Philo review

Entertainment fans on a budget have everything to love about Philo. Most reviews call this service a “skinny bundle” provider, as it solely focuses on entertainment and lifestyle channels, but at a much lower price than the cost of cable. So while you don’t get sports channels like ESPN or NBCSN, it’s still one of the most affordable options for entertainment-only live streaming.

Not factoring in the missing local, premium and sports programs, the Philo channel lineup is pretty solid, giving you 58 options for just $20/mo. Get access to top cable channels like A&E, AMC, BBC World News, Food Network, HGTV, MTV, Nickelodeon and TLC to name a few.

When it was initially founded in 2009, Philo mainly targeted college campuses, but it has since shifted its focus toward the general consumer market. In spite of minimal marketing, the TV streaming provider has seen continuous growth, ending 2017 with approximately 50,000 subscribers. In 2018, it saw a 40 percent month-over-month increase in subscriber count.

An overview of the Philo streaming plan

Philo previously offered two different service tiers for $16/mo. and $20/mo., but has since consolidated these packages into one that offers everything.

Philo
Monthly price$20/mo.
Free trial length7 days
Number of channels58
Number of simultaneous streams3
Cloud DVR storageUnlimited for 30 days
Number of user profiles10

How much is Philo compared to its competitors?

Compared to leading live TV streaming services like fuboTV and Hulu + Live TV, Philo is among the most pocket-friendly options. The fuboTV Standard plan costs $54.99/mo. and Hulu + Live TV starts at $44.99/mo. But keep in mind that these two services have several channels that Philo doesn’t offer, with fuboTV offering extensive sports coverage.

Philo holds up well on the lower end of the spectrum, where it competes with less expensive services like AT&T Watch TV and Sling TV. At $15/mo. AT&T Watch TV may cost less but it also has just over 35 channel options. Sling costs $5/mo. more at $25/mo. but it still doesn’t compare to the Philo channel lineup with just under 50 options.

Why Philo may be the right streaming service for you

If you’re a huge entertainment fan and don’t watch much else, the Philo TV package is an excellent option. It gives you access to all the leading lifestyle and entertainment channels such as Comedy Central, Discovery Channel, Game Show Network, Oprah Winfrey Network, PeopleTV and VH1. Plus, it helps you cut costs since you won’t be spending on things you don’t watch.

User experience

Philo has a straightforward layout that’s easy to navigate. With the Home section neatly organized into categories, it’s easy for viewers to discover new content as well as to continue watching saved shows. Have any channel that you watch more often than others? Add it to your favorites using the heart icon, so it’s easier to find when you need it.

This smooth user experience extends to the Philo TV app as well, with a consistent color scheme and easy navigation. However, there’s no option to update your subscription settings through the app, so you’ll need to switch to the Philo website for that.

Note that you won’t be able to skip any of the ads that appear during live broadcasts. But there are no such restrictions for your saved programs.  

Device compatibility

Philo streaming is compatible with the following devices:

  • Android mobile (5.0 or higher)
  • Android TV (5.0 or higher)
  • Apple TV (4th gen or later)
  • Browser – Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Safari
  • Fire tablet (5.0 or higher)
  • Fire TV, all models
  • iPhone/iPad
  • Roku, all models

Philo features

Philo has a handful of news channels like BBC America, BBC News and Cheddar News. But this lineup may be a little too modest for those who regularly tune into that sort of programming. The same goes for avid sports fans because there aren’t any sports programs in the Philo TV package and no add-on options either.

This means you can’t add any of the premium or local channels like ABC, CBS, HBO and Showtime to your plan. If you like the ability to customize your TV package, Philo might not be the best option for you.

On the other hand, entertainment fans have a few features to look forward to from the streaming service.

Save your favorite shows to watch later

Don’t have time to watch a live broadcast or a new episode while it airs? Save it to watch at your leisure. Philo lets you save unlimited shows and store them for up to 30 days.

Stream from multiple devices

You can stream Philo from up to three devices at a time.

Restart a live broadcast at any time

Tuned in a bit late to a live show? Use the Start Over feature to watch it from the beginning even if the event hasn’t ended yet.

Get more content from your favorite shows with TV Everywhere

Sign in to TV Everywhere with Philo to access your favorite shows. Enjoy digital originals, exclusive clips and extras from the service’s network partners.

Refer a friend and get a reward

Share a unique Philo referral link with your friends and family. If someone ends up subscribing through that link, they get $5 off on their first month and you get $5 off on your next payment.

What to watch on Philo

Enjoy the massive collection of entertainment content from Philo’s 58 channels. Learn to cook delicious dishes from the Food Network or explore different cities through the Travel Channel. Watch reality TV, game shows and documentaries or tune into movies on AMC and Comedy Central.

How to sign up for Philo

Convinced by this Philo review? Here’s how you sign up for the service on your browser:

  • Go to philo.com.
  • Enter your email address or mobile number and click on the arrow button.
  • Enter your payment details.
  • Hit Subscribe.

To sign up for Philo on your Apple, Fire or Roku device:

  • Download and open the Philo TV app.
  • Click on Start Free Trial.
  • Enter your mobile number.
  • Tap on the link sent to your phone.
  • Tap on the Confirm sign-up button and you’re done.

The takeaway

If you want affordable entertainment and lifestyle content and only watch the news on occasion, Philo makes a great choice. You’ll get an extensive range of entertainment programs to choose from, but not much else. If you like variety and the ability to customize your plan, however, you’re better off with other options like Hulu + Live TV.

Jacqueline Zote

Contributing Writer

Jacqueline Zote is a digital marketing and entertainment writer who makes regular contributions to Sprout Social and Recreation Insider. Her interests range from pop culture and mythology to social activism. When she’s not writing, she goes on food adventures and binges on crime drama. Her short fiction has been published by HarperCollins Publishers and Zubaan Books.