Ready for the cheapest skinny bundle of live TV?
The first-ever streaming television service priced under $20 launched nationwide today.
Philo, an online-TV platform, is offering 35+ live TV channels for $16 per month. The service is a sports-free service that focuses on entertainment and lifestyle channels.
The debut of Philo will challenge Dish-owned Sling TV, which offers a 29+ live channel subscription for $20 per month.
Philo has A&E, AMC, Animal Planet, BBC America, Comedy Central, HGTV and Investigation Discovery (ID) within its channel lineup. An additional nine channels can be added for just $4 more per month. Subscribers can watch live TV anywhere in the U.S. — on TVs, computers, tablets and phones. So far, Roku is the only over-the-top streaming device with a dedicated app. But more streaming devices are expected to get apps soon, according to the company.
Subscribers get an unlimited 30-day DVR, a deep on-demand library, plus the ability to pause any live channel. You can also start programs from the beginning, and watch programs that have aired in the past three days.
Watch Philo on up to three different devices at the same time.
“Our goal at Philo is to build a television service that people love as much as they love their favorite shows. We’re constantly looking for ways we can improve the experience because at the end of the day, we’re also building Philo for ourselves,” said Andrew McCollum, Philo CEO. “We started delivering streaming television at universities six years ago, and we’ve taken all of the unique insight we gained about this new generation of TV watchers in order to build a unique product and content package at an incredible value.”
Sling TV no longer cheapest live TV streaming bundle
The debut of Philo unseats Sling TV as the lowest cost option for cord cutters who want to watch popular network shows like The Walking Dead as it airs live.
Sling TV has become well known for offering a $20 per month plan with 29+ popular channels like A&E, ESPN, and AMC. Cloud DVR costs an extra $5 per month, and subscribers can choose add-on channel bundles for an extra $5 to $10 per month.
Channels from Philo come from A+E Networks, AMC Networks, Discovery, Scripps Networks, and Viacom. The five companies supplying channels are also Philo’s primary financial backers, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Philo plans to soon add social media features so that users can see what their friends are watching. A similar feature is offered on Spotify. Philo first launched in 2011 as a streaming service for college campuses.
New customers are offered a 7-day free trial that you can start with just a phone number. Here’s a list of the channel bundles:
Philo 35+ Channels – $16
BBC World News
Investigation Discovery (ID)
Incremental 9 channels – $4
American Heroes Channel
- New customers can check out Philo with a 7-day free trial.
Founder and Editor of The Cord Cutting Report. Before launching the site in 2016, he worked for more than two decades as a staff writer or correspondent for a number of daily newspapers, including The Boston Globe. His enthusiasm for tech began with the Atari 2600. Follow @james_kimble
Wesley Taylor says
I like the channel selections on Philo, if I could ever figure out how to get to them. Your channel selection process is terrible and essentially unusable. Check out Direct TV now for an easy to use menu. Without a change of the channel selection process, I will quit Philo.
Donny Craft says
I am looking for the main networks -ABC-CBS-NBC-FOX-PBS-Maybe METV only any recomendations?
The Cord Cutter says
You should try out an antenna to get those main networks. Assuming you’re in an area where you can get some decent antenna reception, there’s no point in paying a streaming service (or cable company) for them. Look over my antenna guide at the top of the page for help on how to pick an antenna that will suit the area you’re living in.
I just signed up for the free trial – it was supposed to be a 7-day free trial but it came up as a 48-hour free trial. First thing wrong. Now I find that on a Roku tv there is no guide option and that just sucks big time. I want to look through the channels and shows for options not have to memorize what show comes on what channel and when it’s playing or search for it. If there was a list without the images, that might help some (still not as good as a guide though) but I can only see 2 rows of 4 images on the screen. I do like the no sports part of this (Directv thought it was a good idea to charge me even more for regional sports even though I told them I don’t watch sports). So far this isn’t the wonderful deal I thought it would be; it may turn out to be better than I’m thinking but so far I’m underwhelmed.
I’ve been using this for awhile now so I thought I’d update my posting. I do like the variety of channels but that guide is sorely missed and Philo has got to get it going very soon as it’s really aggravating to find shows. One of the other things that has to be updated is on the Keep Watching list. To get rid of them you have to: while the show is playing, hold the left rewind arrow so the show goes back to the very beginning. Then you let the show play for about 15 seconds and then press the left BACK button. A lot of steps just to get shows off that Keep Watching list. I had to call them to find that out. While I was on the phone with them I reiterated the guide request and was told they’re working on it but that’s been a couple of months and no progress. I do really like the Saved Shows option – that is first rate and so nice to have the series record. When you watch shows from this list you can fast forward through the commercials too. That is one of the top selling points of this channel. I guess you can’t have everything you want but there are some improvements Philo needs to make.
DG Burns says
This service offers no broadcast networks (ABC/CBS/FOX/NBC)? I guess if you’re in antenna range that’s fine, but if not, seems there are better choices.
The Cord Cutter says
Correct. I think it all boils down to your personal needs/preference. This is the first bundle I’ve seen where there’s no locals, and that’s a good thing. When you get locals on a streaming service, you’re paying for them (kind of like cable).
Philo might turn out to be a good option for people who have decent antenna reception and only want to pay for channels like A&E, MTV, etc.