Sling TV vs. Philo: The best cheap live TV streaming services
The base plans from competitors like YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV start at around $50 to $65 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, $50 a month is still a lot of money!
Sling TV and Philo are two live TV streaming services that have packages starting under $35. 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
- Monthly price
- Channel lineups
- Supported devices
- Cloud DVR
- Multiple streams
- Internet speed requirements
- Free trial offers
How much do Sling and Philo cost?
Philo’s one and only plan is $20 per month, while Sling has two packages that are $35 per month each — or you can get both for $50/month. That’s after a January 2021 price increase.
These streaming TV services bill monthly and allow you to cancel whenever you want.
- $20/month for 60+ channels
- $16/month for 45 channels*
*Philo moved to a single plan back in May 2019. The $16 plan was discontinued for new subscribers, but existing subscribers were allowed to keep it.
- Sling Orange: $35/month for 30+ channels
- Sling Blue: $35/month for 40+ channels
- Sling Orange + Sling Blue: $50/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 $35 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||Sling Orange||Sling Blue|
|American Heroes Channel|
|AXS TV||AXS TV||AXS TV|
|BBC America||BBC America||BBC America|
|BBC World News|
|Bloomberg Television||Bloomberg Television|
|Cartoon Network||Cartoon Network|
|Comedy Central||Comedy Central||Comedy Central|
|Discovery Channel||Discovery Channel|
|EPIX Drive-In||EPIX Drive-In|
|Food Network||Food Network||Food Network|
|FOX (Select markets)|
|Fox News Channel|
|Fox Sports 1|
|Game Show Network|
|Great American Country|
|Hallmark Movies & Mysteries|
|Investigation Discovery||Investigation Discovery||Investigation Discovery|
|Law & Crime|
|Local Now||Local Now|
|Motor Trend||Motor Trend|
|NBC On Demand|
|NBC RSNs (Select markets)|
|NBC Sports Network|
|Nick Jr.||Nick Jr.||Nick Jr.|
|Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN)|
|Travel Channel||Travel Channel||Travel Channel|
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.
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, purchase a compatible streaming device. I like the Roku Premiere or Roku Streaming Stick+ for first-time streamers. They’re both under $50.
Here are some of Sling TV and Philo’s supported devices:
|Amazon Fire TV||Amazon Fire TV|
|Apple TV, 4th generation or later||Apple TV, 4th generation or later|
|Google Chromecast||Google Chromecast|
|PC and Mac||XBOX One
XBOX One S
XBOX One X
|Android and iOS devices||Select Smart TVs|
|PC and Mac|
|Android and iOS devices|
Is DVR included with Sling and Philo?
- Philo: Free unlimited DVR included; recordings are saved for 30 days
- Sling TV: 50 hours of cloud DVR included; extra $5/month for 200 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.
Previously, Philo offered a 2-day trial with only a phone number required. However, this has been discontinued.
If you try either of these services and don’t like them, just move on to other options like YouTube TV and Hulu with Live TV.
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 one in August, cancel in September and sign up all over again in December. You don’t get that option with traditional cable 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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