Is Philo A Good Streaming Service? The Pros & Cons You Need To Know

Philo tV Guide

Philo streaming television featuring live TV, DVR and on-demand programming was first launched nationwide in November 2017. The main network backers include Discovery, Viacom and AMC. Launching with two basic packages three years ago, Philo’s platform has morphed to one simple package. We answer the question, is Philo a good streaming service? Here are the pros and cons you need to know, starting with the pros.

Pros

Free Trial

Philo is the only streaming service to offer a free trial with just your phone number.  This allows you to log onto the app and watch everything you can for 2 free days.

To get a 7-day free trial, you will need to enter billing information.  If you don’t cancel at the end of your trial, your subscription will begin.

Cost

Unlike other streaming services which average between $30-$70/month depending on the TV packages, Philo offers one package with 59 channels for $20/month.  There are no extra costs for premium channels.

This is by far one of the lowest prices for this many channels you will find on any streaming service.

Decent Channel Lineup

If you like reality TV or the Hallmark lineup of channels, you will like Philo.  There are plenty of children’s programming, documentaries and movies.  Some of the more popular shows carried on Philo include House Hunters, Street Outlaws, SpongeBob SquarePants, Paw Patrol, Fear the Walking Dead, The First 48 and Love & Hip-Hop Hollywood. 

Popular channels include AMC, Comedy Central, Cooking Channel, Discovery, Discovery Family, Hallmark, Hallmark Drama, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, HGTV, History, Nickelodeon and Nick Toons.

Below are the available channels contained in this $20/month package.

$20/Month with 59 Channels

News

Although, it doesn’t offer the familiar news platforms like Fox News or CNN, it does offer a global perspective offered by the 24-hour BBC World News service. 

It also offers the Cheddar channel, which if you haven’t seen, you should check out.  This channel offers independent financial, tech and headline news.

Generous DVR

Philo comes with generous unlimited DVR storage.  Unlike its competitors such as Hulu + Live TV or YouTube TV, which provide limited storage space.  Philo’s only stipulation is to watch your recordings within the 30 days window.  You can also fast forward the commercials

You can watch on up to 3 different devices at the same time, which is great if multiple people need access.

No Contracts

Like many of the other streaming services we have reviewed, there are no contracts or installation fees and you can jump on or off your subscription anytime. 

Many Supported Devices

To watch Philo requires a broadband or high-speed internet connection and a supported device. Philo is available on a variety of devices including Mac, iPhone, Apple TV, iPad, Windows, Android phones, tablets, Android TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV. 

Philo TV allows you to launch shows directly from Apple’s TV app, or tune to live channels from the home screen on Amazon Fire TV and Android TV devices.

App Menu

Philo’s cable style menu grid is very simple. There are new features and it supports up to 10 user profiles, each with their own recordings and viewing histories.

Philo's Guide
Philo TV Live Guide

Cons

No Sports

If you want sports, Philo isn’t for you. Offering sports is one of the most expensive aspects for streaming providers.  By leaving sports off the table, Philo is able to keep its service to $20/month. 

Missing Popular Channels

Philo doesn’t carry programming from Disney, NBCUniversal, Turner or Warnermedia. As a result, you won’t find any of the most popular networks. Some of the channels you won’t find include Bravo, CNBC, E!, FX, Golf Channel, HBO, MSNBC, Syfy, TBS, Telemundo, TNT, Tru TV and USA Network.

No Local Channels

If you are looking for local channels on Philo, you won’t get it.  It means you won’t get CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, Telemundo or your local Fox affiliate.  If you want those channels plus more, we recommend purchasing an antenna.  Depending where you live, a good antenna could add an additional 30+ channels.  My antenna provides 74 channels. This very good 150-mile long-range antenna can be found here.

No Chromecast

Even though Philo is supported on a wide variety of devices, as of now, you cannot chromecast. For some people, this will be a deal breaker.

Commercials

Even though Philo’s service is $20/month, there are commercials.  Some viewers have complained of the number and duration of commercials.  The company has responded by saying they carry the same commercial load as other TV providers. 

Our suggestion is, if you wish to bypass the ads, DVR your favorite shows.  That way, you can skip through the commercials.

Conclusions

On the one hand, the service is clearly aimed at people who are price conscious.  Over half of the 50,000 +  subscribers had no TV service before signing up for Philo.  This would be a good add-on service for people who have an indoor or outdoor antenna but want more. They are not big sports fans so the fact Philo doesn’t carry it, isn’t a big deal.

On the other, Philo’s affordability is attractive to consumers who already have a streaming service but like the additional content mix Philo offers. For instance, adding Philo to a Hulu + Live TV subscription to get all three Hallmark channels plus the Christmas movies, would be a good addition.

Although, Philo is a low-priced competitor, it may still be a deal breaker for many households who want channels like Disney, Fox News, Bravo and ESPN. 

However, for consumers who wish to supplement their existing subscription or antenna with an inexpensive service, we think it’s definitely worth a try.

Do you have Philo? Are you happy with the service? Does it have a lot of ads? Would you recommend it? Let us know below.

Additional Resources

Check out our previous article on the free service, Pluto TV, where we answer the question, “Is Pluto TV Free & Legal

The 4 Things Cable Companies Don’t Want You To Know About TV Antennas can be read here

Watch our video, “What Is The Best Antenna For Free TV” below.

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