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 live TV streaming services under $30/month

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 $30. 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 $30 per month each — or you can get both for $45/month. That’s after a December 2019 price hike.

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


  • $20/month for 59 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: $30/month for 30+ channels
  • Sling Blue:  $30/month for 40+ channels
  • Sling Orange + Sling Blue: $45/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 $30 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.

Fox News Channel, MSNBC and HLN were added to Sling Blue in December 2019. That’s when Sling raised the price by $5 a month.

Here are the channel lists:

Philo $20/month planSling Orange $30/month planSling Blue $30/month plan
American Heroes Channel
Animal Planet
BBC AmericaBBC AmericaBBC America
BBC World News
Bloomberg TelevisionBloomberg Television
Cartoon NetworkCartoon Network
Cleo TV
Comedy CentralComedy CentralComedy Central
Comet Comet
Cooking Channel
Destination America
Discovery ChannelDiscovery Channel
Discovery Family
Discovery Life
Disney Channel
DIY Network
EPIX Drive-InEPIX Drive-In
Food NetworkFood NetworkFood Network
FOX (Select markets)
Fox News Channel
Fox Sports 1
Game Show Network
Great American Country
Hallmark Channel
Hallmark Drama
Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
Investigation DiscoveryInvestigation DiscoveryInvestigation Discovery
Law & Crime
Lifetime Movies
Local NowLocal Now
Motor TrendMotor Trend
MTV Classic
MTV Live
National Geographic
NBC On Demand
NBC RSNs (Select markets)
NBC Sports Network
NFL Network
Nick Jr.Nick Jr.Nick Jr.
Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN)
Paramount Network
Science Channel
Sundance TV
Travel ChannelTravel ChannelTravel Channel
TV Land
TV One
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. My favorite is the $30 Roku Express.

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

PhiloSling TV
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
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: 10 hours of cloud 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 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 — priced at around $50 to $65 a month.

Hulu’s live TV streaming service is my #1 overall choice for the best mix of news, entertainment and sports. I made this video to explain why:

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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