Philo Review

8

Great

Price 9 out of 10

Interface 7.5 out of 10

Compatibility 9.2 out of 10

New Shows 8 out of 10

Philo is a live TV streaming service aimed at entertainment lovers who want a skinny bundle with just their favorite channels. With Philo, you can benefit from 50 channels for just $20 a month. Channels include major titles from Comedy Central, Discovery, MTV, Nickelodeon, AMC Networks, Hallmark, Viacom and more.

The single $20 plan includes channels such as Discovery Family, Nicktoons, Cooking Channel and Destination America to name but a few. If you’re not fussed about watching local and sports channels such as ESPN, FS1 and NBCSN, this is a cheap option for live TV with an entertainment focus.

Philo was formerly known as Tivli and was first launched at Harvard University in 2009. There are a number of notable investors in the company, such as Facebook co-founder Andrew McCollum and HBO. In January 2018, the service reported roughly 500,000 subscribers.

Originally, Philo was developed as a way to pick up TV signals and deliver them wirelessly to laptops to navigate the fact that the institution didn’t offer cable TV for students.

After raising several million between 2013 and 2015, Philo was able to launch a new OTT streaming service in 2017. This platform became available for use on TVs, computers, phones and tablets.

Initially, the platform only had channels from A&E Networks, Discovery, AMC Networks and the Viacom channels which are currently owned by ViacomCBS.

Pros and Cons

Pros

Unlimited Cloud DVR - Philo has unlimited DVR storage, and shows are available to watch for the following 30 days. If you start recording after tuning into a channel, the recording starts from the beginning of the program.

Simultaneous viewing - You can have three streams going at once with this service.

72 hour rewind - You can watch shows that you didn’t record for up to three days after they aired, making a lot of shows available which aren’t usually on demand.

Cons

No parental controls - There aren’t parental controls available with a Philo subscription.

Fewer channels. By its nature, Philo does not have as many streaming options as it is a skinny bundle.

Experience varies according to the device used. People have reported having a better time with the user interface on Apple TV compared to Roku.

Genres and channels

The channel range with Philo is extensive, and viewers can enjoy major channels which often come extra with other bundles. Available channels include:

  • A&E – Accident and emergency, crime shows and cop specials.
  • AMC – Theatrical programming and original content.
  • BET – Celebrity, fashion, music, entertainment and African-American news.
  • Bravo – Reality shows including multiple Real Housewives variants.
  • Cartoon Network – Children’s programs, ranging from action to comedy.
  • CNN – Get the latest in breaking news coverage and in-depth examination.
  • Comedy Central – All the best shows and series to make you laugh.
  • Discovery – Enjoy documentaries based around science, technology and history.
  • Disney Channel – The latest in programming from the TV and movie giant.
  • Disney Junior – Disney shows aimed at the younger child.
  • E! – Get up to date on the latest entertainment news and celebrity gossip.
  • ESPN – Find out the latest in the world of sports.
  • Food Network – Want to become a culinary genius? Start out here.
  • Fox News – Catch up on all of the news and events coverage you need to know about.
  • Freeform – Enjoy popular shows like Shadowhunters and Pretty Little Liars.
  • Hallmark – Make the most of holiday movies, romance specials and TV shows.
  • HGTV – Get inspiration from the latest trends in home decor and interior design.
  • History – Learn about key events, innovators and discoveries throughout time.
  • Investigation Discovery – Documentary shows examining a range of crimes.
  • Lifetime – Classic entertainment series and TV shows, plus original programs.
  • MTV – Get your music fix with the latest entertainment trends from the industry.
  • Nickelodeon – A range of fun and exciting childrens’ programming.
  • Syfy – The latest in science fiction, horror and comics.
  • TBS – Watch a range of shows, from wedding movies to Family Guy.
  • TLC – The best in reality show programming for your entertainment.
  • TNT – Whether it’s reality TV or action-packed movies, you’re spoilt for choice.
  • Travel Channel – Get some vacation inspiration with these dreamy destinations.
  • USA Network – Enjoy a range of reality TV and gripping series.
  • VH1 – Music videos, pop culture and reality TV.
  • WE TV – A hub for lifestyle and entertainment programs, mainly reality TV.

Top Philo shows and movies

Outside Source – A program which comes from the BBC Newsroom, gathering the biggest stories of the day using sources such as news wires, video feeds and social media.

Treehouse Masters – A series which focuses on a well-known treehouse designer and builder called Pete Nelson. He creates breathtaking homes and businesses in the episodes.

Stan Against Evil – A series combining comedy with horror, which sees a main character called Stan Miller give up his job after an angry outburst during his wife’s funeral before experiencing a new type of horror.

The Loud House – As the title suggests, the series focuses on the Loud household which comprises 11 children – 10 girls and 1 boy. Lincoln is the only boy and he’s faced with daily chaos.

RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars – A reality series which sees RuPaul invite previous contestants from Drag Race to compete again to win a place in the Drag Race Hall of Fame.

SpongeBob SquarePants – The classic cartoon featuring a yellow sponge who lives in a pineapple with his pet snail Gary. SpongeBob is located in the Pacific Ocean and is a fry cook at the Krusty Krab.

The Walking Dead – A dystopian drama which focuses on life in the time that follows after a zombie apocalypse. Survivors travel through danger constantly in order to find a secure home.

South Park – This show is not recommended for family viewing, as plenty of offensive themes feature while Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman navigate life in their small town.

Gold Rush – A reality show which has been airing since 2010. It focuses on how a depressed economy changes the way people live their lives and the new business citizens take on.

The Daily Show With Trevor Noah – The host takes on the show after being a contributor in 2014. He takes on the key issues of the day and manages to sell out comedy shows across the globe.

Streaming library

The web and desktop interface is best on Philo, while the mobile interface is less reliable. The channel guide is detailed, but the TV one is not as simple to navigate.

The app sometimes experiences some glitching issues, but the interface transfers between devices easily. The interface has three categories – Home, Live and Saved.

Unlike the browser version of the app, the mobile version does not have a channel guide. This guide also does not feature on the TV version, which can cause confusion.

To navigate the content library, the in-browser app is set up like a TV guide on cable subscriptions. If you select a show or movie, you’ll find that there is also content available to watch on demand.

Furthermore, favorite shows and movies can be saved. This marks the title to be recorded using Philo’s DVR feature, and you will be notified in the event of future broadcasts. Saved episodes are available to watch for a month, and there’s plenty more to watch besides.

Streaming quality

When it comes to technical specifications, Philo has video with a typical frame rate of 30 per second. The live delay is 25 seconds, and channel switching takes 4.5 seconds.

Philo has the ability to stream in HD resolution. Live TV will generally be in 720p, while on demand is typically 1080p. Meanwhile, audio is streamed using 2.0 stereo quality.

The quality of a user’s picture and audio will be automatically adjusted depending on their available bandwidth, always providing the best service possible.

Customer support

Philo has a help center which users can navigate to as a first port of call. The database comes with a search function, and also provides easy access to guides on Roku, Fire, Android, Apple and computer.

Popular articles include how to contact Philo, gaining a free Philo trial on Roku, Fire and Apple, and which devices are supported.

Those who want to get in touch with Philo and their customer support directly can try using the phone number, which is open between 10am and midnight ET.

Alternatively, there is a live chat open in the same hours. All users have to do is click on the chat widget in the lower left corner.

If all else fails, users can submit a request and have an email sent back as soon as possible.

Free trial

New Philo subscribers have the option to give the service a try before they buy. Those who sign up using their mobile number can sign up for a free trial, which lasts seven days.

After two days, the option to extend the trial to seven days will be sent, at which point a user will need to enter their payment information to proceed.

Those who are making use of a trial will be able to cancel at any time. Alternatively, they will be automatically put onto a paid subscription once the trial is over.

For a trial, users need to visit the Try Philo website and enter their mobile number. Then they will be emailed a link and clicking on the Confirm Sign-Up button is the final step to get them started.

Those who do not have a mobile number can sign up directly using their email address.

Plans and pricing

The cost for Philo is $20 a month. This means those who shell out this money every four weeks will gain access to over 59 channels, and appealing features.

Users will be able to stream on up to 3 services at any one time, removing any restrictions at home. Furthermore, TV Everywhere support is in place, so people can sign Into a number of channel websites using Philo as their TV provider.

There is a 30 day unlimited DVR in place, which will ease the pressure when it comes to deciding what to record.

In the past, Philo offered a plan at $16 a month as well as its $20 a month plan. While only the latter is now available, those who were signed up before this change can still access the cheaper plan.

Competitors

There are several competitors out there when it comes to skinny bundles, or even general live streaming options in the industry. The main shortfall with Philo is that it doesn’t offer extensive sports coverage, so if this is what you’re looking for, you may be better off with a plan from a provider such as fuboTV.

Alternatively, Sling TV has a similarly and competitively priced package which includes the sports channels Philo lacks, but you can only stream on one device at a time. Ultimately, if you want a skinny bundle with a focus on entertainment programming, Philo is a top choice.

Is Philo worth it?

Philo is an innovative new solution to streaming services pricing due to the fact it provides a skinny bundle with a focus on particular types of programming. If you spend most of your time watching entertainment and reality TV, then Philo could be the perfect choice for you.

You can watch a range of live and on demand programs, plus record titles that remain on file for a month. The TV Everywhere feature unlocks even more programs, and the ability to stream from multiple devices at once makes this service flexible for all the family. Overall, Philo is a strong choice for those who want a budget-friendly way to access all of their favorite entertainment channels.

FAQ

How to cancel my Philo subscription
  1. Log into your Philo account.
  2. Visit your Account page.
  3. Click on Cancel my account, which is located at the bottom of the page.
  4. Follow the instructions to complete the process.

You will be able to watch Philo until your current billing cycle is over.

How to login to my Philo account

  1. Tap on the Philo app to open it.
  2. Tap on the Sign In button.
  3. Enter your mobile number.
  4. Tap on the link which is texted to your phone.
  5. Confirm your sign-in device.
  6. Start streaming!
How to delete my watch history on Philo

It is possible for users to remove a show from the Keep Watching Row. There are slightly different instructions depending on the device they are using.

On Roku and Android TV, either hold the OK icon or select the episode tile. Then click Remove from list.

On Fire and Apple TV,  open the show and rewind it to the beginning. Then have it play for less than 15 seconds before clicking out of the player.

On Android and iOS, click and hold the episode tile before clicking on Remove.

On the Web, click on the bottom right hand corner of the episode tile. This will open the content modal, at which point you can click on Remove from list.

How to restart my Philo subscription later


Philo subscribers who want to cancel their subscription and begin it again in the future can simply go through the process to cancel their membership. Then they can go back later and sign in with their usual details. Clicking onto a membership plan will mean they can restart their subscription.

How to get a refund on Philo
?

When a user has signed up for a paid subscription, they will typically not be able to cancel their selection. Instead, they can cancel their subscription to avoid any further charges being made to their account as part of the billing cycle. If you believe you have been charged in error, you can submit a request on the Philo website.

Are there any good alternatives to Philo?

There are a number of streaming services out there that provide access to both live TV and on demand streaming. For example, Sling TV will provide a similar skinny bundle package which can be customised depending on content preferences. Users can go for Sling Orange or Sling Blue. Alternatively, they can combine the two and sign up for the Sling Orange + Sling Blue plan. The prices are reasonable considering the number of channels included with a subscription.

Can I use my Philo account in another country?

Those browsing in the US will be unable to navigate Philo outside of this location. As Philo is only licensed for use in the US, this means there are preventions in place in regard to streaming live TV in other parts of the world. However, Philo can be watched anywhere in the US.

How to sign up to Philo
  1. Navigate to the Philo website.
  2. Enter your mobile number or click on the option to enter your email address.
  3. Enter your payment information.
  4. Click on Subscribe Now.
  5. You will not be charged until your trial period is over.

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