With its recent acquisition of Time Warner, AT&T has quickly become one of the largest telecommunications conglomerates in the country. So it should come as no surprise that the company has launched a new internet TV “skinny bundle”, in addition to DirecTV Now, which was launched by AT&T several years ago.
The question of WatchTV vs. Philo is a good one. WatchTV, the new skinny bundle from AT&T, seems to take aim directly at Philo customers — people who want some lifestyle and entertainment channels, but don’t care about sports or local channels.
In this article, we’ll discuss WatchTV vs. Philo, talk about a few of the details about each service, and what you need to know before choosing one or the other.
Overview – Understanding “Skinny Bundles” and Internet TV
If you’re considering WatchTV vs. Philo, it’s important to know what a “skinny bundle” internet TV service is. Both WatchTV and Philo fall into this category.
In an internet TV model, cable and broadcast networks provide their content and channels to independent companies, who “bundle” them together, and deliver them to customers directly through the internet. You don’t need a cable connection, satellite dish, or antenna.
Internet TV has a different pricing model than traditional TV, too. There are no long-term contracts. All major internet TV bundles like Philo and WatchTV let you choose month-to-month service, without any cancellation fees or service and equipment fees.
Internet TV is also quite a bit cheaper and more transparent when it comes to pricing. Philo is $16/month, and WatchTV is $15/month — that’s all you’ll pay. No extra fees.
Now that you understand some of the basics about internet TV, it’s time to discuss WatchTV vs. Philo, and help you find out which service may be better for cutting the cord and replacing cable.
Philo was originally built to deliver entertainment programming to college campuses. Today, it offers a streamlined set of channels for a very low price, and focuses on lifestyle and entertainment content.
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Philo lets you choose between a $16/month bundle with 37 channels, or a $20/month bundle with 46 channels. There is no sports programming or local news, or any broadcast networks like NBC, ABC, and Fox.
Instead, you get channels focused on comedy, DIY, “edu-tainment”, and entertainment, such as NickToons, DIY Network, AMC, Comedy Central, Discovery, Food Network, and more.
Philo is really cheap. For $16/month, you get a ton of channels for a great price. You also get pretty good features, like 3-device streaming and a DVR. This makes it easy to enjoy all of your favorite shows.
You won’t get any kind of sports programming or local news with Philo. Unless you’re only really into cable dramas and other entertainment programming, it might not be the right choice for you. The service also has limited on-demand options, so there are fewer films and TV shows to watch if you forget to DVR them.
It also only supports iOS and Roku at the moment, as well as web browsers, though more device support is incoming.
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WatchTV is a brand-new “skinny bundle” launched by AT&T after its successful merger with Time Warner. This service is actually quite similar to Philo, and can be seen as a lower-cost alternative to DirecTV Now, which has a larger number of channels and features — albeit at a higher price.
AT&T’s new service offers only a single subscription bundle that comes with 31 channels at launch, for $15/month. Like Philo, this “skinny bundle” doesn’t include sports or local broadcast affiliates — just entertainment channels like HGTV, History, IFC, TBS, AMC, and VICELAND.
WatchTV is now the cheapest “skinny bundle” on the market, undercutting Philo by $1 — which was likely intentional on the part of AT&T. And, despite being brand-new, it offers a streamlined viewer experience because it’s based off of DirecTV Now.
Not only that, it supports a very wide variety of devices natively, including both iOS and Android, alongside several others.
WatchTV has a very limited set of features. It also has fewer channels than Philo, though AT&T says more channels like MTV2 and Comedy Central are coming shortly after launch.
We also suspect that this service likely won’t stay too cheap for long. AT&T just hiked up their prices for their streaming internet TV bundles by $5 each. It’s likely that WatchTV will cost more in the near future, as well, after most people have tried it and signed up for a subscription.
Fact 1: Neither Service Offers Sports or Locals
Here’s the first fact about WatchTV vs. Philo: you won’t be able to watch any sports channels on either service, or watch your local NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, or CW affiliate networks.
This is why the services are so cheap. Sports and local networks are the most expensive channels to carry for internet TV services. By eschewing both of these, WatchTV and Philo can offer a much lower price to cord-cutters who don’t care about sports or local event coverage.
Fact 2: Philo Has a DVR – WatchTV Doesn’t
WatchTV has poor features. Actually, it may be more accurate to say that it doesn’t have any features.
You don’t get any kind of DVR with WatchTV, so you can’t record any of your favorite shows for later viewing. Every other Internet TV service, including AT&T’s own DirecTV Now, offers some kind of DVR for viewers.
Philo, in particular, has a really good DVR. You can record as many shows as you want for up to 30 days with no other restrictions. If you don’t watch much live TV and prefer to DVR, Philo is a much better option.
Fact 3: You Can Only Stream on One Device With WatchTV
Here’s the other big drawback of WatchTV. You can only stream on a single device at a time. That means that it’s impossible to share your subscription. If you’re watching TV, nobody else can.https://www.attwatchtv.com/
Again, Philo beats WatchTV easily here. You can stream on up to 3 devices at once for no additional charge. When it comes to simultaneous viewing, the question of WatchTV vs. Philo isn’t a question at all — Philo wins, hands-down.
Fact 4: AT&T Is Offering Deals on WatchTV for Mobile Customers
One of the big benefits of WatchTV is that it integrates well with your existing AT&T mobile subscriptions if you’re already a customer. You can save money by bundling WatchTV with your AT&T mobile subscriptions.
If you choose an AT&T Unlimited & More plan, which costs $70/month from AT&T, you’ll get two perks: free access to WatchTV, and a $15/month credit towards DirecTV Now service. This means that you can save on both of these “skinny bundle” internet TV services.
Fact 5: WatchTV Offers Premium Networks For Free – Philo Doesn’t Have Any
WatchTV is a much better choice for you if you’re interested in premium networks like HBO®, Cinemax, SHOWTIME® or STARZ®, or VRV. You can add these channels to your WatchTV subscription for an additional fee, based on which channels you choose.
In addition, AT&T Unlimited & More customers can choose one of these premium channels for free when they sign up for WatchTV, and according to AT&T, they will have the chance to pick a different channel at certain times throughout the year.
You can even choose different services like Amazon Music Unlimited or Pandora Premium with this free “premium” credit.
Philo does not offer any of these premium networks.
Fact 6: WatchTV is Available on More Platforms than Philo
Currently, the Philo app is only available for a few platforms, such as iOS, web browsers, and some Roku devices. There is still no native Android compatibility. Android users are forced to watch Philo on their web browser, which is not a great solution because of how clunky it is and the high battery drain.
In contrast, WatchTV has launched with a huge number of supported platforms, including iOS and Android, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, and web browsers. This makes it a much better choice if your favorite devices aren’t covered by Philo.
Fact 7: WatchTV Has Much Better On-Demand Programming
According to their website, Philo has a rotating list of about 1000 hours of on-demand programming. This isn’t bad, but WatchTV has a much better selection. According to their website, they offer on-demand streaming of more than 15,000 shows.
In addition, they add on-demand episodes of most major shows the day after they have aired. This means you can usually catch up on most of your favorite shows — despite the fact that WatchTV has no DVR.
Fact 8: You Can Try Both Services With a Free Trial
Both Philo and WatchTV offer a free 7-day trial. To get a free trial of WatchTV, simply head over to their website, enter your information, and give the service a shot.
To try Philo, you don’t even need to share your credit card details. Just go to their website now, sign up, and give it a try — risk-free — for a full week.
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What’s Better – WatchTV or Philo?
Now that you understand the differences between WatchTV vs. Philo, you may be wondering which service is right for your particular needs.
Well, there is no “right” answer. Really, it depends on your specific needs. Here are a couple of questions that you can ask yourself to find out which service is better for you.
Do you plan on sharing your account?
If you plan on sharing your account, Philo is a better choice for you. It has a DVR, so it’s easier for everyone to watch their favorite shows, even if they can’t view them live. In addition, you can stream on up to 3 devices at once with Philo, while WatchTV gives you only one. Philo is the clear winner in this regard.
Are you an AT&T subscriber?
If you’re already an AT&T subscriber, you may find that it’s cheaper to simply upgrade to the AT&T Unlimited & More plan for $70/month. You get WatchTV and a $15/month DirecTV Now service credit, which may be cheaper than it is to buy a Philo subscription.
If you’re not an AT&T subscriber, though, chances are that Philo is going to be the right choice for you. WatchTV still offers fewer channels and fewer features than Philo.
Do you need premium channels?
If you need premium channels and services like Showtime, HBO, and Starz, WatchTV is the obvious pick. You can’t add these channels onto your Philo subscription, so WatchTV wins by default.
Do you need sports or local TV content?
If you are a big sports fan or you like watching local news and coverage of local sports and events, neither Philo nor WatchTV are right for you.
If you want to get sports programming and local affiliate networks, though, you have a number of other “skinny bundles” to choose from, such as:
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- Sling TV – Sling TV starts at $25/month, and has plenty of sports programming and local networks, making it a low-cost choice. Check out our full review here, or get a free trial now with Sling.
- fuboTV – fuboTV costs $45/month but has dozens of channels dedicated to international sports like soccer, rugby, Formula One racing and more, as well as plenty of coverage of US sports. Get the details from our comprehensive review, or head over to fuboTV for your free 7-day trial.
- YouTube TV – YouTube TV is $40/month and includes plenty of entertainment channels, as well as sports and local affiliate channels in most markets. Take a look at this review for details.
- Hulu With Live TV – Hulu With Live TV includes more than 60 channels for $40/month, as well as a Hulu on-demand subscription. You can watch ESPN, Fox Sports, and more. Get more info here.
- PlayStation Vue – PlayStation Vue has four different streaming plans, starting at $40/month, which include plenty of family-friendly features as well as sports content and local affiliate networks. Check out our PlayStation Vue review for more.
- DirecTV Now – The “big brother” of WatchTV, DirecTV Now starts at $40 for the cheapest plan, and offers four different streaming plans. It has decent features, and one of the best lineups of channels of any internet TV skinny bundle. Take a look at our review to get more details.
If you really need sports or local FOX/NBC/CBS/ABC networks, these above choices are much better than both WatchTV and Philo — though they’ll be quite a bit more expensive.
Eric Liston is a content writer based in Columbus, Ohio. Since 2015, he’s been writing about technology, cord-cutting, and helping everyday people save money. He also has expertise writing about medicine, dentistry, insurance, and a variety of other industries. No matter what he’s writing, his focus is always on simplifying complex concepts and making them approachable for everyone. When he’s not slamming away on his keyboard at his home office, you’ll find Eric reading sci-fi novels, improving his disc golf game (he just hit his first 400-foot drive) and playing video games on his gaming PC.