Frndly TV vs. Philo: Which Cheap Streaming Service Is Better?

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Frndly TV and Philo are two of the cheapest live TV streaming services available right now, but are either of them worth your money?

With cable and satellite TV bills on the rise, many people are looking to cut the cord. But when they do, they’re finding that some streaming services are $70 per month. That’s still a lot of money!

Frndly TV vs. Philo Streaming Comparison Review

Frndly TV and Philo are targeting people who want to stream live TV for a very low price. Their streaming TV bundles cut out local channels, cable news and live sports to keep costs down. Instead, they package skinny bundles of entertainment networks.

I’ve tested all of the major live TV streaming services over the past few years, including Frndly TV and Philo. In this article, I’ll review the pricing, channel lineups, features and user experience to help you decide if either service is right for you. Let’s get started!

Table of Contents:

Plans and Pricing

Frndly TVPhilo
PriceBasic: $6.99/month
Classic: $8.99/month
Premium: $10.99/month
Annual plan optionYesNo
Free trial 7 days7 days

Frndly TV has three plans that cost between $6.99 and $10.99 per month, while Philo’s single plan is $25 a month. There are no contracts with either service, so you can cancel at any time.

Frndly TV offers the option to purchase an annual plan to save 15% or more. Although Philo doesn’t have an annual plan, the company has previously offered a promotion if you prepay for six months fo service.

Both Frndly TV and Philo have 7-day free trials for new subscribers, but you must provide a future payment method to get started.

With either live TV streaming service, there’s no obligation to continue after the free trial period. If you don’t want to be billed, simply sign in to your account and cancel your subscription before the trial period expires.


Frndly TV and Philo have very different channel lineups, but there are some networks that overlap. Both services carry all three Hallmark networks, Game Show Network, INSP and UPtv.

Frndly TV is truly a skinny TV bundle. All three of its plans offer the same channels that focus on family-friendly programming.

Meanwhile, Philo is a destination for all things entertainment. A&E, AMC, BET, HGTV, Food Network, Nickelodeon and VH1 are just a few of the networks it carries. The service keeps its price down by not offering local stations or top-rated news and sports networks.

See Philo’s full channel lineup here and Frndly TV’s channel lineup here.

Cloud DVR

If you like to record shows to watch later, cloud DVR is an important feature when choosing a live TV streaming service.

With Philo’s plan, you can record anything that’s currently airing or scheduled to air. You have 12 months to watch those shows before they’re deleted. And you have the ability to fast forward and rewind through everything that’s in your cloud DVR.

Frndly TV offers unlimited DVR recordings to subscribers of its two more expensive plans, but there’s no DVR for the base plan. For the eligible plans, recordings are kept for either three or nine months.

Frndly TV Plans: DVR Storage

Frndly TV Plan DVR Storage
BasicNo DVR included
ClassicUnlimited DVR
Recordings stored for 3 months
PremiumUnlimited DVR
Recordings stored for 9 months

Supported Devices

Whether you want to stream on your phone, computer or to a TV set with a compatible device, Frndly TV and Philo have you covered. Both live TV streaming services support the most popular streaming media players: Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast and Roku.

Frndly TV and Philo Supported Devices

Frndly TVPhilo
Amazon Fire TV
Apple TV
Google Chromecast
Major web browsers
Android and iOS apps
Amazon Fire TV
Android TV
Apple TV
Google Chromecast
Major web browsers
Android and iOS apps

I tried out both services using a Roku device and experienced no issues. It only took a few clicks of my Roku remote to find the shows I wanted to watch, and there was no excessive load or lag time.

If you’re a first-time streamer or just watching your budget, I recommend the Roku Express 4K+ for a one-time cost of less than $40.

Multiple Streams

The ability to watch multiple streams at once is an essential feature for families. Philo allows users to stream on up to three devices at the same time, and up to 10 personal profiles can be created per account.

However, things aren’t quite as straightforward with Frndly TV. The number of streams depends on the plan that you choose, and they range from one to four.

Frndly TV Plan Number of Streams
Basic: $5.99/month1
Classic: $7.99/month 2
Premium: $9.99/month4

User Experience

Frndly TV and Philo have a lot of differences between the two and certainly compared to cable TV, but they both do a good job of bringing together the channels with easy-to-use live guides. Take a look:

Frndly TV Live Guide
Frndly TV Live Guide
Philo Live Guide
Philo Live Guide

Based on my experience trying out these two services, I think anyone who has used a live guide from a cable TV provider or another streaming service will be able to figure out the navigation without a problem. Frndly TV may be slightly easier, but that’s because there are so few channels. Philo has more than 60 to browse.

Fortunately, Philo has implemented a number of ways to find programming besides the live guide and search bar. From the home screen, you’ll find the “Trending Now” and “Top Shows on Philo” suggestions helpful for the times when you’re not sure what to watch.

Philo Home Screen
Philo Home Screen

Although these services focus on live TV, they have on demand sections with recent episodes of shows and movies. Given Frndly TV’s limited channel lineup, this was a big plus. As you would expect, Philo’s on demand section is more robust.

I didn’t have issues with buffering or error messages when I tested out Frndly TV and Philo. My home internet connection averages a download speed of 60 Mbps, well above the recommendations from these two streaming providers:

  • Frndly TV: 5 Mbps for a single stream in HD and 10 Mbps for 2+ HD streams; 1.5 Mbps for a single stream in SD
  • Philo: 7 Mbps for a single stream in HD and 13 Mbps for multiple streams in HD; 3 Mbps for SD quality

To check your internet download speed, go to

Speaking of HD and SD quality video, I should mention that Frndly TV’s Basic plan ($5.99/month) is SD only. You must have a Classic ($7.99/month) or Premium ($9.99/month) plan for HD video. I tried out the Classic plan and thought the video quality was perfectly fine.

Final Thoughts

Frndly TV or Philo may not provide everything that you want in a live TV streaming service, but that’s why they’re so inexpensive. For a lot of people, they may be one part of a customized streaming TV package that’s cheaper and more flexible than cable.

The great thing about streaming services is that you’re not tied into long-term commitments. Since there are no contracts, you can stop and start them whenever you want.

You can use that flexibility to your advantage with Frndly TV and Philo.

For example, you may sign up for Frndly TV in December to binge-watch Christmas movies on Hallmark Channel. Or maybe you sign up for Philo as the new season begins for your favorite A&E, HGTV or VH1 reality shows.

Here’s the bottom line: People tell me all the time that the $150 cable TV package doesn’t work for them. It’s too expensive and full of channels they don’t watch. So make a list of the channels that you do watch and start looking for a streaming solution, even if that means testing out or subscribing to multiple services to get what you want for a lower monthly price.

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11 thoughts on “Frndly TV vs. Philo: Which Cheap Streaming Service Is Better?”

  1. Frndly is getting a little better. Starting 11/15/21 A&E, FYI, History, Lifetime, LMN, Military History and ViceTV will be available. Plans will now be $6.99. $8.99 and $10.99.

  2. Is Frndly going to offer profiles so that more than one user can maintain their place in a movie or show they are watching and stop before the end.

    That would be a big improvement.

    Thank you,

  3. You fail to mention that Frndly does not allow you to start watching a DVR record show until 30 minutes past the end of the movie, while you can begin to watch a DVR recorded show asap as you want with Philo. I have chatted with Frndly for over 3 years and they have no plans to change this delay in watching a DVR recorded show or movie. That is why I stay with Philo.

    • Yes all live TV services have commercials — and they’re the same length as you would see watching the Hallmark Channel through another source. But with the cloud DVR, you can set a recording and then watch it later, fast-forwarding through the ads.

  4. You also have to account for the price of the internet. Netflix is a non factor for me because we had it with cable. So $50/m for internet, + streaming service, YTTV at $65 = $115 compared to $160+ for cable.

  5. I always have buffering and or lockup problem after multiple ( 25+) fast forward clicks (enough to skip commercials) using ROKU and the Frndly app. Double clicking on fast fwd allows forward to proceed by itself and has no problems but frequently goes too far past the end of commercials. Lockup requires exiting and restarting the Frndly app. Roku support has no answer.


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