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Philo Review: Best Plans for 2023

Entertainment abounds on this budget service, but it has some major blind spots.


Our verdict: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Philo is a live TV streaming service that has a lot to choose from in terms of entertainment channels, especially for its price point. But, unfortunately, it offers nothing in terms of sports, local content, and news channels.

Affordable live TV streaming serviceAds
Unlimited DVR storageNo sports or local channels
Oodles of entertainment channelsLimited on-demand series

One theme will persist through our Philo review: This service is a low-cost boon to users looking to keep up on their favorite, popular series like “Yellowstone” or “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Unfortunately, the low monthly price is indicative of a lack of variety in content — sports fans will undoubtedly find disappointment, and subscribers have very limited options for news coverage. If you demand entertainment and nothing else, however, there are few options more appealing than Philo, especially considering what you’ll spend.

Philo specs
Price Range$25 per month
Sports CoverageNo
Concurrent Streams3
DVR StorageUnlimited DVR storage –
content deleted after 30 days
On-Demand Movies and TV ShowsYes
Live TV StreamingYes
4K LivestreamingNo

Our experience with Philo

Philo user interface for Philo review

Interface experience

If you’ve used a streaming service in the past couple of years, you’ll have no problem navigating Philo’s interface. At the top of your home screen feed, you’ll find a ticker of trending content. Below that, you’ll find a grid menu with recommended content, top movies, and even more categories as you scroll downward. 

At the very top of your screen, you’ll see various pages to which you can navigate: your home page, a channel guide like you’d see with cable service, a page for the top playable content by channel, and a page for your saved shows. 

Using Philo is relatively simple thanks to how the content’s organized. If you can’t find what you’re looking for on your homepage, flipping to the guide page to find what you want is quick and easy. 

Content offerings

If you’re on the prowl for entertainment and entertainment alone, Philo has you taken care of. You’ll find offerings from every corner of the entertainment sphere in Philo’s channels list, including music networks like AXS TV, MTV, CMT, and VH1; true-crime channels like Crime + Investigation and Law & Crime; educational content like Smithsonian Channel, Science Channel, and Discovery Channel; and children’s networks like Nickelodeon, Nicktoons, and TeenNick — and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. 

Sports, however, are unavailable — not NFL, MLB, NHL, golf, tennis, soccer, or any college sports. News offerings are also quite slim since Philo offers only BBC America, BBC World News, VICE, and AccuWeather Network. Local networks are also notably absent.

If you’re tired of live TV, Philo offers a bunch of movies, both critically acclaimed and otherwise, for on-demand viewing housed in its add-on channels. You can find films like “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” alongside classics like “Les Misérables” and “The Godfather” — yes, parts one and two! The movies on offer did impress, but you might need one of the three movie add-on plans to find exactly what you’re looking for. Luckily, like the rest of Philo, the movie add-ons are pretty budget-friendly. None of the three costs more than $9 per month, and the cheapest runs only $3 monthly.

DVR and recording options

The DVR included works pretty well, once you figure out how to use it. Instead of a “record” button, Philo prompts you to “save” the shows and live content you want to watch later. If you stumble upon something you’ve been dying to watch mere moments before it ends, you can start it from the beginning without missing a beat.

Philo is impressive in that it offers unlimited storage — you can save as much content as you please, but be aware that it’s deleted from your “saved” tab after 30 days. Finding your recorded content is just slightly counterintuitive since once you access a saved show, Philo offers you every on-demand episode as well as the episode you recorded. When we recorded the fourth episode of Mike Judge’s “Beavis and Butt-Head,” for example, we were also offered the three episodes that preceded it.

Viewing experience and video quality

On-demand content streams in 1080p, while live TV can reach only 720p using Philo. Philo will automatically adjust your video quality to reflect the amount of bandwidth you have, but you can also adjust the quality between low, medium, and high settings if the auto setting doesn’t do it for you. The faster your internet connection and the better your Wi-Fi network set up, the more bandwidth you’ll have available for streaming, meaning you’ll get a higher-fidelity picture. 

Personalization and security

Unlike some streaming platforms, you won’t be able to implement any parental controls with Philo. You’re able to create up to 10 personalized profiles, and with the unlimited DVR storage Philo offers, you’ll never have to worry about someone in your home hogging all the room on the DVR.

Sports fans: Yay or nay?

Philo offers nothing for sports fans. If you need to keep current on your favorite team’s playoff run or just like watching top-tier athletes compete, you’ll have to go to another service. Once more, the old adage rings true: You get what you pay for. It seems $25 per month can only take you so far. 

How does Philo compare to other streaming services? 

Streaming ServiceCost per MonthSports CoverageAdsFree Trial
Hulu + Live TV$69.99+YesYesNo
FuboTV$74.99+ YesYesYes
Sling TV$40+YesYesNo

Philo is the lowest-cost live TV streaming service on the market — there are less expensive streaming services available, but they focus more on streaming on-demand content. What every other live TV streaming service has going for it is sports coverage — Philo is unique in that it is the only streaming service focused on live content that doesn’t offer any sports coverage. 

Since Philo focuses on entertainment content, it makes sense to compare it to Netflix. Philo offers a different selection of movies than Netflix and rarely offers a full series like Netflix does. If you prefer staying glued to your screen, binge-watching series after series, Philo won’t help with that. 

How to subscribe to Philo

  1. Open your browser and navigate to https://www.philo.com/login/signup.
  2. Enter your mobile number or email address. Philo will send you an access link. 
  3. Input the access code or click the link sent to your email address or mobile number. This automatically signs you in. 
  4. Select any desired add-on plans. 
  5. Accept the terms of service and enter your payment information. 
  6. Start your seven-day free trial. You won’t receive a charge until the end of the trial period but will incur charges monthly after your seven days. 

How to cancel my Philo subscription

  1. Click your profile icon in the top right corner.
  2. Select “Account.”
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the page and select “Cancel my subscription.”
  4. Confirm that you wish to cancel your subscription.

Is Philo worth it? 

As we said at the outset of our Philo review, for households that crave entertainment, Philo is an excellent option. If you live for news coverage, sports, and local channels, Philo will leave you wanting. The unlimited DVR storage is an excellent perk, even if Philo stores your recorded content for only 30 days — to be frank, if you wanted to watch it badly enough that you recorded it, 30 days is plenty of time, but it would be nice to keep a favorite movie for a rainy day. 


Is a Philo subscription worth buying?

Philo is worth getting if you’re looking for entertainment channels only but not if you’re in the market for news, sports, or local channels.

Is Philo getting more channels?

In January 2023, Philo added Smithsonian Channel and Pop TV. At this time, there is no update as to when the Philo channel list may be growing.

What streaming service is better than Philo?

For sports, news, and local channels, any live TV streaming service is better than Philo. For binging your favorite series, options like Netflix and Disney Plus will likely serve you better. For a low-cost, relatively focused list of live TV channels, however, Philo is hard to beat.

Philo Review- FAQ

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