In the exploding market of live TV streaming services, is Philo the best option available in 2022? With over a dozen competitors, it can be challenging to compare features, channels, and pricing across providers.
This comprehensive Philo review will examine if it‘s the top contender for cord cutters based on performance, value, and overall user experience.
A Quick Primer on Philo
For those new to Philo, here‘s a quick overview:
- Cost: $20/month for over 60 channels
- Focus: Entertainment, lifestyle and news channels primarily
- Key Channels: AMC, Discovery, HGTV, Hallmark, MTV, Paramount Network, VH1
- Add-Ons: Epix + Starz channel packs available
- DVR: Unlimited cloud storage, 30-day limit on recordings
- Streams: Watch on up to 3 devices simultaneously
Philo offers an affordable way to stream top cable channels live and on-demand without contracts or huge fees. Next, let‘s take a deeper look at Philo‘s background and growth over the years.
Philo‘s Origin Story and Rise
Philo was founded in 2009 by three Harvard undergrads – Tuan Ho, Ryan Marquis, and Andrew McCollum. The goal was to disrupt the traditional TV landscape by offering a low-cost live TV streaming service.
After nearly a decade of product development and fundraising, Philo finally launched its $16/month TV service in 2017 (now $20/month).
The company relied on a college campus ambassador program to drive early growth. While subscriber numbers remain private, we know Philo hit 56,000 customers by 2018. User growth accelerated 11% month-over-month in 2019.
Philo has raised $90 million in funding from investors like AMC Networks, Discovery, and ViacomCBS (all Philo channel partners). This allows Philo to continually expand its channel lineup and improve the service.
As of 2022, Philo competes against an array of live TV providers like fuboTV, Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV, Sling TV, and more. Next, let‘s see how the Philo channel lineup compares.
Philo Channel Lineup vs. Competitors
One major consideration when choosing a live TV streaming service is the channel selection. With over 60 channels focused on entertainment, lifestyle and news, how does Philo compare against key competitors?
Here is a sampling of popular channels and which live TV providers offer them:
|Philo||Sling TV||YouTube TV||Hulu + Live TV|
While Philo lacks news and sports channels, it includes many popular entertainment networks other competitors are missing. Overall, Philo should satisfy cord cutters primarily interested in entertainment, home improvement, true crime, and reality TV.
Next, let‘s compare Philo‘s pricing and plans versus competitors.
Comparing Philo Pricing and Plans
When choosing a live TV service, pricing is often the deciding factor. Here is how Philo stacks up cost-wise against other top options:
|Philo||Sling TV||Hulu + Live TV||YouTube TV|
|No. of Channels||60+||30+||75+||85+|
|Cloud DVR||Included||Add-on $5||Included||Included|
At just $20 per month, Philo offers excellent value. You get 60+ channels and an unlimited Cloud DVR included compared to closer to $70 for Hulu and YouTube TV.
While Philo lacks sports and local channels, the entertainment focus and low pricing are huge perks. Next up, let‘s see how Philo stacks up on supported streaming devices.
Philo Device Support
A benefit of Philo is wide device support across mobile, TV streaming, and web platforms:
Philo works great on both Fire TV and Roku which make up over 70% of streaming device usage. Support for game consoles and smart TVs is still limited though.
The service is also accessible across iOS and Android mobile apps. This allows subscribers to stream Philo anywhere on a phone or tablet.
In comparison, fuboTV and DirecTV Stream have more limited device support. Philo‘s wide-ranging availability stands out.
Next, let‘s take a closer look at the streaming quality and features Philo offers.
Philo Streaming Quality and Features
Two important factors for live TV services are video quality and features. Here is how Philo stacks up:
Philo streams channels up to 720p HD quality where available. This results in crisp, high-definition streaming for most content. However, some channels may only stream in lower 480p resolution.
For the best experience, I recommend an internet speed of at least 10 Mbps. Faster speeds like 25+ Mbps are ideal for flawless streaming across multiple devices.
Philo provides an unlimited Cloud DVR with every plan with no storage limits. You can record an endless number of shows. The only catch is that recordings are deleted after 30 days.
Still, an unlimited DVR is extremely rare (YouTube TV offers unlimited storage but deletes recordings after 9 months).
Philo allows up to 3 concurrent streams on different devices. This enables small households to watch Philo at the same time. Larger families may need 4-6 streams supported.
Unlike YouTube TV and Hulu Live, Philo does not support personal user profiles yet. You share one unified watch history and DVR with all users.
Philo does not currently enable downloading shows for offline viewing. You must be connected to the internet to watch.
Next, let‘s dive into the Philo user experience on popular streaming platforms.
Hands-On: Philo User Experience
To better understand Philo‘s service, I tested it directly on an Amazon Fire TV and iPhone.
Getting started with Philo took under 5 minutes. I simply entered my email on the Philo website to kickoff the 7-day free trial.
Next, I added my payment information and instantly could begin watching live channels and on-demand shows.
Philo‘s interface is clean with sections like Live, Guide, Shows, Movies and My List. Browsing movies and shows was straightforward.
The unlimited DVR made it easy to record anything airing live with a single click. I also added shows to My List to bookmark them for later viewing.
I consistently got sharp 720p HD picture quality while testing Philo on my 25 Mbps home internet connection. Changing channels and fast forwarding resulted in minimal buffering.
The streams worked flawlessly across both the Fire TV and iPhone app with no lag or quality concerns.
Philo provided all the expected streaming controls including pause, play, rewind, skip forward/back 10 seconds, begin from start, and enable closed captions.
Overall, Philo delivered an excellent streaming experience and responsive interface during my hands-on evaluation. Next, let‘s dive into some pros and cons.
Philo Review – The Pros and Cons
Based on my in-depth evaluation, here are the main benefits and drawbacks of Philo‘s live TV service:
- Inexpensive at just $20 per month
- Includes unlimited Cloud DVR with 30-day storage
- Wide device support including Fire TV, Roku, iOS, Android
- Intuitive interface and streaming performance
- No contracts required
- No sports channels like ESPN offered
- Missing many regional sports networks
- Lacks local broadcast networks like ABC, CBS, NBC
- Premium channels like HBO and Showtime not available
- Limited to 3 concurrent streams
Philo is tailored specifically for those focused on top entertainment, lifestyle, and news channels. The lack of sports and locals are the main tradeoffs.
Next, let‘s dive into whether Philo provides good overall value.
Is Philo Worth It?
At just $20 per month, Philo might seem too good to be true. To determine if the pricing is worthwhile, let‘s consider some examples.
For instance, let‘s say you want to watch the following channels:
- Discovery Channel
- Food Network
- History Channel
- Paramount Network
If you were to get these channels from a traditional cable TV provider, you‘d likely pay $60+ per month once fees and equipment charges are factored in.
With Philo, you can get all of the above channels for only $20 per month. That‘s $40+ in savings each month!
Or let‘s say you currently subscribe to Netflix ($15/month) and Hulu ($7/month) totaling $22 per month.
By dropping both and switching to Philo, you spend about the same but now get 60+ live channels instead of only on-demand shows.
Bottom line – Philo provides tremendous value if you mainly care about top entertainment and lifestyle channels. The savings quickly add up compared to alternatives.
Next, let‘s conclude with my final verdict on Philo.
Is Philo the Best Live TV Streaming Service in 2022?
So is Philo 2022‘s top live TV streaming platform?
The answer is: it depends.
If sports, news, locals, and unlimited streams are critical, YouTube TV is a better choice despite higher pricing.
However, for cord cutters focused purely on entertainment and lifestyle programming, Philo can‘t be beaten at just $20 monthly.
You get a great channel lineup, solid streaming quality, and an excellent user experience. Add in the free trial and no contracts, and Philo delivers tremendous value.
Considering its competitive price and entertainment focus, Philo earns a 5/5 star rating from me. While it lacks some channels, the value is unmatched.
For budget-focused cord cutters not needing sports or locals, Philo is a top option for streaming live cable channels in 2022 and beyond.