Cord cutting is becoming more popular as the cost of cable continues to skyrocket. The average cost of a cable bill is over $100, and more Americans than ever are deciding to cancel their pay TV service, instead of paying high monthly fees.
But while canceling cable is a great way to save some money, you risk missing out on some of your favorite live TV shows. That’s where internet TV providers like Philo and DirecTV Stream come in.
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An Overview Of Philo & DirecTV Stream
Both Philo and DirecTV Stream are internet TV services that let you subscribe to channels such as ESPN, Fox Sports and TNT without a cable or satellite subscription. Rather than requiring you to use any special equipment or hardware, you can simply subscribe to either package, and watch your content on any supported, internet-connected device – such as a phone, computer, or Roku.
Internet TV is popular with “cord-cutters,” because it’s free of the contracts, fees, and confusing pricing structure of traditional pay TV services from cable companies and satellite TV companies. You can always cancel your subscription at any time, and try out any service you want.
Now that you know the basics about both Philo and DirecTV Stream, let’s dive into some of the specifics about each service. Then, we’ll compare a few different aspects of each service, and help you understand which one is right for you.
Philo got its start on college campuses, and focuses on providing entertainment, lifestyle and educational channels at a very low price. As of writing, it’s one of the cheapest internet TV services out there, at just $25/month for about 60 channels. It’s a skinny bundle service that focuses on providing the most possible channels for the lowest possible price.
7-day free trial
Starz and Epix add-ons
3 simultaneous streams
The biggest selling point of Philo is its price. It is, by far, the cheapest internet TV service on the market. Its nearest competitor is Sling TV, which costs $35/month for the the Blue package (45+ channels) or the Orange package (30+ channels). When it comes to pure value for your dollar, it’s hard to beat Philo.
It also has pretty good features. You can save unlimited shows with its DVR, and watch on up to 3 devices at once. And while device support used to be pretty bad for Philo when it launched, it has improved dramatically in recent years.
The biggest weakness of Philo is that it lacks much channel variety. You won’t get much news programming, and you do not get any sports coverage. Unless you like cooking shows, documentaries, comedy, and some cable dramas, Philo is probably not for you.
You also won’t be able to watch any local channels on Philo. However, this is not a huge deal, as you can always use a cable antenna to get OTA TV, and watch networks like ABC, FOX, CBS, NBC and The CW, among others.
Free 7-day TrialTry Free
DirecTV Stream is the new name of AT&T TV, after it was sold by AT&T in early 2021. It offers a total of four different channel packages. And while it has plenty of options and channels, it is definitely the priciest internet TV service on the market at the moment.
The base-tier packages are relatively affordable, but some of the more expensive packages cost more than most traditional satellite and cable packages.
7-day free trial
3 simultaneous streams
500 hours of DVR space
Add-ons like HBO and Showtime
7-day free trial
3 simultaneous streams
500 hours of DVR space
HBO Max Included
DirecTV Stream does have some standout features. It has a pretty good on-demand library, for example, with recently-aired shows, past seasons and some movies from most of the cable channels included in your package.
You can also upgrade your DVR to store unlimited content for a $10/month fee, though by default you’re just limited to 20 hours of content storage. You can also stream on up to 20 devices at once on your home network, which is an unbelievably high limit. Even the largest families and households won’t have issues streaming on all of their devices.
You’ll also get plenty of top cable channels. This includes sports networks like ESPN, VH1, Viceland, and BET for reality TV, cable networks like FX, AMC, and A&E, and even news coverage from CNN. With multiple package upgrades available, you can get all the channels you need.
It also has good device support, and supports lots of “TV Everywhere” logins that lets you log into cable network websites and watch live and on-demand TV. Learn more here.
The biggest downside of DirecTV Stream is its price. When this service started its life as DirecTV Now in 2016, the cheapest package cost $35/month for 60+ channels. It was actually one of the cheapest options out there. But times have changed.
Today, the cheapest package starts at $69.99/month for 45+ channels, and the most expensive “Ultimate” package tops out at $139.9/month for 140+ channels. That makes DirecTV Stream the most expensive internet TV service on the market today, bar none.
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Fact 1: Philo Doesn’t Have Any Sports Coverage
Philo’s low price is due to two primary factors. The first is that it eschews any kind of sports coverage. You won’t get any kind of sports programming on Philo at all – no ESPN, Fox Sports, NBCSN, or any other sports channels.
As a cost-cutting move, this makes sense. ESPN is one of the most expensive channels for cable companies to carry, due to the cost of licensing major league games. If you don’t like sports and want a cheap cable bundle, Philo may be right for you.
DirecTV Stream is a much better choice for sports fans. You get ESPN, and ESPN2 with the cheapest $69.99/month subscription, as well as Fox Sports 1, NBCSN, and some other networks like TNT and TBS which often show MLB and NBA games.
Fact 2: Philo Doesn’t Have Any “Big Four” Local Broadcast Channels
The “Big Four” channels refer to ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC. This is the second factor that makes Philo so inexpensive. Licensing and running broadcast networks on an internet TV service can be quite expensive and difficult, so Philo has opted to avoid doing this altogether.
To get around this, you can set up an OTA antenna and a TV tuner to get all four of these networks – and many more – without cable, for free. Take a look at this guide to learn how.
DirecTV Stream does offer FOX, ABC, CBS, and NBC to viewers. However, not all of these channels are available in every geographic location, due to the difficulty of licensing with individual network providers.
Fact 3: DirecTV Stream Offers Many More Channels
Even the cheapest “Entertainment” package for DirecTV Stream offers 65+ channels. You can upgrade all the way to the “Premier” package which gives you 140+ channels for $139.99/ month. It even comes with some premiums like HBO Max and Cinemax.
If you watch a lot of TV, and you tend to watch more than just a few different channels, DirecTV Stream is almost certainly going to be a better choice for you. With a higher-tier package, you can flip channels all day without running out of things to watch.
Fact 4: You Can Get Premium Channels With Both Services, But DirecTV Stream Has More
In the past, one of Philo’s weak points was its lack of premium channel add-ons. But recently, they started offering add-ons for some top premium channels like STARZ, Epix, Cinemoi, Reelz, MGM HD, and more.
However, DirecTV Stream still has a higher number of premium channels available. That makes it a better choice as long as you’ve got the budget for some premium add-ons. You can get HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, Starz, Epix, ActionMax, and more.
Fact 5: Philo Has A Great DVR, But DirecTV Stream’s Is Better (For A Price)
Despite its low cost, Philo gives you a pretty good DVR. You can record and watch as many shows as you want for up to 28 days, after which your oldest recordings will be automatically deleted. If you record a lot of TV, Philo’s DVR won’t disappoint.
By default, this blows the DirecTV Stream DVR out of the water. You can record 20 hours of content, with a limit of 10 episodes per TV series, and your recordings are deleted after 90 days.
But if you pay $10/month for an upgraded DVR, DirecTV Stream gives you unlimited storage space. You are still limited to 30 episodes per series, and 90 days until your recordings are deleted. But until then, you can record truly unlimited content.
Fact 6: DirecTV Stream Has More Simultaneous Streams
In the past, Philo had DirecTV Stream beat when it came to simultaneous streams, thanks to its 3-device limit. But recently, DirecTV Stream boosted its simultaneous streaming policy to support a jaw-dropping 20 devices at once. No, that’s not a typo. You can stream on up to 20 devices at once on your home network.
While 3 streams will be plenty for most people, its generous streaming limit may make DirecTV Stream a better choice for large households, especially if you and your family watch a lot of TV.
Fact 7: DirecTV Stream Has More TV Everywhere Support
Since its packages are available with more channels and it’s a well-known service, DirecTV Stream lets you log into more than 100+ cable networks and watch live and on-demand TV with TV Everywhere. You can see a full list here.
Fact 8: Device Support For Both Services Is Similar
In the past, DirecTV Stream had Philo beat when it came to device support. However, Philo has made great strides in implementing support for new streaming devices, so they’re quite similar in 2020. Both services support:
- Amazon Fire devices
- Apple TV
- iOS and Android
- Web browsers
The main difference is that, while DirecTV Stream supports some Samsung smart TVs, Philo doesn’t. Broadly speaking, device support is identical for the most commonly-used mobile and living room devices.
Fact 9: DirecTV Stream No Longer Offers A Free 7-Day Trial Offering Free 7 Day Trials
In the past, DirecTV Stream and Philo both had free 7-day trials, so you could try out each service and see which one was right for you. But DirecTV Stream no longer has a free 7-day trial. Philo does, though, so you can click here to sign up and see if it’s right for you.
Remember, though, there are no contracts for streaming services like DirecTV Stream. You can pay for one month, try it out, and then cancel with no penalty if you don’t like it. So if you want to try it out, just click here to sign up and see if it’s right for you. so you could try it out for free and see if you
Philo Vs. DirecTV Stream: Which Is Better?
Well, it all comes down to the kind of content you want to watch. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself in order to decide which service may be right for you.
Do you need sports, news, and local coverage?
If you need local coverage of live events, news coverage, and sports programming, Philo won’t be right for you. You can augment Philo with an OTA TV antenna for local networks, but you’ll still miss out on prime sports networks like ESPN and Fox Sports, and cable news networks like CNN.
DirecTV Stream is a much better choice if sports, local shows, and news coverage are very important to you.
Are you looking to save money?
Philo is definitely the cheapest way to watch live TV. No other streaming service even comes close. If Philo offers most of the channels you want, it may be worth subscribing just to save money.
Still, though, even DirecTV Stream is cheaper than cable. Whichever option you choose, you’ll still save quite a bit of money compared to a traditional cable subscription.