Philo Review 2023: Live and On-Demand Streaming
Rising prices and subscription fatigue got you down? Philo's $25-a-month skinny streamer is here for you.
Features: Unlimited cloud DVR, 3 simultaneous streams
Is Philo good?
If you’re into entertainment and reality shows, Philo is as good live TV streaming gets. It offers zero sports or local channels, focusing instead on entertainment (like Comedy Central, Paramount Network, and AMC) and lifestyle (such as A&E, HGTV, and Cooking Channel) networks.
With Philo, you get 70+ channels for just $25 a month. Throw in unlimited cloud DVR space (with 12 months of show storage), and Philo adds up to more than a “bare-bones” live TV streaming service.
Sports fans should probably stop reading here, though. Head over to our best streaming services review for the best ways to get your sportsball action.
Philo pros and cons
- Inexpensive pricing
- Channels unavailable elsewhere
- Unlimited cloud DVR
- No sports channels
- No local channels
- Few add-ons or upgrades
Philo promotions and deals
Like other live and on-demand TV streaming services, Philo gives you a seven-day free trial to take it for a spin.
- Philo T-Mobile discount: Do you have T-Mobile or Sprint internet or wireless service? If so, you qualify for 40% off for 12 months, which drops your Philo monthly payment to $15 a month (total savings: $120). The offer doesn’t list an expiration date.
- Philo redemption codes: New Philo subscribers can save 50% ($12.50) on the first month of service with the Philo redemption codes “MAYS.” This appears to be valid at least through March 31, 2023—possibly beyond that.
See our Philo deals page for more ways to save money on the live TV streaming service.
|Plan||Price||Live channels||Cloud DVR||Streams||Details|
|Philo||$25.00/mo.||70+||Unlimited (1 yr.)||3||View Plan|
Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
To its advantage, Philo has snagged dozens of channels that other live TV streaming services don’t carry, thanks to its four-way ownership made up of AMC Networks, A+E Networks, Discovery Inc., and Viacom.
For Joe and Jane Viewer, the boring biz details mean this: some live TV streaming services, like YouTube TV, don’t carry A+E networks like Lifetime, Hallmark, HISTORY, or VICE. Also, Hulu + Live TV doesn’t have AMC or A&E. Philo carries them all, and on the cheap.
Alone, Philo is a great value—but, as a supplemental service, it really shines. In several of our live TV streaming reviews, you’ll notice Philo referenced as a low-priced service to combine with others for a fuller array of channels.
Philo vs. the competition
|Service||Price||Editorial rating||Channels||Multiple streams||Cloud DVR||Details|
|Philo||$25.00/mo.||3.7/5||70+||3||Unlimited (1 yr.)||View plans|
|YouTube TV||$72.99/mo.||4.5/5||100+||3||Unlimited (9 mos.)||View plansRead YouTube TV Review|
|Hulu + Live TV||$69.99–$82.99/mo.||4.2/5||85+||2||50 hrs.||View plansRead Hulu + Live TV Review|
|fuboTV||$74.99–$94.99/mo.||4.0/5||140–215+||10||1,000 hrs.||View plansRead fuboTV Review|
|Sling TV||$40.00–$55.00/mo.||3.9/5||30–50+||1–4||50 hrs.||View plansRead Sling TV Review|
|DIRECTV STREAM||$64.99–$154.99/mo.||3.5/5||75–150+||3||20 hrs.||View plansRead DIRECTV STREAM Review|
|Vidgo||$59.95–$79.95/mo.||3.8/5||110–150+||3||N/A||View plansRead Vidgo Review|
Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
Philo TV channels and shows
Live and on-demand shows and movies
Have we mentioned Philo’s lack of sports channels? We just want you to know what you’re getting into—though you can find pro wrestling on AXS TV, as well as one of the most gripping competitions in all of television, Guy’s Grocery Games on Food Network.
Philo’s channels are squarely focused on entertainment, with a couple of news options like veteran BBC World News and upstart Cheddar News to keep you up on the headlines.
For well-rounded people who like to watch cooking, home improvement, traveling, cute puppies, and unsolved murders, Philo has Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, Animal Planet, and Investigation Discovery to keep you occupied.
The majority of TV shows and movies on Philo’s channels are available on-demand after the first live airing. If you missed an episode of Comedy Central’s Crank Yankers, or the even funnier Lifetime movie Soccer Mom Madam, the title’s menu will display “Playable” (on-demand) or “Upcoming” (available to record upon next showing) status, or both.
See all the TV you can get in our Philo Channels guide.
Securing local channels across the country is nearly as expensive and logistically tricky as carrying sports—so you’ll get none of those on Philo, either.
Fortunately, over-the-air antennas still work perfectly well for receiving local stations that broadcast ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, The CW, PBS, and Telemundo (most also feature sports, BTW).
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|Movies & More||$3.00/mo.|
Philo specs and features
|Philo||Unlimited (1 Yr.)|
Philo’s cloud DVR gives you unlimited storage space for shows and movies for a whole year. That’s more than any other streaming services’ cloud DVRs, including YouTube TV, which keeps your recorded content for nine months.
If you somehow just couldn’t get to those saved episodes of MotorTrend’s Graveyard Carz last year, you’ll still be able to call them up on demand (with commercials). Most Philo channels offer the same capability.
On recorded shows, you can zip past commercials easily thanks to Philo’s sliding preview frame, which works similarly to fast-forwarding on Netflix or Amazon Prime Video.
Philo’s display for recorded content could use some work. It’s not always clear which is the most recent episode of a show, meaning there’ll be some guesswork and extra clicking involved to get to what you want. Also, you can’t record individual episodes, just full series.
Three simultaneous streams are allowed with Philo streaming, which is the average for streaming TV services. ESPN+ and only a handful of others offer up to five, for reference.
Philo app logins are enabled for up to 32 devices—which seems a bit excessive, considering that Philo isn’t compatible with all that many streaming gadgets (more on that next).
|Amazon Fire Cube, Stick, TV||✓|
|Android phones, tablets||✓|
|Apple TV (4th gen.)||✓|
|Apple TV 4K||✓|
|Chromecast, Chromecast with Google TV||✓|
|LG TVs (select models)||—|
|NVIDIA SHIELD Pro TV||—|
|PC, Mac web browsers||✓|
|PlayStation 3, 4, 5||—|
|Roku Ultra, Express, Premiere, Stick, TV||✓|
|Samsung TVs (select models)||—|
|SHARP smart TVs (select models)||—|
|Sony smart TVs (select models)||—|
|VIZIO SmartCast TV (select models)||—|
|Wii, Wii U||—|
|Xbox 360/One/ Series X|S||—|
|Xfinity Flex, X1||—|
If your streaming device is a PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo, or most any brand of smart TV, sorry. Philo only works on a handful of platforms.
Video and audio quality
Most of the live TV streaming services we’ve reviewed at CableTV.com stream at 720p (pixels) at 60 fps (frames per second) or higher.
Philo streams at 720p at 30 fps, but the HD picture quality difference is only barely discernible. It doesn’t, however, stream anything in 4K.
Channels are arranged alphabetically in grid fashion, with shows hover-highlighted as large tiles. On livestreaming devices, Philo’s aesthetic is oddly retro, using a ’60s-tinged muted color palette. If you’re bored with other staid TV grids, it’s a refreshing look.
To a small extent, you can customize Philo’s channel grid to move your most-watched channels nearer to the top by “favoriting” them—but your favorites with still be listed alphabetically. AMC will always come before VH1, no matter how much you love Black Ink Crew.
Philo streams in standard 2.0 stereo audio; Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound isn’t available. Digable Planets still sound “Cool Like Dat” on MTV Classic, though.
Final take: Philo is (still) a screaming streaming deal
For straight-up entertainment with a load of popular channels and an unlimited cloud DVR included for just $25, Philo is as cheap as live TV streaming gets in 2022. Only the most basic Sling TV package comes close—with half the channels at 10 bucks more a month.
But, if you want sports and local channels, there’ll be workarounds involved, and they’ll cost you a little in additional streaming subscriptions, apps, or antennas.
For the type of viewer with all-encompassing TV needs, it’s best to think of Philo as an add-on to another streaming service. Conveniently, because of its ownership, it carries several channels that other streamers are missing. (Check out our best streaming services review for more on those.)
It’s almost as if Philo was designed that way. We’re not into corporate media conspiracies, but . . .
Can you get local channels with Philo?
Philo doesn’t carry local channels, which means you can’t watch ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, The CW, PBS, or Telemundo shows on the service. To get local channels, we recommend buying an over-the-air digital antenna, which gives you free access to dozens of area broadcast channels for a one-time purchase.
Does Philo have live TV?
Like cable or satellite, Philo is a live TV service that also streams on-demand content from the 60+ channels in carries.
How much is Philo monthly?
Philo’s subscription rate is $25 a month. For an extra charge, you can add premium channels STARZ ($9 a month) or MGM+ ($6 a month).
How can I get Philo for free?
Philo offers a seven-day free trial period to try out the service, after which you’ll be charged $25 a month unless you cancel before the week is up.
Does Philo have different packages?
Philo only offers a single basic package: $25 a month for 60+ live TV channels.
Our experts employed hours of hands-on testing with Philo, rating the streaming service on bang for your buck, reliability, features, and customer satisfaction. Then we matched up Philo with other on-demand streaming services head to head to give a clearer picture of its strengths and weaknesses. For more information on our methodology, check out our How We Rank page.
Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon.com at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. CableTV.com utilizes paid Amazon links.
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