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Sling TV vs. Philo: Which Live TV Streaming Service Is Best?

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

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 

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.

Philo

  • $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 TV

  • 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 OrangeSling Blue
A&EA&EA&E
AMCAMCAMC
American Heroes Channel
Animal Planet
aspireTV
AXS TVAXS TVAXS TV
BBC AmericaBBC AmericaBBC America
BBC World News
BETBETBET
BET Her
Bloomberg TelevisionBloomberg Television
Bravo
Cartoon NetworkCartoon Network
CheddarCheddarCheddar
Cleo TV
CMT
CNNCNN
Comedy CentralComedy CentralComedy Central
Comet Comet
Cooking Channel
Crime+Investigation
Destination America
Discovery ChannelDiscovery Channel
Discovery Family
Discovery Life
Disney Channel
DIY Network
E!
EPIX Drive-InEPIX Drive-In
ESPN
ESPN2
ESPN3
Freeform
Food NetworkFood NetworkFood Network
FOX (Select markets)
Fox News Channel
Fox Sports 1
FuseFuse
FX
FYI
Game Show Network
getTV
Great American Country
Hallmark Channel
Hallmark Drama
Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
HGTVHGTVHGTV
HistoryHistoryHistory
HLN
IFCIFCIFC
INSP
Investigation DiscoveryInvestigation DiscoveryInvestigation Discovery
Law & Crime
LifetimeLifetimeLifetime
Lifetime Movies
Local NowLocal Now
Logo
Motor TrendMotor Trend
MSNBC
MTV
MTV Classic
MTV Live
MTV2
National Geographic
NBC On Demand
NBC RSNs (Select markets)
NBC Sports Network
NewsyNewsyNewsy
NFL Network
Nick Jr.Nick Jr.Nick Jr.
Nickelodeon
Nicktoons
Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN)
Paramount Network
PeopleTV
REVOLT
Science Channel
Stadium
Stadium
Sundance TV
SYFY
Tastemade
TBSTBS
TeenNick
TLCTLC
TNTTNT
Travel ChannelTravel ChannelTravel Channel
truTV
TV Land
TV One
UPtv
USA
VH1
ViceViceVice
WE tv

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, 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:

PhiloSling TV
RokuRoku
Amazon Fire TV Amazon Fire TV
Apple TV, 4th generation or laterApple TV, 4th generation or later
Google ChromecastGoogle Chromecast
PC and Mac XBOX One
XBOX One S
XBOX One X
Android and iOS devicesSelect 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: 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.

Philo and Sling TV ask for you to submit credit card information right away, but you can always cancel before the trial ends and you won’t be billed for the service.

Previously, Philo offered a 2-day trial with only a phone number required. However, this has been discontinued.

Final thoughts

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 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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15 thoughts on “Sling TV vs. Philo: Which Live TV Streaming Service Is Best?”

  1. I am trying both Philo and Sling at the same time this week. I’m impressed by both services but Sling is the better product. You just the ability to pause a show bit since I plan to stay with them, it’ll be worth the extra five dollars per month. Philo just doesn’t have the channel line up like sling does, like USA, TNT, TBS, AMC, etc. & If you are watching any movie or on demand show on Philo, the ads between each break can last to to ten minutes. It took me 3 hours to watch a movie. Ridiculous! Also Philo doesn’t have a mobile app for Android. Bummer! Sling does! There only downside with Sling is that it isn’t as integrated into fire TV cube like Philo is. Hopefully Amazon will update that. I hope this helps.

    1. Hi Eric,
      Thank you for your insight. I have had Sling for a long time and it glitches a lot (see my comment in this stream), but lately, it has been really bad. I have been trying to find a great alternative, but, based on your response, Philo is not a great option either. I need to find something that is basically sling with more reliability in the streaming.

  2. Charles Sanders

    Philo has a great android app and can pause shows and does not have a 50 hour limit on saved shows like sling. The commercials are no longer than any other service not 10 minutes like the other poster exaggerates. On sling many shows had no option to record or pause. Philo also does have an Android app on the Amazon play store for the fire tv and fire tablets.

  3. Yvonne Sillence

    I have had Philo for a while now. I looked into Sling however they do not carry the amount of Discovery channels that Philo does (Destination America, Animal Planet, Science and all the other Discoveries) I’m not much into movies as I am into those haunted shows, health and universe(al) documentaries. But that’s just me. I do miss Cartoon Network though.

  4. I have had Sling for a while now. I really like having it to watch Hallmark movies, food shows, DIY stuff, etc. However, I am trying to switch to a similar platform that does not glitch so much. I cannot get through an entire movie without the TV blacking out for a bit and coming back or going completely out and I have to go to my Smart TV’s home screen to get back in. It is extremely annoying. It has been happening a lot lately and they said that it must be my internet, I also have Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Vudu, Disney +, as well as Sling. Sling is the only one that I have this problem with. I have both blue and orange and love all the channel options, but this is getting ridiculous, as I pay over $40 per month and this happens.

    I think that I might give Philo a try since it seems as though it is a very similar platform. I am hoping their streaming will be more reliable.

    1. They all have free trials, so you could sign up and see if the others are glitchy. IF they are, you might want to look at your internet connection. I have had Sling off and on (with Hulu Live now) and don’t have glitches. But I do pay for very good internet.

      1. Thank you for your response, Michael. I pay $100 per month for 1000 mbps
        fiber internet, which is the best internet that I can get in the state, so I already have great internet. Sling is the only streaming service that this happens with. Like I said, I have a lot of other streaming services that I never have a problem with…. I think if it was my internet, they would all be glitchy, wouldn’t they?

    2. Its definitely not your internet because I have the fastest internet available and sling glitches for me too. Only sling does this and I have multiple streaming services as well. It doesn’t matter what day or time it is either. Its constantly glitching. Plus sling keeps cutting channels but charges the same. Philo has almost the same channels plus extra channels for over half the price. I’m switching.

  5. I’ve had an antenna for years and rely on it for the networks and PBS channels. Do the streaming services interfere with an antenna’s reception or do I simply access Philo, for example, by switching to Roku as I do for YouTube and other streaming channels? Thank you.

  6. I really liked Philo TV for their channel offerings with the exception that there are no news channels. So I decided to stick with Sling TV which has several. If Philo TV started carrying news channels, I would probably switch to them.

  7. I am on a 12 month DIRECTV plan for $60/mo. Can I beat this somehow with streaming subscriptions that provide CBS, NBC and ABC programming? I’m an MSNBC news fan and see its on SLING blue …. I’m paying a lot for high speed internet (necessary for work also) so no cost cutting there. Am I missing something or do I have the best deal until the $60 price goes away? I do add-ons periodically like HBO, Prime, HULU, Acorn, etc.

    1. You might want to stick with the $60/month until that promo rate expires, then shop around. Sling Blue is the cheapest for MSNBC at $30/month. As for internet, you can call customer retention and try to renegotiate that rate. I do that annually and can usually get it down to $60/month.

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