Philo doesn’t include ESPN, ESPN 2 or ESPN 3 and it remains to be seen if that’s likely to change in the future. While Philo can be a good option for live TV streaming, the low price does result in some limitations, such as the selection of channels. Those looking to stream ESPN over the internet will want to consider another live TV streaming service, or check to see if a standalone ESPN+ subscription is enough for their sports needs.
With the price of live TV streaming seemingly always on the increase, Philo continues to be a popular option. For example, a standard Philo subscription currently costs $25 per month, making it a more affordable live TV service than Sling TV, as well as DirecTV Stream, fuboTV, Hulu Live TV and YouTube TV. For those in the market for a cheap live TV service, Philo is worth considering.
However, whether Philo is actually a service that an individual subscriber or household should sign up for will ultimately come down to the channel lineup. Philo does provide access to a wide variety of live TV channels, but the cheaper price does directly impact on which channels are included with a subscription. The lack of access to the ESPN family of channels is a prime example.
No ESPN, or sports in general
Philo provides access to more than 60 channels, but ESPN is not one of them. In fact, not only does Philo not carry the main ESPN channel, but it also does not carry ESPN 2 or ESPN 3 either. Likewise, none of the other ESPN family of channels, such as ESPNU and ESPNews, are available through Philo.
Generally speaking, sports are not one of Philo’s stronger points, with many of the most popular sports channels and networks missing from the lineup. Philo also doesn’t offer local channels, so there’s no real option to watch local or regional sports networks either. Philo tends to focus more on entertainment channels than anything else, although a subscription does include access to some news, factual, and movie channels as well.
Adding to the problem is the general lack of add-ons and options to upgrade a subscription. This has been changing over time with Philo now offering some add-ons and ways to improve the selection of channels, although these also tend to focus heavily on movies and entertainment. For example, the most recent Philo add-on was Movies & More, a premium upgrade which adds more movies and entertainment to the existing channel lineup. At present, Philo does not offer any add-ons or upgrades for sports.
ESPN+ might be an option
If already a Philo subscriber, or considering signing up in spite of the lack of access to ESPN, it might be worth considering a ESPN+ subscription. ESPN+ is the network’s standalone streaming service and provides subscribers with the option to stream sports events and related programming without the need for an active live TV subscription. The standard ESPN+ plan currently costs $6.99 per month, but some consumers may find occasional deals, annual plans, or bundling the service with other subscriptions can reduce the cost.
Consumers should not view a standalone ESPN+ subscription as a way to totally replace the ESPN experience offered to live TV subscribers as ESPN+ is not the same as ESPN. Instead, ESPN+ is designed to complement the existing ESPN channels and experience. In other words, most of the content that’s available through the standalone service is not usually also available through the standard ESPN channels. Similarly, this also tends to mean that any live sports events and programming available on ESPN, ESPN 2 and so on, is unlikely to be available through ESPN+ as well.
Subscribers will need to check ESPN+ out for themselves to see whether a standalone subscription will be enough to help bridge the lack of access to the main ESPN channels. For some, it may offer access to the right sports coverage, or enough related programming to make it worthwhile. For others, a subscription to a live TV service that includes ESPN is likely to be the right choice.
Philo and ESPN summary
Philo does not carry any of the ESPN channels and is limited on sports in general. Although the service does offer a decent selection of channels at a low price, Philo is missing many popular networks, including ESPN and other major sports channels. For consumers that are specifically interested in watching ESPN, and especially live events, they may need to consider an alternate live TV streaming service which includes the ESPN family of channels.
While ESPN+ is an option, some consumers may find the standalone subscription does not offer enough access to their favorite sports or live events to satisfy their needs. For others, an ESPN+ subscription could be a cheap way to inject some sports content into a streaming setup.