I’ve spent the past year testing the best cable and satellite alternatives, including cheap internet-based live TV streaming services from Sling TV and Philo.

READ MORE: The easiest way to lower your cable and internet bill

Sling TV vs. Philo: The best live TV streaming services under $25/month

The base plans from competitors like DirecTV Now, YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV and PlayStation Vue start around $40 per month. Their channel lineups include ESPN, Disney, CNN, Bravo and dozens more.

But if you’re someone who doesn’t spend hours and hours watching TV every day, $40 a month is still a lot of money!

Sling TV and Philo are two live TV streaming services that have packages starting under $25. I’ve tried them out to help you decide which one is the best cable and satellite TV alternative for your household.

Sling vs. Philo: Table of contents 

How much do Sling and Philo cost?

Philo’s two plans are $16 and $20 per month, while Sling has two packages that are $25 per month each — or you can get both for $40/month.

These streaming TV services bill monthly and allow you to cancel whenever you want.

Philo

  • $16/month for 43 channels
  • $20/month for 55 channels

Sling TV

  • Sling Orange: $25/month for 30 channels
  • Sling Blue:  $25/month for 42 channels
  • Sling Orange + Sling Blue: $40/month

What channels do you get with Sling and Philo? 

The channel list is probably going to be the most important consideration for anyone looking to switch to a live TV streaming service. For $25 a month, expect fewer sports and local stations in the channel lineups.

Philo TV focuses primarily on entertainment networks, while Sling TV offers a mix of sports, news and entertainment channels. Here are the channel lists:

Philo $16/month planSling Orange $25/month planSling Blue $25/month plan
ACC Network Extra
A&EA&EA&E
AMCAMCAMC
Animal Planet
AXS TVAXS TVAXS TV
BBC AmericaBBC AmericaBBC America
BBC World News
BETBET
Bloomberg TelevisionBloomberg Television
Bravo
Cartoon NetworkCartoon Network
CheddarCheddarCheddar
Cheddar Big NewsCheddar Big NewsCheddar Big News
CMT
CNNCNN
Comedy CentralComedy Central
Discovery Channel
Disney Channel
DIY Network
EPIX Drive-InEPIX Drive-In
ESPN
ESPN2
ESPN3
Freeform
Food NetworkFood NetworkFood Network
FOX (Select markets)
FOX RSNs (Select markets)
Fox Sports 1
Fox Sports 2
FuseFuse
FX
FXX
FYI
Game Show Network
Hallmark Channel
Hallmark Drama
Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
HGTVHGTVHGTV
HistoryHistoryHistory
IFCIFCIFC
Investigation Discovery
LifetimeLifetimeLifetime
Lifetime Movies
Local NowLocal Now
MTV
MTV2
National Geographic
Nat Geo Wild
NBC On Demand
NBC RSNs (Select markets)
NBC Sports Network
NewsyNewsy
NFL Network
Nickelodeon
Nick Jr.Nick Jr.
Oprah Winfrey Network
Paramount Network
PeopleTV
Science Channel
Sundance TV
SYFY
Tastemade
TBSTBS
TeenNick
TLC
TNTTNT
Travel ChannelTravel ChannelTravel Channel
Tribeca ShortlistTribeca Shortlist
truTV
TV Land
USA
Velocity
VH1
VicelandVicelandViceland
WE tv

Philo’s $20/month package (Everything above also included)

American Heroes Channel, aspireTV, BET Her, Cooking Channel, Destination America, Discovery Family, Discovery Life, Logo, MTV Live, Nicktoons, REVOLT, UPtv

Wondering about your local channels? I don’t rely on live TV streaming services to provide those. Instead, I use a $40 Mohu Leaf digital antenna that I bought years ago to get my local NBC, CBS, FOX, ABC, PBS and independent stations.

My digital antenna is hidden behind the TV

My Mohu Leaf digital antenna is hidden behind the TV

Which devices do Philo and Sling support?

These services allow you to stream your favorite channels from your phone, computer or TV. To watch on your TV set, you’ll need a compatible streaming device. My favorite is the $29 Roku Express.

Here are some of Sling TV and Philo’s supported devices:

PhiloSling TV
RokuRoku
Amazon Fire TV Amazon Fire TV
Apple TV, 4th generation or laterApple TV, 4th generation or later
PC and Mac Google Chromecast
Android and iOS devicesXBOX One
XBOX One S
XBOX One X
Select Smart TVs
PC and Mac
Android and iOS devices
Sling TV's guide feature (Roku)

Sling TV’s guide feature (Roku)

Browse live shows with Philo TV (Roku)

Browse live shows with Philo TV (Roku)

Is DVR included with Sling and Philo?

  • Philo: Free unlimited DVR included; recordings are saved for 30 days
  • Sling TV: No DVR included; extra $5/month for 50 hours of cloud DVR storage

Can I watch on multiple streams with Sling and Philo?

The ability to stream on more than one device at the same time is important if there are multiple people in your household who plan to use the service.

Sling Orange is the most restrictive plan, but Sling Blue and Philo allow you to stream on three devices at once.

  • Philo: 3 streams
  • Sling Orange: 1 stream
  • Sling Blue: 3 streams
  • Sling Orange + Blue: 4 streams

What are Sling and Philo’s internet speed requirements?

Although live TV streaming services can cut your cable bill, you’ll still need high-speed internet service.

Both Sling TV and Philo recommend at least 5 Mbps for a streaming experience that’s free of buffering. You may need a higher download speed if you have multiple devices connected to the internet.

Here are three free resources to check your download speed:

If you’re not getting the internet download and upload speeds that you’re paying for, call your service provider. They may send a technician to your home if you provide them with the speed test results.

To get refunded for internet service outages and disruptions, I use Ask Trim. Read my review here.

Do Sling and Philo have free trials? 

All of the streaming services I’ve tried have offered free trials, typically for a week.

Philo lets you try out its service for two days without even entering your credit card information — just your phone number. After those two days are up, you can extend the trial to a full week with a valid credit card.

Sling TV asks for you to submit credit card information right away, but you can always cancel before the trial ends.

Final thought

For people who don’t watch lots of television, the skinny bundles from Sling TV and Philo are cheap alternatives to traditional cable, satellite or even some of the more expensive streaming services.

If you try either of these services and don’t like them, just move on to other options like DirecTV Now, YouTube TV and Hulu with Live TV — all priced at $40 a month.

I haven’t had a traditional cable TV package since 2010 when I started paying off my $86,000 mortgage in two years, but I really like these new live TV streaming services because they’re so flexible.

For example, I tend to watch more TV during the coldest months of the winter and the hottest months of the summer.

By taking advantage of these new streaming options, I can sign up for Sling TV or Philo in August, cancel in September and sign up all over again in December. You don’t get that option with traditional cable or satellite TV.

If you’ve tried Philo or Sling TV, which is your favorite streaming service and why? Let me know in the comments section below!

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