Philo TV is a cord cutter's dream — a way to watch live TV channels without the expensive cable bill. The streaming service offers the ability to view and record live TV from 63 channels for just $20 per month. And it's available on most major streaming devices, including Roku, Chromecast and Apple TV.
While Philo TV doesn't have local channels nor every major cable network in its lineup, it does feature a lot of popular channels. And the service offers Starz and Epix as premium add-ons. For the price, Philo could be the perfect streaming solution to get rid of headache-inducing cable bills and impossible-to-cancel contracts. A seven-day free trial gives new users the chance to check out Philo before committing to a subscription.
As we noted in our Philo review, the service is also easy and pleasurable to use, with a bright, slick interface. Plus, it's great for viewers who like to record a ton of shows and movies to watch later, since Philo's DVR lets you keep an unlimited number of recordings for 30 days. All of those great features makes Philo one of the best streaming services in the market.
What is Philo TV?
The Discovery-owned Philo TV is an "over-the-top," or OTT, service, which means it comes through the internet rather than on dedicated lines or over the air. That puts it in the same bucket as streaming services like Netflix and Amazon. But Philo specializes in live TV, so it streams programs as they are broadcast. It also offers shows and movies on demand.
Philo isn't the only OTT service for those looking to cut the cord, though, as Sling TV Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV and Fubo TV all stream live TV, though their channel lineups, features and prices vary.
To use Philo TV, you can stream on the Philo website or download the app to any of the many devices supported by the service. The company offers a free, 7-day trial to new customers; all you need to do is sign up with your phone number.
Philo TV channels lineup
Currently, there are 63 Philo TV channels. They include many popular cable networks, including AMC, BBC America, BET, Comedy Central, Discovery Channel, Food Network, HGTV, IFC, Lifetime, MTV, Nickelodeon, TV Land and VH1.
Philo does not carry any local channels, so you can't watch broadcast networks ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox or The CW at this time. The Philo TV lineup is also sparse on sports channels, so no ESPN or Fox Sports.
You can browse Philo channels through the live guide, which is in a grid format like you've seen on cable TV. You can also search for specific channels and shows.
Philo also offers the premium add-on channels Starz and Epix.
Philo TV cost
Philo TV has only one package and plan: $20 per month.
Philo users can get Starz for $9 per month, after an initial promotion pricing of $5 per month for the first three months when customers subscribe to these services before July 13. Epix costs $6, with an initial promotion pricing of $3 per month.
Philo has teamed up with Best Buy for a deal on subscriptions. New Philo customers can get a month free with a qualifying purchase of streaming devices, smart TVs, antennas and more. Or they can sign up for Philo through Best Buy and receive 50 percent off the first month's bill.
Philo TV reviews
In our Philo TV review, we rated the service 3 out of 5 stars. It earned points for its lower price and unlimited DVR, but its limited selection hurt it in the end — because what good is a DVR if you don't have much to fill it with? Overall, it's a "decent new contender in the streaming space" that may not be for all, but we said unless "all your favorite channels are among Philo's lineup," Philo may not prove comprehensive enough.
At PCMag, Ben Moore rated Philo 3.5 out of 5, giving it demerits for a lack of local coverage and programming, and its sparse sports and news offerings. He did, however, commend the quality of Philo's mobile apps.
Philo TV app and supported devices
Philo TV has apps on iOS and Android, and supported devices include web browsers as well as most major smart TVs, streaming boxes and sticks.
- web browsers on PC and Mac
- iOS mobile devices
- Android mobile devices (OS 5.0 or higher)
- Fire TV
- Apple TV (4th gen or later)
- Android TV (5.0 or higher)
- Fire Tablet (OS 5.0 or higher)
Philo does not currently support Chromecast or any game consoles at this time.
Philo TV DVR
Philo's DVR is one of its best features. You can save an unlimited number of TV shows and movies that are currently airing or scheduled to air in the future. The recording will be available to you for 30 days. And when you play back a DVR recording, you can fast forward and rewind through commercials
The Philo DVR has two tiny little drawbacks. Once you save a show, it'll record every single airing — whether the episode is new or not. Also, you cannot delete recordings before the 30-day expiration date. Of course, since the DVR capacity is unlimited, you don't need to worry about deleting recordings to make space for others.
Philo TV commercials
Yes, Philo airs commercials during shows because you see exactly what you would see if you were watching these channels on cable TV. The ability to fast forward, rewind or pause through commercials varies by channel.
Philo TV movies
Yes, many Philo channels like AMC, BBC America and IFC show classic films and recent hit movies. And in addition to the movies that air on included channels, Sling provides on-demand movies for additional rental fees. The movies are both new releases and older favorites, and generally range from $2.99 to $4.99.
Philo TV on-demand content
Philo has over 40,000 titles available to watch on-demand. There isn't an easy way to browse the video on-demand content, though. You just have to look for a "VOD" tag on show profile pages.
Philo TV internet speed suggestions
Philo has internet speed recommendations and notes that the video quality adjusts according to your available bandwidth. Their recommendations are:
13 Mbps – Recommended for reliable HD streaming, even with multiple streams or other devices using the same network.
7 Mbps – Stream one HD video. If multiple devices are streaming or using the network at the same time, there may be buffering issues.
3 Mbps – Stream SD quality video.
Under 3 Mbps – Video quality is reduced. Philo may load slowly or rebuffer.
Is Philo TV worth it?
If you want a live TV service for a low cost, and Philo's channel lineup has your favorites, then it is possibly the most affordable streaming service out there. You get a lot of bang for your buck, since Philo offers 50 channels, live viewing, unlimited DVR and a ton of on-demand content.
However, if you want local channels or your preferred networks aren't in the lineup, then Philo may not be the best (or only) streaming service for you. It could get expensive if you have to add on another service on top of Philo, because it doesn't give you everything you want to watch. In that case, you may want to consider a more expensive streamer with a more robust channel lineup.