On Tuesday, the online TV service Philo launched a new entertainment-only streaming bundle, which offers a base package of 37 non-sports cable channels for $16 a month. A tier offering 46 channels is also available for $20 per month.
There are pluses and minuses with the service, depending on your priorities. There are no sports channels, which saves money, But since the big media companies that own the major sports channels insist streaming services carry the sports networks in order to get their entertainment channels, there are some gaps in the lineup. Philo includes no broadcast channels, nothing owned by Disney, NBC, Fox or Turner. Which means you won't get a lot of major cable networks, ranging from FX and Syfy to TNT and USA. Also, since these media companies also own the three major cable news networks, none of those are available, either. Although you can watch BBC World News.
But the upside is that Philo is the only streaming service that offers both Viacom and Discovery-owned networks. You'll also find networks owned by Scripps Networks Interactive (which Discovery is in the process of purchasing), A+E Networks and AMC Networks, as well as some smaller independent networks. The five companies supplying programming are also Philo’s primary financial backers, together investing a total of $25 million.
Here's the lineup of channels available in the $16 a month basic tier:
BBC World News
The 46 channel package costs $20 per month and it includes all the channels listed above, along with:
American Heroes Channel
During its launch, Philo is offering a free seven day trial, with no credit card required at sign-up. But one caveat. The sign-up is a bit confusing. You can sign up for the free trial with just a mobile phone number. But after two days, you'll need to provide a credit card to receive the additional five days of the trial.
We'll have a fuller review of Philo coming later today, and hopefully answer some other questions, such as whether there's a storage limit to the cloud DVR and a Philo subscription supports any TV Everywhere authentication (which allows use to sign and use participating network apps.