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 $50 to $65 a 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 TV for a very low price. Their streaming TV bundles cut out local channels, cable news and live sports to keep costs down. Instead, their specialty is packaging 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
|Price||Basic: $5.99/month |
|Price per channel||40 to 67 cents||33 cents|
|Annual plan option||Yes||No|
|Free trial||7 days||7 days|
As of this writing, Philo’s $20/month plan offers 61 channels, so you’re paying 33 cents per channel. Meanwhile, Frndly TV offers only 15 channels. With its plans, you pay between 40 cents and 67 cents per channel.
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 offered promotions like six months of service for $99, a $21 savings. Keep an eye out to see if this deal returns on Black Friday.
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. But that’s where the similarities between the channel lineups end.
Frndly TV is truly a skinny TV bundle. All three plans offer the same 15 channels that focus on family-friendly programming. The service carries networks that the entire family can watch together while sitting around the TV.
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.
Here’s a side-by-side look at the channel lineups for Frndly TV and Philo:
|American Heroes Channel|
|BBC World News|
|Game Show Network||Game Show Network|
|Great American Country
|Hallmark Channel||Hallmark Channel|
|Hallmark Drama||Hallmark Drama|
|Hallmark Movies & Mysteries||Hallmark Movies & Mysteries|
|Law & Crime|
|Lifetime Movies (LMN)|
|Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN)|
|The Weather Channel|
|World Fishing Network|
If you like to record shows to watch later, cloud DVR is an important feature when choosing a live TV streaming service. Frndly TV and Philo both offer DVR, but Philo’s is far better.
With Philo’s plan, you can record anything that’s currently airing or scheduled to air. You have 30 days 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 45 or 180 days.
Frndly TV Plans: DVR Storage
|Frndly TV Plan||DVR Storage|
|Basic: $5.99/month||No DVR included|
|Classic: $7.99/month||Unlimited DVR|
Recordings stored for 45 days
|Premium: $9.99/month||Unlimited DVR|
Recordings stored for 180 days
In addition to unlimited DVR, Philo has a feature called 72-Hour Rewind that the company says lets you replay “just about everything” that’s aired over the past three days.
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
|Amazon Fire TV|
Major web browsers
Android and iOS apps
|Amazon Fire TV|
Major web browsers
Android and iOS apps
I tried out both services using a Roku Express 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 because it’s available for a one-time cost of less than $30.
For families, the ability to watch multiple streams at once is an essential feature. 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|
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:
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 only 15 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.
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 SpeedTest.net.
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.
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 $100 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.