Philo and Frndly TV are the two most affordable live TV streaming services on the market. But which one is right for you, and is either option a true cable replacement?
We have all the information you’ll need to help you choose between these alternatives to cable TV.
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Philo vs. Frndly TV: How Do They Compare?
When it comes to Philo vs. Frndly TV, which is better? More importantly, is either one worth the money? We’ve tested each service extensively, and both are terrific options for the right individual.
Before diving into the details, it’s important to note that neither of these video streaming services lets you watch local channels without cable. Additionally, neither will allow you to watch live sports without cable.
However, one or both could be a great way to watch your favorite shows for less money.
Frndly is a slim TV bundle that offers 40+ channels focusing on family-friendly, lifestyle, and entertainment content. There are three plans that range from $7.99 to $11.99 per month.
Philo has 70+ channels of live TV with more popular, well-known cable networks like A&E, AMC, and HGTV. It has just one plan for $25 per month.
Here’s how Frndly TV vs. Philo compare when it comes to plans and pricing, available channels, simultaneous streams, and cloud DVR storage.
|Basic - $7.99, Classic - $9.99, Premium - $11.99
|Number of channels
|Basic - 1, Classic - 2, Premium - 4
|Classic & Premium only - Unlimited
The most appealing feature of these affordable live TV packages is the monthly price. Philo has just one plan for $25 per month.
Frndly has three plans – Basic for $7.99 per month, Classic for $9.99 per month, and Premium for $11.99 per month.
All Frndly plans include live TV and some on-demand content. Basic lets you stream on one screen at a time in standard definition. There is no DVR option in the basic plan.
Classic lets you stream on two screens at once in high definition and includes an unlimited DVR. Your recordings are stored for three months.
The premium plan lets you stream on four screens at once. You can also keep DVR recordings for nine months.
This platform even offers an annual plan that gives you two months for free. Learn more in our Frndly review.
Price winner: Frndly TV, for having more options, all of which are less expensive than Philo
A free trial is an excellent way to see if the available channels, on-demand content, and features of a streaming service meet your needs before paying for it.
Both Philo and Frndly offer a seven-day free trial to new subscribers. Just remember to cancel before it ends if you choose not to keep the respective service. Otherwise, your credit card will get charged.
Free Trial winner: Tie
A lack of local networks and mainstream sports channels keep these services from being true alternatives to cable TV.
Both options carry A&E, History Channel, Game Show Network, Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Drama, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, INSP, and UPtv.
Unfortunately, Philo channels offer nothing for sports fans. Instead, its list of channels includes more than 70 popular lifestyle and entertainment networks.
There’s also some news from BBC, Bloomberg, and Cheddar.
Read more in our Philo review.
|American Heroes Channel
|Game Show Network
|BBC World News
|Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
|Law and Crime
|Heroes & Icons
Frndly TV channels are a little more niche than Philo’s channel lineup. The platform focuses on family-friendly, comfort-TV, and outdoor-oriented content.
|Family Movie Classics
|Game Show Network
|Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
|The HISTORY Channel
|The Weather Channel
|World Fishing Network
|Heroes & Icons
Pairing either option with an over-the-air antenna could give cord-cutters a low-priced satellite TV alternative.
Channel winner: Philo since it has a better selection of popular cable networks
Do Philo or Frndly TV Have Sports Channels?
Neither service has traditional sports channels. You won’t find ESPN or Fox Sports channels on Philo or Frndly TV.
Philo has MotorTrend, while Frndly has the Outdoor Channel, Sportsman Channel, and World Fishing Network.
However, not carrying regional sports networks or popular sports channels is how these platforms keep their costs low.
If you are looking for the best streaming services for live sports, Sling TV is the cheapest way to watch sports without cable.
Do Frndly TV and Philo Carry Local Networks?
Frndly and Philo do not include local channels. Cable and satellite TV providers want you to believe you need them for your locals. In reality, that’s not true.
The Mohu antenna is an excellent way to get all your locals without a cable package or an expensive live TV streaming service like YouTube TV.
You can use the code FRUGALRULES10 to receive ten percent off your purchase of a Mohu.
Additionally, Frndly is the best way to watch MeTV without an antenna or if it isn’t carried where you live.
Premium Channels and Add-Ons
Both services expand your options with add-on channel packages. Frndly offers Hallmark Movies Now for an extra $5.99 per month.
Philo offers three add-ons – EPIX ($6 per month), STARZ ($9 per month), and Movies & More ($3 per month).
|EPIX, EPIX Hits, EPIX2
|Movies & More
|Cinemoi, HDNet Movies, MGM HD, Reelz, Sony Movies
|STARZ, STARZ Encore, STARZ Kids & Family
Add-on channels winner: Philo, for offering three extra packages
*Related: If you need help finding a streaming service that meets your needs, take our free quiz to receive a personalized recommendation.
Which Service Has Better On-Demand Content?
While both Frndly and Philo offer on-demand content, Philo’s library is superior. With more channels, Philo has over 60,000 movies, shows, and specials to watch on demand.
Frndly, on the other hand, has more than 1,000 on-demand titles from the channels it offers.
Some titles air commercial-free, while others include ads.
On-demand winner: Philo because it has 60 times as much on-demand content as Frndly
Anyone who has used a streaming service before will be comfortable navigating these low-budget options. Both services have a cable-like grid guide and tabs into which content is organized.
You’ll see fewer options than more robust services. However, you’ll have a guide, an on-demand section, and a tab where your recordings are stored.
From Philo’s home screen, you’ll see promoted content followed by genre collections, shows you’ve recorded or set to record, trending live content, top movies, and other categories.
Selecting the guide reveals titles organized by channel. Even though the look is a little less traditional than a typical guide, you just have to scroll right to view what’s coming up.
You can click on anything to watch it and use the search bar to look up content by title or keyword.
Frndly’s home screen defaults to its guide. You can scroll right to see what’s coming up in the future, and clicking on any title launches it.
Across the top are other options, such as on-demand, my recordings, and settings. The search icon lets you look for anything by title.
One nice feature Frndly offers is its picture-in-picture view. It allows you to watch something in a small window while you continue to scroll through the guide.
See what it’s like to use each service in our video comparing the two.
Having tested both services extensively, we found that Philo has more of the features users expect from a streaming service.
Frndly’s low cost shows up in the limited options available through the user interface. While it’s cheaper, it may leave you wanting more.
Interface winner: Philo since it has more content and better controls
Who Has the Better Cloud DVR, Philo or Frndly TV?
Having a cloud DVR is a necessity for any live TV streaming service. Both options offer unlimited cloud DVRs, but you must sign up for the Classic or Premium plan to access this feature with Frndly.
However, Frndly does include a 72-hour lookback feature with all plans. This lets you watch any show that has aired live in the past three days.
With Philo, you can keep recordings for one year. Frndly’s Classic plan lets you keep recordings for three months, while Premium lets you store them for nine.
DVR winner: Philo, for storing recordings for one year
What are the Supported Devices?
In the Philo vs. Frndly TV debate, both are equal when it comes to compatible devices. Each is available pretty much everywhere, including:
- Web browser, Fire TV, Chromecast, Apple TV, Roku
- iOS/iPad, Android mobile devices, Fire tablets
- Samsung Smart TVs
You can even watch Philo through the TV Everywhere app.
Essentially, if you have a streaming media player, it likely works with either service.
Supported devices winner: Tie
How Many Simultaneous Streams Do the Services Offer?
A Philo subscription includes the ability to stream content on up to three screens at once and create up to ten separate user profiles.
With Frndly, the number of screens you can stream on simultaneously depends on which plan you choose.
- Basic = One screen
- Classic = Two screens
- Premium = Four screens
All Frndly plans include the ability to create one user profile.
Screens winner: Philo since it includes three screens
Which Service Has Parental Controls?
Neither Frndly nor Philo have parental controls.
Much of the content is already family-friendly, but you should keep viewing habits in mind if you have young children.
Do Either Philo or Frndly TV Have 4k Capability?
No, Philo and Frndly don’t have 4k content. Additionally, neither service supports Dolby Atmos or Dolby digital 5.1 surround sound.
Some of the more premium live services offer 4k or Dolby, but they often require an add-on to receive it.
What are Frndly TV and Philo’s Internet Speed Requirements?
Philo streams its live content in 720p, while on-demand content streams at 1080p. You should have at least seven megabytes per second in your internet speed to stream Philo without interruption or annoying buffering.
If you want to watch on two screens at once, you’ll need 14 Mbps. Three screens will require 21 Mbps.
Frndly adjusts its video quality based on the available internet speed connection. It recommends the following high-speed internet connection for optimum viewing:
- 1.5 Mbps for one standard definition stream
- 5.0 Mbps per high definition stream
The platform works best at lower speeds. A minimum of ten Mbps is recommended for viewing multiple streams at once.
|HD (1 TV)
|HD (2+ TVs)
|HD (1 TV)
|HD (2 TVs)
Read our guide on minimum internet speed requirements for streaming services to learn how Philo and Frndly compare to other platforms.
Which is Better, Philo or Frndly?
When it comes to which service is better, it depends on what you want to watch.
Overall, Philo is a superior service. It offers more channels, including a handful of popular cable networks and some news. Also, it delivers a better user experience.
However, if Frndly has the channels you want, you can save extra money by using it.
Neither platform offers sports or local channels. Pairing either service with an antenna is an affordable way to get a more complete TV package.
Since both services offer seven-day free trials for new users, you can try each option to find the one that best fits your needs.
Other Cable Alternatives
If you’re open to spending a little extra money, Sling TV offers additional channels, including sports. Packages start at $40 per month.
Learn more in our Sling review.
Live TV streaming services with locals and sports are pricier but offer everything in one place. Read our Hulu Live vs. YouTube TV guide to if you want a true cable replacement.
If you want to spend less money when watching your favorite shows, switch to a low-cost live TV streaming service.
Philo and Frndly are affordable choices if you can live without sports or local channels.
Know your options and use free trials to find the best way to watch your must-have channels for the lowest price.
What’s most important to you when choosing a live TV streaming service?
I’m Nicole Schmoll – a master’s-educated professional writer, mompreneur, and co-founder of Frugal Rules.
As a freelance copywriter in Omaha, I still believe that writing is an artistic expression. Every time I strike the keys, I intend to evoke a response from my listeners. I left my full-time career as a senior copywriter for an insurance agency to start my own freelance writing business.
I love watching and writing about TV (and how to stream it!)