Sling TV vs. Philo: What's the Difference?

Get Sling TV for variety or Philo to stay frugal

Both Sling TV and Philo give you an opportunity to get access to cable TV stations at a fraction of the cost you pay for your cable TV package. They offer many of the same stations, but you'll pay much less if you go with Philo.

With that savings comes a number of tradeoffs, including fewer channels, no sports or news, and fewer devices and services that let you access the service.

Logos of Sling TV and Philo

Overall Findings

Sling TV
  • Over 50 channels.

  • News and sports access.

  • Wide variety of options.

  • Almost twice as expensive.

Philo
  • Over 60 channels.

  • No news or sports.

  • Only one plan for everyone.

  • The frugal option.

The biggest difference between Sling TV and Philo, aside from the higher price for Sling TV, is the flexibility. Sling TV offers two plans with a different mix of channels tailored tailored for people who prefer ESPN (Orange) to NBC Sports or Fox Sports (Blue), and if you want access to lifestyle channels like USA, TLC, or BET (Blue).

With Philo, you're stuck with only the offered channels, and there are no major news streams (ABC, NBC, or Fox) channels, nor are there any sports channels available.

You can also access Sling TV from nearly twice as many streaming devices and apps than using Philo, although both offer casting to the very popular Chromecast device.

Content: Sling TV Has Much More Content

Sling TV
  • More expensive.

  • Several packages available.

  • Includes news and sports.

  • Past content available on-demand.

Philo
  • Less expensive.

  • Only one package available.

  • Fewer channels than Sling TV.

  • On-demand content available.

Philo offers an impressive 60 channels, including A&E, several Discovery channels, MTV, Comedy Central, and more. Most of these are focused on entertainment. Don't expect any major news networks like ABC, NBC, or CBS. There are also no sports networks included. Unfortunately, these are more commonly the networks people want access to when they decide to cut cable TV entirely.

You won't find any original content on Philo like you do on Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu. However, Philo has partnered with TV Everywhere so that you can use any TV Everywhere apps to purchase on-demand content.

Sling offers several packages in an effort to let users "customize" their TV watching experience.

  • Sling Orange: Includes sports via ESPN and 32 live channels like TNT, TBS, AMC, and even news channels like CNN.
  • Sling Blue: Live sports via NBC Sports and just over 50 live channels almost identical to Orange plus extras.

If you browse the two offerings and can't decide, you can also buy the Orange + Blue package at a discounted price.

You'll find mostly the same channels on Philo and Sling TV, except Sling TV includes local channels like NBC, FOX, CBS, and more.

Features: Philo Offers More Services for Less

Sling TV
  • Includes Cloud DVR.

  • From 10 to 50 hrs DVR storage based on plan.

  • Watch one to four streams at once based on plan.

Philo
  • Includes Cloud DVR.

  • Unlimited DVR storage.

  • Record or watch three streams.

Philo includes a cloud DVR service with unlimited storage. Anything you save in your DVR cloud account will stay there for 30 days. This makes it easy to build a great library of shows or movies you don't want to miss, and leaves you plenty of time to watch your content.

Sling TV also includes a Cloud DVR service, where you can record up to 10 hours of content for free. Or you can upgrade to 50 hours for $5 extra per month. You can only stream or record one stream at a time with the Orange plan, or up to three at a time with the Blue plan. If you upgrade to Orange + Blue, you get four simultaneous streams.

Both Sling TV and Philo recommends having at least 5 Mbps available for quality, non-buffering streaming from their services.

Accessibility: Browsing Experience Roughly the Same

Sling TV
  • Dark theme interface.

  • Supported by major streaming devices.

  • Easy to browse.

Philo
  • Dark theme interface.

  • Supported by a handful of streaming devices.

  • Easy to browse.

You can access Philo on streaming devices like Roku or the Amazon Fire TV Stick. Philo uses a dark theme that's easier on the eyes in a dark room, and it's very easy to browse available shows and view full descriptions by holding down the OK button. Other devices that support Philo include Android TV, Apple TV, and iOS devices. You can also cast content from Philo to your Chromecast.

Sling TV is accessible on many more streaming devices and services than Philo. These include all the same devices as Philo, but also LG and Samsung streaming devices, Xbox One TiVo, and even Oculus. Sling TV's interface looks a lot like Netflix with its cable TV grid. It also has a dark theme so it's easy on the eyes like Philo. You can also choose your favorite channels or shows, and includes an On Now section for shows that are currently on the air.

Cost: Philo Is Far More Budget-Friendly

Sling TV
  • Two $30/mo plans or full $45/mo package.

  • Variety of add-on packages.

  • 3 day free trial.

Philo
  • One $20/mo plan.

  • Two basic add-ons.

  • 7 day free trial.

Philo's live TV streaming service comes with one fixed monthly $20 price. However, there are a couple of add-ons available, including EPX for $6 per month, and STARZ for $9 per month. There's also a 7 day free trial so you can check out the content to see if it's what you want.

Sling TV offers both the Orange and the Blue plans for $30 a month, with a few add-ons for things like extended DVR streaming ($5), extra channels (varies by deal), Sports, Comedy, or Kids channels—or get all extras in one additional $20/mo package.

Final Verdict: Philo for Value, Sling TV for Variety

If you're looking for a wider selection of channel and content options, you'll probably be disappointed with Philo. This is especially true if you watch a lot of news or sports. Sling TV is truly built as a replacement for Cable TV, while Philo is more of a "money's-tight" option when you really need to slash your bills.

If you can afford the $30 extra for a Sling TV account, you won't be disappointed. It offers enough live TV and add-ons that you'll never run out of something to watch. However, if you do need to settle for Philo, you'll at least enjoy unlimited DVR recording and enough channels so that everyone in the family should be able to find something to watch, without breaking the bank.