Quick Look: Philo is a streaming TV service for cord cutters that is focused on entertainment, lifestyle and knowledge programming, with no sports available. Channels are available primarily from A+E Networks, AMC Networks, Discovery, Scripps Networks, and Viacom, but no local channels are available.
Philo offers two channel packages: A 37-channel package ($16/month) that includes popular cable channels like A&E, AMC, Animal Planet, BET, CMT, Comedy Central, Discovery, Food Network, HGTV, Lifetime Movies, MTV, NICK, OWN, History, TLC, and more; and a 46-channel package ($20/month) that includes the same channels plus less-watched channels like American Heroes Channel, BET Her, Logo, and MTV Live. Visit philo.com for a current list of all available channels.
On Roku, the Philo home screen lists saved shows, "Trending Live" shows, and "New and Upcoming" shows. Scrolling up to the top of the screen will reveal four menu choices: The just-described home screen, "Live," "Saved," and "Search." The "Live" menu provides a limited and clunky user interface. Because of the use of large thumbnails, the screen shows only six shows at a time that are currently being broadcast, listed in order of the channel name. There is no traditional programming grid to show upcoming shows; in fact, I couldn't find any way at all to find listings of upcoming shows. Select a show from the currently-live list, then pressing and hold the OK button on your remote, gives you on-demand access to the last three days' of episodes for that show, but upcoming shows are not listed. Same with the search function - you'll find current and recent shows, but dates and times of upcoming shows are not shown. (A traditional programming grid is available when using Philo in web browsers, so hopefully this feature will be added to Roku in future updates.)
The service includes a 30-day cloud DVR with unlimited storage, but DVR functionality is limited. For TV series, you can only select to record all episodes - you cannot record single episodes or specify only new episodes. With unlimited storage, though, this shouldn't be problem, other than to clutter up your listing of saved shows.
To start using Philo, you'll need a mobile number with texting capability. The Philo website asks you for a mobile number and then texts a code that you must enter into the website. Once your site is created, you're told that you can watch for free for 48 hours. To activate Philo on your Roku device, you will need to go to philo.com/roku and following the linking instructions.
At the end of your 48-hour trial, you'll receive a text telling you that you can extend your trial by visiting the Philo website. When you sign back into your Philo account on the website, you'll be given the opportunity to extend your trial for another 4 days by selecting a package and entering your credit card information. If you don't cancel by the end of the extended trial period, you'll be billed monthly for price of the package you selected.
You can stream Philo on up to three different devices at one time. Currently, Roku is the only OTT media streaming device supported by Philo, but you can also stream in Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Safari web browsers, and using the Philo iOS app. The company's press release promises that an app is coming soon for "Android via Chrome."
Please note that, according to Roku, Inc. the following Roku models are supported: Roku Ultra (4660x, 4640x), Roku Streaming Stick+ (3810x), Roku Streaming Stick (3800x, 3600x), Roku Express (3900x, 3700x), Roku Express+ (3910x, 3710x), Roku Premiere+, Roku Premiere, Roku 4, Roku 3, Roku 2 (4210x). Philo expects to add support for more Roku devices in the future.
-- Information is current as of November 16, 2017
Developer's Channel Description: Watch TV with our free trial! AMC, A&E, BET, Comedy Central, Discovery, HGTV, Food Network, MTV, Nickelodeon, Viceland, VH1 & many more of your favorite channels at a price you can feel good about.
With more than 45 channels available, Philo has the TV you love in an app where you'll love watching it.
CHANNEL STORE CATEGORY: Movies & TV
FEES: Free trial, then $16.00/month for 37 channels or $20.00/month for 46 channels