If you’re a cord-cutter, then you have a lot of streaming services to consider. Philo and Hulu are two of your best streaming options. Though Hulu may be more recognizable than Philo, we’re very familiar with both — and we think you should be, too. Let’s take a look at each of these streaming services to help you determine which is best for your unique budget and viewing tastes.
Philo: An affordable live TV streaming service with plenty of entertainment and lifestyle channels.
- Reasonable price
- Wide array of network TV channels
- Unlimited cloud DVR storage (recordings last one year)
- Virtually no local, news, or sports channels
- No option to add HBO or SHOWTIME
Hulu: On-demand streaming with an optional live TV service that adds local, sports, news and movie channels
- Large on-demand content library
- Low price for on-demand version
- Hulu + Live TV bundle includes major networks, RSNs, and more
- Live TV package is pricey
- DVR storage beyond 50 hours costs extra
- Two-screen limit unless you pay extra
What's the Difference Between Hulu and Philo?
You may know Hulu as an on-demand streaming service. Like Netflix, Hulu offers a big library of movies and TV shows for you to watch on demand in exchange for a monthly fee.
Hulu also has another service called Hulu + Live TV. This live streaming version of Hulu is pricier. It includes access to live streams of network TV channels like AMC, FX, and TBS. (Hulu + Live TV also includes the on-demand content from regular old Hulu).
Philo isn’t much like Hulu’s on-demand service, but it’s a lot like Hulu + Live TV. Like Hulu + Live TV, Philo is a subscription service that gives you live TV networks online.
Philo is cheaper than Hulu + Live TV, but Hulu + Live TV has more channels — and more types of channels, including sports and news — than Philo does. Philo is missing a few key types of channels: local channels, sports channels, and news channels. This helps Philo keep prices low, but it also means that Hulu + Live TV’s selection is more comprehensive.
Philo’s cloud DVR lets you record as many shows as you want. You can watch an unlimited number of stored shows within one year of the recording date. Hulu’s cloud DVR is capped at 50 hours of recorded content. If you’d like more DVR storage hours, you can increase the capacity to 200 hours for an additional $9.99 per month.
If you’re looking for a streaming service that lets you stream on multiple devices at once, Philo is a solid choice. Philo lets you stream on three devices at the same time. Hulu limits customers to streaming content on two screens at the same time. If you want to stream on more than two screens at once, Hulu requires an additional $9.99 per month. (You can install Philo or Hulu on an unlimited number of devices — the “screen” limits are only about how many of those devices you can use to stream video at the same time.)
Hulu is supported on more devices and platforms than Philo, though both are available on our favorite platforms, Roku and Fire TV.
What Can I Watch on Hulu and Philo?
Hulu provides on-demand streaming and (if you pay extra) live TV networks. Philo is all about the live TV networks, though it does have some on-demand content pulled from previous TV broadcasts.
Philo provides 60+ channels. Hulu + Live TV provides 65+ channels. The main difference between Hulu + Live TV and Philo is that Philo’s cheaper bundle is missing certain types of channels. Philo has a robust lineup of entertainment and lifestyle channels, yet lacks sports, news, and local channels almost entirely (BBC World News is one of the few exceptions, but don’t expect channels like CNN or ESPN). Hulu + Live TV has a little bit of everything, with a selection that includes regional and national sports networks, movie channels, and news channels.
Hulu carries the top broadcast networks, including CBS, NBC, Fox and ABC, and offers live streams of local affiliates in most markets. Philo doesn’t carry any of these broadcast networks or their local affiliates. Hulu carries several premium channels such as Epix, Showtime and HBO in its add-on packages. Philo’s premium movie channels include Epix and Starz. Philo lacks sports channels. Hulu has those, including national sports channels like ESPN and (in select markets) regional sports networks.
You’ll want to consider the channel selections these services offer before you sign up. As an example, Hulu carries ESPN, FS1, NBCSN, MSNBC, CNN, Fox News and the top local broadcast networks. If your goal is to watch baseball, football, tennis, or golf without cable, then Hulu is the better bet. Philo has none of these sports or channels. Philo offers entertainment and lifestyle channels along with premium channels like Epix and Starz. Hulu offers both of the aforementioned movie channels as well as SHOWTIME and HBO for an additional monthly cost.
How Much Will You Spend on Hulu vs. Philo?
Philo has a big price advantage over Hulu + Live TV. As we explained in our Philo review, Philo’s low price makes it a no-brainer for anyone who doesn’t mind that the channel selection lacks sports, news, and local channels.
Philo costs $25 per month. You can add Epix, Epix Hits, and Epix2 for an additional $6 per month. Philo also provides the option of adding STARZ, STARZ Encore, and STARZ Kids & Family for $9 more per month. The Movies and More package adds another five movie channels for $3 more per month.
Hulu's plan pricing starts as low as $6.99 per month, but that’s for the on-demand service — no live TV included. Hulu + Live TV costs $64.99 per month. Opt for Hulu + Live TV and you will have access to over 65 channels. Hulu subscribers can add SHOWTIME for an additional $10.99 per month. Hulu with Max costs an additional $14.99 per month. That’s the same as the regular Max subscription price, but getting the service through Hulu will keep all that entertainment in the same app.
Hulu vs. Philo: Which Should You Choose?
If you’re looking for a cheap on-demand streaming service, Hulu is the way to go here. But what if you want live TV?
If you want to watch live lifestyle and entertainment channels at a low price, Philo is the ideal streaming service for you. If you want to access content in an on-demand manner and want to watch local channels, news, and sports, Hulu is the better choice. Movie fanatics will also favor Hulu, as it provides movie channel options aside from Starz and Epix. Philo’s movie channels are limited to those under the Starz and Epix umbrellas, which leaves us without HBO. For more on why Hulu works well for these sorts of viewers, check out our review of Hulu + Live TV.
For non-sports fans and budget shoppers, however, Philo is a fantastic choice. It's a leaner bundle in ways both good and bad.