If you’re tired of paying a big cable bill each month, you could save a bunch of money by cutting the cord and subscribing to Philo in 2023.
This live TV streaming service is a bargain seeker’s dream. For just $25 per month, you can watch more than 70 live channels. Philo’s lineup includes popular channels such as Comedy Central, Discovery, Food Network, Nickelodeon and more.
But there’s always a catch, right? Philo lacks the live news and sports channels that many people enjoy.
I downloaded Philo and gave it a test spin. In this article, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about the live television subscription service.
December 2022 Update:
- T-Mobile has extended its partnership with Philo which gives subscribers $10 off per month. You can read more about it here.
- Philo added FETV to its base channel lineup in October 2022.
- Family Movie Classics (FMC) was added to the Movies and More add-on package in October 2022.
- Also in October, Philo announced that its app is now available for download on Samsung Smart TVs. Previously, those users would have needed to use a streaming dongle or third-party device to access Philo content on their televisions.
- Philo continued the growth of its free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) platform with the addition of RetroCrush in September 2022. All users, not just paid subscribers, can access this library of free channels on the Philo app.
- In August, Philo added three Weigel networks to the base package. MeTV, Heroes & Icons and Story are available to subscribers at no additional cost.
What Is Philo? Team Clark Reviews the Live TV Streaming Service
For $25 per month, a Philo subscription provides access to more than 70 popular broadcast and cable channels. There is no contract or cable box required. You can stream content live or on demand from your television, phone, tablet or computer.
The sales pitch for Philo is pretty simple: It has a bunch of the channels you like for a fraction of the monthly bill you’d have with the cable company or even with some other live TV streaming services such as YouTube TV.
The trade-off for the low monthly price is that you have to give up live sports, news and local channels.
Still, money expert Clark Howard says Philo could be a real value for select streamers.
“For people who don’t care anything about sports, I love Philo as a live TV streaming option,” Clark says.
Team Clark has tested Philo to see what makes it different from its competitors. Read on to learn what you need to know before you sign up!
Table of Contents:
1. What Channels Do You Get With Philo?
The Philo channel lineup is unlike most of the other options in the live TV streaming market thanks to an alternative programming strategy.
First, let’s start with the things you won’t see on Philo that many of its competitors offer:
- Local channels (ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX affiliates)
- Sports channels (ESPN, FS1, NFL Network, etc.)
- National news and commentary channels (CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, etc.)
Access to these channels is what drives the price of competing services into the $65 per month range.
Instead of paying expensive broadcast rights fees for these popular channels, Philo focuses instead on bringing you reality TV, documentaries, drama and comedy series, movies and children’s programming.
You’ll be able to enjoy channels such as AMC, Comedy Central, Food Network, Hallmark and Nickelodeon with a Philo subscription.
And it has the Paramount Network, which is a plus for fans of the hit TV series Yellowstone.
If you like Philo’s channel lineup but still want local channels, here’s how you can get them without cable. And if you want sports with a Philo subscription, you may be best served by paying for an ESPN+ subscription or one of the professional league’s annual game packages. Here’s our guide to watching live sports without cable.
|American Heroes Channel|
|BBC World News|
|Crime & Investigation|
|Game Show Network|
|Hallmark Movies & Mysteries|
|Heroes & Icons|
|Law & Crime|
|Lifetime Movie Network|
|OWN – Oprah Winfrey Network|
Premium Channel Add-On Packages
Philo doesn’t have a very large menu of add-ons, but there are a few options for upgrades.
The cheapest add-on option is a $3 monthly charge for a movie channel package that includes Cinemoi, HDNet Movies, MGM HD, Reelz and Sony Movies.
You can add the EPIX channel package, which includes EPIX, EPIX2 and EPIX Hits, for $6 per month.
You also can add the STARZ channel package, which includes STARZ, STARZ ENCORE and STARZ Kids & Family, for $9 per month.
2. Does Philo Come With DVR Capabilities?
Good news for potential cord-cutters: Philo has one of the better cloud DVR policies in the live TV streaming space.
You get unlimited storage space on your cloud DVR with Philo, which means you can record as many shows and movies as you’d like without fear of running out of storage. The only other service that offers this much storage at its base subscription price is YouTube TV.
As a part of a 2021 price increase, Philo started allowing subscribers to keep recordings on their cloud DVRs for up to a year. Previously, the limit for cloud DVR storage was just 30 days.
There is fast-forward and rewind functionality on Philo’s cloud DVR, so you can skip right through commercials on recorded content. You can read more on how Philo’s cloud DVR functions here.
When I downloaded Philo to test it out, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy the DVR function was to operate and how smoothly you could move through commercials for quicker content consumption.
Here’s a look at how Philo’s cloud DVR storage space stacks up against some of its top competitors.
|Hulu + Live TV||Philo||Sling Orange + Blue||YouTube TV|
|Cloud DVR Hours||Unlimited||Unlimited||50||Unlimited|
3. How Do You Stream Philo?
One of the biggest perks of cutting the cord and opting into a service like Philo is the variety of ways in which you can enjoy the content.
Not only can you move seamlessly from device to device, but you can also take your recorded content with you thanks to the portability of the cloud DVR.
You can stream Philo on your smartphone, tablet, computer or your TV. All you need is high-speed internet access to enjoy.
If you’re planning to watch on your television, you’ll need a streaming device like a Roku or Amazon Fire TV stick.
Here’s a list of compatible devices according to Philo’s website:
- Amazon Fire TV devices
- Android TV
- Apple TV
- Roku devices
- Chromecast with Google TV
- Android phones and tablets
- ioS (Apple) phones and tablets
- Amazon Fire tablets
- Samsung smart TVs
In October 2021, Philo announced that it is now fully integrated with Google TV devices. This means your Philo content can now show up on the “live” tab without having to enter the Philo app on the device.
I was able to replicate this experience on my Chromecast with Google TV during a test run.
4. Does Philo Allow for Multiple Streams?
If you are considering cutting the cord and have a household with more than a couple of viewers, you’re probably concerned with how many people can watch your streaming service at once.
Philo meets the industry standard for concurrent streams by allowing each subscription to stream on as many as three different devices at the same time. For example, two people could be streaming on two TVs at home, and a third could be watching from a smartphone from anywhere!
Philo also allows for personalized streaming experiences for everyone in the household by allowing up to 10 customized user profiles on a single subscription.
Here’s a look at how the simultaneous streams and user profiles stack up against some of the top competitors in the space.
|Hulu + Live TV||Philo||Sling Orange + Blue||YouTube TV|
|User Profiles Allowed||6||10||1||6|
Pros and Cons for Philo
|One of the best live TV streaming subscription prices on the market||No local channel access|
|Unlimited cloud DVR storage is included at no additional cost||Sports and news channels not included|
|Up to 3 concurrent streams and 10 user profiles on one subscription||Price jumped from $20 to $25 in June 2021|
If you’re streaming on a budget, there may be no better combination of price and product on the market than Philo.
You’re going to get more than 60 live channels that include some popular options, unlimited cloud DVR and up to three streams at the same time.
But it’s far from perfect. You’re giving up quite a bit of sports and news programming by choosing this service. And you won’t get access to local channels through Philo.
Some budget streamers may find that adding one of Sling TV‘s $35 monthly packages is a good compromise, as Sling offers some of the channels Philo is missing.
If you’re willing to spend $65 per month, some of the other live TV streaming services offer channel lineups that will more closely resemble a traditional cable or satellite TV package.
Have you tried Philo? Share your experience in our Clark.com Community!