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Philo vs WatchTV: Best Budget Live TV Service?

You don’t have to pay a lot to stream live TV, but picking the best budget service can make all the difference.

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When it comes to the price, Philo and WatchTV are two of the most affordable live TV streaming services around, but which is the best budget live TV service?

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That’s a question we’ll look to provide some insight on here. With both services aiming at the affordable market, it is important to get the most value you can from each dollar. Just because they are cheap services doesn’t mean the actual product has to be cheap as well.

In this guide, we’ll look to make sure you have all the necessary information you need to make the best decision for you. This includes briefly explaining what Philo and WatchTV are, as well as how much the two services cost, and what you get in return. Following this you’ll find a complete list of channels for both services along with a list of the channels missing from each service.

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In case you find neither of these services meet your streaming needs, you’ll also find a list of the most popular live TV streaming alternatives to both Philo and WatchTV.

If you would prefer to jump straight to a specific section, use the quick links below.

What is Philo?

Philo TV comparison

Philo is a live TV streaming service similar to AT&T TV NOW, Sling TV and Hulu Live TV. Where it is different to them is in its focus on being a low-cost option.

Unlike the other major live TV streaming services, Philo is aimed at those cord cutters who want to save as much money as possible, while still maintaining access to some live TV channels.

Philo is available on a number of devices through an app

Evidently, this does mean the actual channel lineup is impacted to some degree. By omitting certain channels, Philo is able to keep the price lower and pass those savings on to consumers.

Just like other live TV streaming services, Philo delivers content over the internet. It also does not require you to sign up for any lengthy contracts, or purchase any additional hardware. Philo can be accessed from an app or through the service’s website.

What is WatchTV?

AT&T WatchTV comparison

WatchTV is very similar to Philo. Again, this is another live TV streaming service that delivers live TV over the internet. It can also be accessed through a dedicated app or the website.

In addition, WatchTV is another low-cost option. In fact, it is one of the lowest costing services around, making it ideal for those that want to save as much as possible.

WatchTV also offers wide device support through an app

Like Philo, this also means WatchTV’s channel selection is limited compared to other services.

However, WatchTV is actually owned by AT&T and as a result, the company is able to populate the service with some additional channels that might cost you more through a different service.

How much is Philo?

Philo is a cheap live TV streaming service considering it only costs $20 per month.

Technically, Philo used to be even cheaper as it did previously offer a $16 plan. However, after some time the company eventually expanded the plans to include a $20 option. This plan was aimed at those looking to pay a little more for a few extra channels.

Since then, Philo removed the $16 plan completely, leaving new customers with no choice other than the $20 plan.

How much is WatchTV?

WatchTV is currently one of the cheapest live TV streaming services around. WatchTV charges only $15 per month for access.

Similar to Philo, WatchTV only offers one plan option. Those looking for more or less than what the WatchTV plan offers, will have to look elsewhere.

Unlike Philo, WatchTV has never offered any other plans. However, AT&T does have many other live TV streaming services, including AT&T TV NOW that consumers can choose from.

WatchTV has also never increased or changed the price of its plan. The WatchTV plan launched at $15 per month in 2018, and is still that price today.

Philo vs. WatchTV channel list

With both of these services being low-cost options, you might expect them both to suffer in the channel selection department. They do. However, you just might be surprised at the channels that are on offer considering both services do offer good value, based on the monthly price.

If you are just looking for access to the service with the most channels overall then Philo wins. Philo currently offers access to 58 channels in total. This compares to Watch TV’s 43 channels.

Philo and WatchTV live TV channels compared

PhiloWatchTV
A&E
AMC
American Heroes Channel
Animal Planet
Aspire
Audience
AXS TV
BBC America
BBC World News
BET
BET Her
Boomerang
Cartoon Network
Cheddar Business
Cheddar News
CleoTV
CMT
CNN
Comedy Central
Cooking Channel
Destination America
Discovery Channel
Discovery Family
Discovery Life
DIY
Food Network
FYI
GSN
Hallmark
Hallmark Drama
Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
Hello Labs
HGTV
History
HLN
IFC
Investigation Discovery
Law & Crime
Lifetime
Lifetime Movies
logo
Motor Trend
MTV
MTV Classic
MTV Live
MTV2
Nickelodeon
Nick Jr
Nick Toons
OWN
Paramount Network
PeopleTV
Revolt
Science
Sundance TV
Tastemade
Taylor Swift Now
TBS
TCM
Teen Nick
TLC
TNT
Travel
TruTV
TV Land
UP
Velocity
VH1
Viceland
WE TV

Philo channels missing from WatchTV

Considering Philo has quite a few more channels than WatchTV, it would be natural to assume it has all of the WatchTV channels and more. However, the table above highlights that’s not the case.

With WatchTV being owned by AT&T, and the company having plenty of channels to select from, WatchTV does come with a number of channels that you cannot currently get through Philo. These include Turner and WarnerMedia-owned channels.

Channels you get with WatchTV that you don’t get with Philo:

  • Audience
  • Boomerang
  • Cartoon Network
  • Hello Labs
  • HLN
  • Taylor Swift Now
  • TBS
  • TCM
  • TNT
  • TruTV
  • Velocity

WatchTV channels missing from AT&T TV NOW

Philo offers around 15 more channels than WatchTV. In addition, WatchTV has more than 10 channels that you can’t currently get from Philo.

Naturally, that has created quite the deficit between the two services, resulting in a significant number of Philo channels missing from WatchTV.

Channels you get with Philo that you don’t get with WatchTV:

  • American Heroes Channel
  • Aspire
  • AXS TV
  • BET Her
  • Cheddar Business
  • Cheddar News
  • CleoTV
  • CMT
  • Cooking Channel
  • Destination America
  • Discovery Family
  • Discovery Life
  • DIY
  • GSN
  • Hallmark Drama
  • Law & Crime
  • logo
  • Motor Trend
  • MTV Classic
  • MTV Live
  • Nick Jr
  • Paramount Network
  • PeopleTV
  • Science
  • Tastemade
  • Travel
  • UP

Additional features compared

With these being low-cost services, you might not be expecting much in the way of additional features.

Both Philo and WatchTV offer access to a library of on-demand content. In addition, Philo offers an unlimited cloud DVR while WatchTV offers no cloud DVR service.

Read more: Cloud DVR comparison

In terms of premium networks, only WatchTV provides you with the option to add channels. Philo does not offer anything in terms of add-ons, including additional channels.

WatchTV premium network options:

  • Cinemax
  • HBO
  • Showtime
  • Starz

Of course, just because you can subscribe doesn’t necessarily mean you should. This is especially true when it comes to WatchTV as the service appears to charge subscribers more for some of the premium networks than the premium networks charge themselves.

Tip: Those opting for WatchTV will save more each month by subscribing to any of the premium networks listed above directly.

Philo vs WatchTV: Best budget live TV service summary

Should you choose Philo or WatchTV?

Philo and WatchTV both have their own benefits and disadvantages.

For example, with Philo you get more channels overall and more features, including cloud DVR.

With WatchTV, you get some popular channels that you can’t get with Philo, including the option to add premium networks. In addition, WatchTV is the cheaper of the two services for a base subscription.

However, with all thing considered, including the price, Philo appears to be the better choice. The unlimited cloud DVR is a big win for Philo as WatchTV’s approach to live TV requires you to have to tune in when a show or movie is on. In many ways, that goes against the appeal of streaming and with no option to add cloud DVR, AT&T offers no choice to the consumer.

That said, WatchTV is still the cheaper option and $5 can go a long way in the streaming wold. For example, for $1 more than the cost of Philo each month, you can get a WatchTV subscription and a Hulu standard subscription.

Best Philo and WatchTV alternatives?

While Philo and WatchTV are two of the cheapest paid-for live TV streaming services, they are not the only ones.

Sling TV is $10 more than Philo and offers far more choices when it comes to customizing your experience. Of course, those customizations all cost as well, but that’s the point. With Sling TV you do get the option to change up the plan when you need to, without having to change services altogether.

Then again, if you want the most premium experience possible then any one of the other live TV services might be a better choice. Although you will see the base subscription price jump, and in come cases, considerably.

Most popular Philo and WatchTV alternatives:

To see how these other services compare to Philo and WatchTV on price, check out our constantly updated live TV streaming service price guide.

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

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