.

To recap, here are some of the biggest benefits and drawbacks to Philo TV.

Pros

  • $20 a month, with unlimited access and no contracts required.
  • 61 channel lineup features tons of popular lifestyle networks.
  • DVR with ad skipping and unlimited storage for up to 30 days.
  • As many as 3 people can stream at once on your account.
  • Works with leading devices, including Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku.

Cons

  • There are no local or sports channels available and limited news.
  • No parental controls to restrict mature content on children’s profiles.
  • Won’t work on most gaming consoles.
  • No add-ons for HBO or Showtime.

Alternatives to Philo

Not sure if Philo is the right streaming service for you?

Take a look at a few of its top alternatives below:

  • Sling TV: Another budget option that does include sports channels.
  • Hulu + Live TV: Combines on-demand with live streaming.
  • YouTube TV: A full-service option for cord cutters that includes local channels & most cable channels.
  • fuboTV: Streaming for sports enthusiasts.
  • AT&T TV Now: Nice in-between option like Hulu + Live TV.

Just note that the terms, features, channels, and costs of these services vary, so you should do your homework before picking a service.

This is a fast-changing sector of the entertainment industry. New streaming services pop up regularly, and some options, like Sony’s Playstation Vue, have discontinued their service.

One thing is certain: traditional cable TV providers are shedding subscribers. In 2018 alone, 33 million Americans canceled their cable service; many of them signed up for a streaming service like Philo.

Why Is Cable TV Losing Subscribers?

Cable TV became part of mainstream American culture in the 1980s with channels like MTV, CNN, TNT, and ESPN becoming permanent fixtures in neighborhoods across the country.

The number of channels continued to grow over the next couple of decades with Disney Channel, HGTV, History Channel, Hallmark, and Discovery Channel joining the list of must-have networks.

Cable TV providers like Spectrum and Comcast continued to add new channels which — along with the need to maintain a physical network of cable lines — helped drive up the monthly cost of cable service.

But most subscribers watched only a handful of channels and ignored the rest — all while paying for the entire package. Every month people complained about the rising cost but continued to pay the cable bill because they wanted to watch their favorite three or four channels and had no other way to access this content.

Finally, over the past decade, the Internet provided another option. Now you can find a streaming service that has your favorite channels and pay a fraction of the cost. Plus, with live streaming, you can watch your favorite TV shows anywhere — on your laptop, phone, tablet, or TV.

It’ll be interesting to see how cable providers respond over the next few years. Right now, they have no answer for services like Philo, which can charge $20 a month for the best in lifestyle and reality programming.

Who Is Philo Best For?

Is Philo the TV streaming service for you? It depends on what you’re looking for.

If you’re all about live sports or need access to local broadcast live streams, you might want to look for a more robust provider.

On the other hand, if you want the cheapest live streaming experience possible, Philo is your best bet.

Its channel lineup includes a ton of popular channels, and it can easily be paired with premium networks at a low cost.

With 61 channels, DVR, and compatibility with all your devices, Philo stands out from the other platforms in its price range.

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