Philo Review: Channels, Features, and More

Last Updated on 2022-06-16 Nicole
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Philo is a true innovator in television streaming. He did something very simple -- he cut out expensive cable channels. Philo's approach leaves us without certain types of networks, but it also results in the leanest, cheapest live TV streaming option on the market — one that costs just $25 per month. This Philo review will take you deep into some of the most basic live streaming services.

The pros Cons
  • Most affordable live TV option
  • It includes most popular and familiar TV channels
  • Unlimited cloud DVR
  • There are no sports channels
  • There are no local channels
  • There is very little news coverage

Which Channels Can You Watch On Philo

Philo, like all streaming services is intended to replace some of the live TV channels cord-cutters lose to satellite or cable. However, it's not meant to replace them all, which we'll discuss in a minute. Philo is a \"multichannel\" service, so — like cable — it gives you access to multiple live TV networks that you can surf between, make DVR recordings from, and so on.

Philo has a great channel list, including reality TV channels and general entertainment outlets. The channel bundle from Philo includes many channels.

  • AMC
  • Comedy Central
  • DIY Network
  • Hallmark Channel
  • HGTV
  • History Channel
  • IFC
  • Nickelodeon
  • Paramount Network
  • TV Land
  • VH1
  • You can find out more about it!

Premium channels such as Starz or Epix can also be made available through add-ons. Although Philo's channels list is subject to change, it remains impressive for movies, sitcoms and dramas as well as other forms of television programming.

Part of is what makes Philo special It doesn't possess what it lacks. Philo has very affordable prices. The reason that Philo is able to offer such low prices is because it excludes some channels. Philo takes the traditional pay-TV package and removes the channels that are most likely to contribute high cable bills. These channels include news channels and sports channels.

Philo has been missing these essentials. You won't find ESPN or any other big sports networks here — in fact, you won't even find non-sports channels that air sports occasionally, like TBS and TNT. You won't also be able stream CNN, or view Fox News. However, you might still see some news due to recent additions of BBC World News. Philo also misses the major networks (ABC and Fox), as well as their affiliates. Don't expect to see your local news organization on this streaming platform.

Philo Fire TV Guide

These omissions will affect how much you watch sports. Philo was missing so much for a sports lover like myself. I often look online to see if there is a way to stream baseball. Philo did not have the local team's regional sports channel and I also missed ESPN, TBS and Fox as well as MLB Network and other channels that I used to watch baseball. I felt like I wasn't seeing what I wanted. However, I enjoy watching HGTV or DIY Network and I love relaxing while I watch a DIY or home improvement show.

Of course, your mileage might vary. Philo's deal might seem like an offer to the devil if you are a sports lover like myself. But if you could take or leave channels like ESPN and CNN — or if you're able to shore up those areas with other options, like an ESPN Plus subscription or an over-the-air TV antenna — then you might be overjoyed to see Philo's impressive lineup of entertainment channels available without the pricey sports and news networks holding them back.

You can choose the content you like: Philo currently has over 60 channels available. You can also access an online library that contains recent TV shows from many of the networks it includes in your bundle. There's always a chance that you will be able to catch the show on-demand if you are unable to attend the broadcast. You can make sure of this by digitally \"recording\" the program with the cloud DVR — which, in Philo's take on the DVR, pretty much just saves on-demand content to a watchlist.

Related Reading: Amazon Fire TV Review

What it felt like to use Philo

philo review

Philo was different than any other streaming live TV service that I tried. Philo, like most competitors, offers a complimentary trial. Unlike most of its competitors, though, Philo didn't necessarily need my credit card information — not right away, anyway. The free trial allows you to watch Philo online for one week. You don't need any payment information during the initial 48 hours. Important note: The 48 hour grace period applies only if Philo is signed up using a telephone number. You will need to enter your payment details if you sign up using an email address.

Philo's Sign Up Process

I chose to sign up by email. Philo sent me a code at the email address that I gave. I then entered the code in my browser to begin watching. That same process repeated whenever I activated one of Philo's apps — I never had to worry about a password. This was very convenient for me. However, Philo can text you the login code every time you activate an app of his.

Philo doesn't need you to set up new passwords and is very easy to log in to. The flip side of this is that you'll have to okay each new login to your account — you can't just give a family member or friend your password and let them log in on their own.

Philo Channel Guide

Philo's App Design and User Experience

The user interface of Philo was very straightforward. Philo's app is divided into several sections, just like many top live TV streaming websites. After a brief overview of the most popular live programming, you can dive into a variety of on-demand recommendations. You can select live channels from the familiar TV Guide menu on the 'Guide' screen. You could also find your recordings and favorite channels under the 'Saved", and you had an option to search.

Philo Content
Philo Content

You can also search by category or genre. I liked scrolling through the home tab as I decided what to watch — though this tended to send me to on-demand content rather than live TV. When I felt like channel-surfing, I headed to the TV guide screen instead — just like with other live TV streaming services I've reviewed, I found that that TV guide was one of my favorite ways to find something to watch.

Philo's \"Unlimited DVR\"

Philo comes with an "unlimited DVR". This allows you to save all episodes in the series that you select. Unlike traditional DVRs, it doesn't require you to wait until they air as reruns. Unlimited DVR also allows you to add all new episodes into your saved content library.

Philo - Saving a show to the DVR

Although the DVR function was easy to use, it felt a little different than the usual DVR experience. Although there was no limitation on how many I could "record", my saved programs were only available for 30 days. Although I preferred an easier (and more DVR-like DVR), Philo's option that looks like a watchlist works in almost all cases.

Related Reading: Roku Ultra Review

Philo Streaming Quality

In my many trials, I had no trouble streaming Philo. It worked flawlessly on Roku, Fire TV and my browser.

Resolution Framerate
Content for live TV 720p 30 FPS
Content available on-demand 1080p 30 FPS

Philo's stream may be smooth but it didn't blow me away. Philo can display 30 frames per second. This number refers to how many images Philo displays on your screen each second. You can see that smoother viewing is possible with lots of fast frames. (Just imagine a flipbook: If you tore out every third page, it would look \"choppier\" — that's what a lower framerate is like, though the effect is a bit more subtle.) Philo's 30 FPS rate is about half what we are used to seeing on other streaming TV services. This isn't the end of the world — a 30 FPS stream is still perfectly watchable, and the sports content that suffered most from lower frame rates isn't available on Philo anyway — but it's still an area where I would have liked to see Philo step it up a bit.

Philo's live streaming content streams at 720p HD (this measurement means how high the resolution of the image on the screen is — it's about how sharp it isItis not the speed at which it switches from one frame to another. On-demand content can deliver 1080p quality. These numbers are quite typical of live streaming TV services. I don't blame Philo. Although a little bit of 4K UHD content might have been nice, it is not a necessity for these services.

Philo Profile

Related Reading: Best Live TV Streaming Services

Learn More about Philo's Features

Philo's features don't seem overwhelming but are strong and have almost everything that I needed. My main account allowed me to set up multiple accounts. I also had the ability to rename them and select from several profile images (I selected a small tree icon I liked). You can stream to up three devices simultaneously.

Philo review

Philo includes an unlimited DVR option, which I already mentioned. It doesn't really record anything because it is an online (or cloud) DVR. It felt like a DVR but with a bookmark or watch list feature, which I don't necessarily think is a problem.

Philo Platform Support

Philo has apps available for most major platforms and devices. You can use Philo on Roku Fire TV Chromecast, Fire TV Chromecast, Android TV and Apple TV. I could also use it on Mac or PC through the in-browser app — which, I was happy to see, works not only on Chrome and Safari but also on Firefox and Microsoft Edge.

It is an excellent platform support team. Philo covers the entire range of platforms except for certain smart TV platforms. Philo will work on any of the platforms and devices that we have recommended.

Philo on Roku

Philo provides a consistent user experience on all platforms. This review was done on Philo using Roku Fire TV Chromecast, Fire TV Chromecast, iOS and two browsers Chrome and Firefox. My experience shows that Philo is great for all platforms.

Philo Value

We have finally reached the section of our Philo review that discusses pricing. And I have some good news for you: Philo is a really, really cheap way to watch TV without cable.

There's only one main Philo subscription, so we don't have to worry about any price tiers — just a simple price tag of $25 per month, with the option to splurge on a couple of add-ons for a few extra bucks. Epix costs an additional $6/month, while STARZ adds an additional $9.)

The $25 cost for live streaming TV is incredibly low. Sling TV is the closest competitor. The majority of other streaming TV services are about $60 per month.

There's a reason Philo is so inexpensive: Philo doesn't have local news and sports. These channels are among the most costly for pay-TV service providers to offer, so Philo removes them and gives you the savings.

Philo review

Is Philo really a great value? My view is that Philo is a great value. You can't find a better live TV experience anywhere else.

However, this doesn't mean Philo is the best deal for you. Value is like everything else in life. If you don't like sushi, you probably won't care how cheap the lunch specials at the local sushi place get — no matter how good the deal is, you're just not in the market for sushi! Philo was a big sports fan so that is how I felt. It just wasn't worth it for me to continue my subscription. But if I'm being objective, I can imagine what Philo would look like to a non-sports fan — and boy, oh boy would it look good. This is a great deal if this is your type of thing.

Philo Review: Our Verdict

Philo sets out to do something special — something a little different from what our other favorite live TV streaming services do. Philo avoids sports and news and can keep costs low for all other types of pay-TV channels such as reality TV channels and movie channels.

Philo is a great service. I have thoroughly tested it. This service is exactly what they promised: It's a super-cheap streaming TV service that allows you to enjoy your favourite entertainment channels from any device.

Philo delivers on its promises, and that will appeal only to some viewers. For me, sports and news were missing a lot. Others might find it frustrating that there aren't enough local channels. If you crave this sort of content, the Philo can't help you — that's just not what Philo is for.

That's OK, Philo wants something more. Philo does that with great gusto. Philo will give you the best value on your dollar if you're looking for a streaming service that allows you to flip through channels such as AMC, HGTV and VH1 and if you don’t mind skipping ESPN or CNN, then Philo is the right choice.

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