Philo TV: What It Is and How It Works

Philo TV for budget conscious cable cutters

You have lots of choices when it comes to streaming television shows. Only a few offer live television shows; most offer older programming. This article explains what you should know about Philo TV before you sign up.

What is Philo TV?

Philo TV is a live television streaming service that allows cord-cutters to watch some of the most popular cable channels without a cable subscription.

How Does Philo Work?

Philo features many of the most popular cable networks, like AMC, Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, and more. The service was originally marketed to budget-conscious college students, which makes it an attractive choice for cord-cutters looking to reduce their monthly television bills.

To use the service, you need to have a high-speed internet connection and a compatible device, like a computer, tablet, or smartphone. You can also use a streaming device, such as a Roku, to stream live television on your TV.

Philo TV vs Cable

The main difference between Philo TV and cable television is that Philo is extremely streamlined. There's only one package that gives you 60+ channels, and you can purchase channels like STARZ and EPIX as add-ons.

Unlike most cable services, Philo doesn't have local channels like ABC and CBS. The channel lineup is also relatively light in terms of news and sports, but it does include BBC World News and the Cheddar financial news network.

How to Sign up for Philo TV

Go to the Philo TV website, enter your phone number, and select Get Started. On the next screen, enter the code you receive via text message to start watching.

You can sign up for a Philo TV free trial without submitting your payment information. That means you won't be charged after the trial period ends unless you choose to upgrade. During the free trial period, Philo will contact you via text message or email with information about the signup process.

If you wish to continue your free trial, you will need to enter your billing information. This will complete the signup process. If you have any time remaining on your free trial at the time you finalize the process, you won't be charged until the trial ends.

Philo TV sign up page

Does Philo TV Have Local Channels?

The main weakness of Philo is that the service does not include local channels. It also lacks any dedicated sports channels. If local channels and sports are important factors to you, then the lower subscription fee offered by Philo may not be worth the trade-off.

Current Channel Lineup

Not sure if you will like Philo's channels? Take a look at this channel lineup list to see exactly what you'll get. This list is subject to change as Philo evolves.

How Many Shows Can You Watch at Once on Philo TV?

Most services limit the number of streams that you can watch at once. Philo places that limit at three streams, which means that you can watch up to three different shows, on three different devices, at the same time.

For example, you could watch a channel on your computer while someone else watches a different channel on a tablet, and a third person can watch on a Roku TV.

How Fast Does Your Internet Need to Be to Watch Philo TV?

Philo TV is designed to work with a wide range of internet speeds, and the quality of the picture will increase or decrease depending on how fast your connection is. Philo recommends the following speeds for the best viewing experience:

  • 1.5 Mbps+ to watch standard definition (SD) quality video.
  • 5.0 Mbps+ to watch high definition (HD) quality video.

Additional bandwidth is required to view more than one stream at a time.

Does Philo TV Offer a DVR?

Philo TV comes with a digital video recorder (DVR) feature that you can use to record live television. The DVR functionality has both strengths and weaknesses compared to other services.

Unlike most streaming services, there is no limit to how many shows you can record on Philo with your DVR. Many services place a limit on the number of hours you can record, or require an additional monthly fee for unlimited storage. With Philo TV, you can DVR as many shows as you want.

The downside to Philo's unlimited DVR feature is that your shows are only stored for 30 days. Whether or not you get around to watching a recorded show, it will disappear when the 30-day timer expires.

Does Philo TV Offer On-Demand Content?

Philo offers two different types of on-demand content, including episodes of many popular shows. To see whether or not Philo offers on-demand episodes of any given show, you can navigate to the profile of the show you are interested in and look for the video-on-demand (VOD) tag.

In addition to traditional on-demand episodes, Philo also has a 72-hour rewind feature. This is a feature that some streaming services offer that allows you to watch many shows on Philo up to 72 hours after they initially aired even if you forgot to DVR them.

Can You Rent Movies From Philo TV?

Philo does not offer video rentals. If you're interested in a no-frills live television streaming service, but you also want to rent movies from time to time, it might make sense to use Philo for live TV and supplement that with video rentals from a service like iTunes or Amazon.