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Philo vs Sling: What’s the Difference & Which Is Best?

Philo and Sling TV are affordable live TV streaming services compared to others, and each comes with its own selling points and downsides.

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Philo and Sling both offer access to affordable live TV packages, but there are some fundamental differences between the two services. Taking into account the difference in price, channel lineups, and the general experience, it is possible to decide which service is best for an individual or household.

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Philo has been around for a number of years, but it wasn’t until 2017 when it launched its first-ever live TV streaming service. From the beginning, Philo has placed a major focus on being an affordable solution. While this approach has impacted on the channel lineup to a degree, as well as the ability to customize a plan, Philo remains a highly competitive service when it comes to the price.

Sling TV launched its first live TV service even earlier, in 2015, making it one of the oldest live TV streaming services around. Like Philo, Sling has also placed its focus on price, by looking to offer the channels a consumer wants most, at the expense of the number of channels overall. Unlike Philo, however, subscribers to Sling TV have far more options to customize the experience, as long as they are willing to pay more.

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Philo is cheaper, but Sling offers more choice

With both Philo and Sling TV so highly focused on affordability, they are ideal services to compare against one another on channels and the general experience. However, the prices are not identical and that alone might be enough of a difference to push some consumers towards Philo.

At just $25 per month, Philo is the cheaper option overall. In contrast Sling TV’s cheapest plan is $35. In fact, Sling TV offers two main plan options, Sling Orange and Sling Blue. While there are differences between the Orange and Blue plans, including the channel lineups, they are both priced the same. Therefore, anyone signing up to a Sling TV plan will be paying a minimum of $10 more than they would with Philo’s plan. If price alone matter, then Philo is going to be the better option.

However, one of the other fundamental differences is the ability to customize a plan. Not only does Philo only offer one plan, but there are almost no options to adjust the plan to better suit the needs of the individual or household. While adding Epix or Starz is the only choices Philo subscribers have, Sling TV is a highly customizable service that offers the option to significantly increase the number of channels, albeit with the price rising accordingly.

Philo and Sling channels compared

If price is less of a concern and an individual or household simply wants to ensure they have access to all the channels they need, then Sling TV is likely to be the better option overall. Of course, this is dependent on the individual channel requirements of the consumer.

Technically, and in spite of the lower starting price, Philo offers more channels. In total, a $25 Philo subscription currently comes with access to more than 60 channels. In comparison, the Sling Blue plan is limited to around 45 channels while Sling Orange comes with even fewer. Therefore, if the Philo channel lineup already has all the channels an individual or household wants access to, then Philo is not only the cheaper option, but the better one as well.

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ChannelSling BlueSling OrangePhilo
A&E
AccuWeather Network
AMC
American Heroes Channel
Animal Planet
aspireTV
AXS TV
BBC America
BBC World News
BET
BET Her
Bloomberg Television
Bravo
Cartoon Network
Cheddar
CLEO TV
CMT
CNN
Comedy Central
Comet
Cooking Channel
Crackle
Crime + Investigation
Destination America
Discovery Channel
Discovery Family
Discovery Life
Disney Channel
DIY Network
E!
EPIX Drive-In
ESPN
ESPN 2
ESPN 3
Fox
Fox News
Fox Sports 1
Food Network
Freeform
Fuse
FX
FYI
Game Show Network
getTV
Great American Country
Hallmark Channel
Hallmark Drama
Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
HGTV
History
HLN
IFC
INSP
Investigation Discovery
Law&Crime
Lifetime
LMN
Local Now
Logo
Motor Trend
MSNBC
MTV
MTV Classic
MTV Live
MTV2
National Geographic
NBC
NBCSN
Newsy
NFL Network
Nick Jr.
Nickelodeon
Nicktoons
Oprah Winfrey Network
Paramount Network
PeopleTV
Revry
REVOLT
Science Channel
Stadium
Sundance TV
SYFY
Tastemade
TBS
TeenNick
TLC
TNT
TLC
Travel Channel
truTV
TV Land
TV One
UPtv
USA
VH1
Vice
WE tv

Although Philo comes with a greater number of channels overall, there are some major differences in the channel lineups, with the two Sling plans including a number of popular channels that Philo doesn’t. This is the common problem with Philo, as it simply does not include many of the channels households might expect to be included with a live TV plan. Again, if those channels are not that important, then Philo is the better option. However, if they are, then Philo might not be the right live TV service.

Adding to this problem, Philo doesn’t offer any option to expand the channel lineup. Due to this, whatever’s missing from the $25 plan will stay missing, unless the service adds the channel in the future. In contrast, the two Sling TV plans not only include the channels listed above, but it also allows subscribers to add more channels to each plan through the use of add-ons.

These add-ons vary in price between $6 and $11 per month on top of the base subscription, and are typically grouped together. For example, a selection of additional entertainment channels through the Entertainment add-on. While they do increase the cost, and especially if all of them are added to a Sling Orange or Blue plan, subscribers at least have the choice. Philo subscribers have no choice, with the channels included in the $25 plan, all the channels available through Philo, outside of Epiz and Starz.

How the experiences compare

Besides the price and the channel lineups, there are also some additional areas that are likely to impact on the decision. Generally speaking, the interfaces are very different, but this is something’s that’s likely to be more subjective. While some will prefer the cleaner look and design of Philo, others might prefer the more inclusive Sling TV design.

What’s less subjective, however, is the DVR. Both services offer subscribers access to a cloud DVR for recordings at no additional cost. With Philo, subscribers get access to an unlimited cloud DVR, allowing them to record as many show episodes and movies as they want. Furthermore, recordings remain available for up to one year. In comparison, Sling TV only provides 50 hours of cloud DVR, but recordings are indefinite, or until the DVR is full and space is needed for new ones. Sling TV does also offer the option to pay extra each month to boost the cloud DVR limit to 200 hours. However, 200 hours is the ultimate limit, with no unlimited option available, even to those willing to pay more.

Like cloud DVR, both services also allow subscribers to stream on multiple devices at the same time. This will be all the more important for busier households where more than one person is likely to watch on different devices. Sling Blue and Philo allow subscribers to stream on up to three devices at the same time, while Sling Orange subscribers are limited to just one simultaneous stream.

When it comes to these additional factors, both Philo and Sling have their advantages and disadvantages, making neither service better overall. If more than one simultaneous stream is important, then Sling Orange is not going to be an option. While Sling Blue and Philo both offer the same number of streams, they both compromise on recordings. Philo offers the option to record as much as the user wants, but will delete recordings after only one year. In contrast, Sling TV recordings remain available permanently, but the space is limited to just 50 hours, unless paying extra to upgrade to 200 hours.

Philo vs Sling summary

Philo and Sling TV are both affordable live TV streaming services and especially when compared to the cost of other live TV streaming plans. However, Philo and Sling do differ on price, channels, customization and DVR. For those simply looking for the cheapest way to watch live TV, then Philo is going to be the better option. At just $25 per month, it is cheaper than Sling and comes with more channels overall. In addition, Philo also allows subscribers to record more episodes and movies than Sling, which is likely to be of even greater benefit to busy households.

For individuals or households looking for a greater selection of popular channels, or the ability to customize the lineup further than what’s includes with the base plans, Sling TV is going to be the better option. Likewise, any households wanting to keep recordings for as long as they need will find Sling TV’s DVR more accommodating.

While these are not the only differences between Philo and Sling TV, they are likely to be the ones that matter the most. Weighing up the differences in the channel lineups, the recording experience, and the ability to stream on different devices at the same time, should make it easier to decide whether Philo or Sling is the right live TV service to go with.

Read more: Best Live TV Service for Cloud DVR & Recordings?

By John Finn

John started Streaming Clarity to help consumers navigate the live TV streaming and subscription service landscape. John has been writing about technology and TV-related services and devices since 2014 and believes the best streaming approach is to bounce between services as needed. Contact John via email at john@streamingclarity.com or on Twitter

11 replies on “Philo vs Sling: What’s the Difference & Which Is Best?”

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EXCELLENT INFO! Thanks so much. I cut cable 2 mos ago and I am at a loss. I miss live TV and dont care so much about the lineup hulu and prime video offers. Why do I have it then? Again, thank you, so far Philo looks good for this active senior.

If I was a company who is seeking the most paying customers, in this “CRAZY ECONOMY “…I would have 2 News Sources…meaning FOX…..CNN…it’s HURTING YOUR BOTTOM LINE

You might want to double check the number of channels available on Sling as well as the specific ones available because several that I have with Sling Blue are not listed. For example, Electric Now, all the OTA channels, Filmrise, Gravitas Films, & that includes few that are listed in your table as Philo only like Tastemade.
Sling has a bunch of channels that are streaming only so everything on them is on demand as opposed to airing at “X” pm. A few are free trials but many I have had for months. They’re not listed on Sling’s page but if you have Sling they’ll show up in your guide.

Where exactly they show up depends on the device you use to stream Sling. If I recall correctly f you’re using an xfinity Flex the trial ones (and maybe the stream/Internet only ones) show up between the network OTA channels and the cable channels. The only other device I’ve used for Sling is AirTV Player; on that device all the extra channels show up between the cable channels & the expanded OTA channels (like 5.2, 11.3, etc).

I get 7 network channels (8 if you count local OTA Fox & the national feed Fox), 46 cable channels in the blue lineup, & almost 50 of the expanded OTA channels (it’s actually more but that’s the number the antennae can consistently get a signal on). And I just counted to see how many of those extra channels there were between the included cable channels & the expanded OTA channels & there are 75 right now.

That’s over 175 channels & I’m missing a chunk because my antennae can’t see to get a a good enough signal for a few channels so I’m missing 16 channels on ABC, PBS, & CBS.

I have Sling Blue, but get zero OTA channels. That may be market-specific. All the local network affiliates in my market are independently owned, so that may be a factor. I just use an outdoor antenna to get my locals free OTA. No subscription to any kind of service needed. I get over 50 channels OTA, including the sub-channels.

Look I’m not a fan of Sling, if fact I’m starting to hate them for their “improvements” make things worse and the price keeps going up.

However, this channel line up comparison is way off. I have sling Blue, and the list has several errors, and I’m not going through to correct all, but the list says Blue doesn’t have, BBC World News, Hallmark channels, yeah, IT DOES!

So please VERIFY your information so you can actually let people have an accurate comparison.

Hi Scott,

Thanks for your comment. BBC World News is currently only available with Sling Blue by adding the ‘News Extra’ add-on. Likewise, all of the Hallmark channels require the ‘Lifestyle Extra’ add-on.

The channel lists above are designed to show what you get with the base subscriptions. The section below the channel lists does also explain that some channels can be added to Sling through the various add-ons at an additional cost each month.

Hope this helps.

I have philo through current offer from tmobile home internet for discount of $15 per month, making it way better deal and tmobile also gives free Netflix, apple tv, and paramount us. So I’m enjoying philo and recommend it.

It’s a guarantee that, whenever you speak or write on a topic, someone will engage for the sole purpose of finding and exposing any perceived error. What must it be like to carry such a delicate ego? I found this article to be tremendously helpful and comprehensive with the side by side comparison I was looking for on these two services. Thank you.

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