Philo isn’t like Sling TV, Hulu with Live TV, DirecTV Now, PlayStation Vue, and YouTube TV. It doesn’t care about the thing Americans watch most: sports. Instead of being just another live television streaming service that offers most of what a traditional cable company does, Philo strips down to the basics.
This is for those who want entertainment and that alone.
You’re getting the essentials from Philo. It starts at $16 per month for thirty-seven channels, and you can pay an extra $4 to get an additional nine channels. Absolutely none of them, however, will bring you live sporting events.
Look no further than sports to understand why cable companies charge so much money for their services. Television contracts for the NFL, NBA, MLB, and other sports have ballooned over the years to the point where advertisers no longer cover the expenses. The media groups holding the rights to air all of the nation’s most popular sports pass that off to the cable companies in the form of subscriber fees, and then that gets incorporated into monthly bills.
Without sports on any of the channels it offers, Philo remains very affordable. It’s even cheaper than YouTube TV, which has been viewed as the low-cost option for anyone seeking to cut the cord.
A&E Networks, AMC Networks, Discovery Communications, Scripps Networks Interactive, and Viacom are backing this service. Together they’ve helped raise $25 million for Philo, and that’s why you see their cable channels comprising its lineup. Notably missing from Philo are local and cabel channels from The Walt Disney Company, 21st Century Fox, CBS, and NBCUniversal. Those media companies are heavily invested in sports.
Aside from missing sports, news, and local channels, Philo resembles others live TV streaming services. You can use it to watch live and on demand programming from iOS, Android, Roku, and web devices. It also has a cloud-based DVR to save every episode of your favorite shows for three days, and you can stream on up to three devices at one time.
The future is already being planned, too. Philo intends to integrate a social-based feature “that connects you with your friends and family to discover content, effortlessly share your favorite shows, and watch shows together.” So the goal is to turn Philo into a platform that both provides content and allows viewers to engage with each other.
Right now you can try Philo for free just by submitting your phone number. Once the seven-day run ends, you’ll be asked for a payment method to continue using it.