Philo raised its starting price for the first time ever in June 2021, but it remains the best value in live TV streaming for many households.
The service operates a little differently compared to its main streaming competitors.
While most pay-TV services include sports and news networks in their bundles, Philo does not. Instead, it carries primarily entertainment networks.
Philo Live TV Streaming Service Review: Pros and Cons
|Low monthly price||Not for sports or cable news junkies|
|Lots of entertainment and lifestyle networks||No local channels|
|Unlimited cloud DVR storage||Some filler channels included|
|Free trial typically offered|
I’ve reported on Philo since its 2017 launch and have tested the service multiple times.
In this article and the video review below, I share what you need to know before you sign up for Philo and take a closer look at whether it’s still worth your money.
Table of Contents:
- What Is Philo?
- How Much Does Philo Cost?
- Does Philo Offer Any Deals?
- What Channels Do You Get With Philo?
- Does Philo Offer Cloud DVR?
- How Do You Stream Philo?
- Is Philo Still Worth It?
1. What Is Philo?
Philo is a live TV streaming service like YouTube TV, Hulu Live and Sling TV.
It packages cable TV networks and delivers them over the internet, with no annual contract or hidden fees.
But the difference with Philo is its channel lineup.
If you think about the typical pay-TV bundle, the four main components are local stations, live sports, cable news and entertainment.
Philo’s bundle of 70+ channels is made up mostly of entertainment fare.
Philo is based in San Francisco, California. The company is named after Philo T. Farnsworth, who invented the electronic television.
2. How Much Does Philo Cost?
Philo increased the price of its main bundle to $25 a month in June 2021 for new customers. Previously, the price was $20 a month.
Those who signed up before the price increase were allowed to keep their plan.
And the MGM+ and Starz add-ons to the main bundle — starting at $6 per month – were not affected by the June 2021 price increase.
In a blog post to its customers, Philo CEO Andrew McCollum said the company was forced to raise its price for two reasons:
- Fees from content partners are going up
- Costs associated with platform and billing partners
McCollum told Fierce Video that he hopes Philo won’t have to raise prices every year like some of its competitors, but he can’t make any promises.
3. Does Philo Offer Any Deals?
Like most streaming TV services, Philo offers a 7-day free trial to new subscribers.
You get started with either your phone number or email address, plus payment information like a credit card number. To avoid being charged, simply cancel Philo before your trial end date.
Aside from the free trial, T-Mobile began offering a $10 monthly Philo discount to select wireless and home internet customers in 2021.
That’s in addition to a $10 a month YouTube TV discount for T-Mobile customers.
But even if you don’t have T-Mobile, you may be able to score a one-time deal when you sign up for Philo with a promo code.
I performed a Google search for “Philo promo code” and quickly found a code for $5 off.
4. What Channels Do You Get With Philo?
Philo’s channel lineup isn’t as well-rounded as its competitors.
To charge less than other live TV streaming services, Philo doesn’t offer local broadcast stations, live sports and the major cable news networks.
Its list of channels focuses on entertainment and lifestyle networks.
The service has programming agreements and investment from four leading groups: A&E Networks, AMC Networks, Discovery and Paramount.
Channels owned by those four groups are carried in Philo’s main bundle. Here’s a partial list:
|A&E Networks||AMC Networks||Discovery||Paramount|
Channels aren’t usually added to pay-TV bundles individually, so it’s useful to know what big media company is controlling your must-have networks.
That knowledge can also help you understand why some networks are left out.
For example, ESPN, CNN and NBC aren’t available on Philo because it doesn’t have deals with Disney, WarnerMedia and NBCUniversal.
Take a look at Philo’s full channel lineup below:
Philo Channel Lineup
- AccuWeather Network
- American Heroes Channel
- Animal Planet
- AXS TV
- BBC America
- BBC World News
- BET Her
- CLEO TV
- Comedy Central
- Cooking Channel
- Crime + Investigation
- Destination America
- Discovery Channel
- Discovery Family
- Discovery Life
- Food Network
- GAC Family
- GAC Living
- Game Show Network
- Hallmark Channel
- Hallmark Drama
- Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
- Heroes & Icons
- Investigation Discovery
- Magnolia Network
- Motor Trend
- MTV Classic
- MTV Live
- Nick Jr.
- Oprah Winfrey Network
- Paramount Network
- Pop TV
- Science Channel
- Smithsonian Channel
- Start TV
- Story Television
- Sundance TV
- Travel Channel
- TV Land
- TV One
- WE tv
If you can’t find all of your must-have channels with Philo and you’re on a budget, check out Sling TV. It’s cheaper than YouTube TV and Hulu Live.
5. Does Philo Offer Cloud DVR?
Philo is a live TV streaming service, but you don’t have to watch shows as they premiere thanks to its cloud DVR.
With Philo’s June 2021 price hike, the DVR got a major upgrade.
Philo’s DVR has always been unlimited, meaning that you can save as many shows or movies as you want to.
But recordings will now be saved for a full year. Previously, it was 30 days.
When you’re using Philo’s DVR, which it refers to as Saved or Saved Shows, there are a few things to know:
- When you find a show or movie that you want to record, just select “Save” before it starts
- Philo’s DVR records all future airings, new and reruns
- Access your recordings from the “Saved” section and select the DVR version to fast forward through the ads
Philo records everything that’s aired in the last 72 hours, which comes in handy if you forget to set your DVR. However, the on-demand version (VOD) will include unskippable ads.
6. How Do You Stream Philo?
You can stream Philo on your phone, computer or to a TV set with a compatible device.
Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, Chromecast and some Samsung TVs are also supported.
Minimum Internet Speed
Philo recommends a high-speed internet connection with a download speed of at least 13 Mbps for HD streaming, even with multiple streams or devices.
You can stream at slower speeds, but video quality and performance may be affected.
In my cord-cutting guide for beginners, I recommend that you buy a high-speed internet plan with download speeds of at least 50 to 100 Mbps.
You can test your current internet speed for free at Speedtest.net.
You can stream Philo on up to three devices at the same time, and there are up to 10 user profiles per account.
Each user gets their own sign-in credentials, DVR and viewing history.
7. Is Philo Still Worth It?
Despite its price increase, Philo is one of the few remaining values in live TV streaming.
If you watch a lot of reality TV and like to keep up with your favorite shows as new episodes premiere, Philo is worth considering.
But a growing number of people are dropping live TV in favor of on-demand apps.
For example, Discovery+ starts at $5 a month. It features content from Discovery-owned networks like HGTV, TLC and Food Network.
But it also has shows from A&E Networks like A&E, History and Lifetime.
Discovery+ allows you to stream on your own terms, but the tradeoff is that it leans heavily on library content.
Meanwhile, Philo has live channels of Discovery-owned networks and dozens more.
The choice is yours. If you’re committed to the bundle, I see Philo as a good fit for two types of consumers:
- People who watch reality and drama TV but can live without live sports, cable news and broadcast stations
- People who have another live TV streaming service but are looking for must-have channels that they don’t currently get
If you want to try out Philo, remember that it offers a 7-day free trial. Get started here and let me know how you like it in the comments below!