Low-cost TV streaming service Philo comes to Android
Despite a slight price increase in April, Philo’s live TV streaming service is still one of the more affordable options on the market because of its strategic decision to not stream sports. That helps keep its costs down while providing an option for cord cutters who mainly want access to the traditional cable TV networks focused on entertainment, news, movies, kids, and other lifestyle content. But until today, Philo hasn’t been well-serving a large portion of its user base: Android users. That’s now changing with the official launch of a native Android app.
Before, Android users could only access Philo from a mobile web browser, while iOS users had their own dedicated app.
The new Android app will be generally comparable to the iOS experience, though it has a somewhat different layout. While iOS features navigation buttons for Home, Live, Saved, Search, and Settings, the Android version switches things up a bit. Instead, its navigation features Home, Guide, Saved, Search, and a user profile button.
It also includes a Recommended section, in addition to the Trending Live and New and Upcoming sections. And instead of row of thumbnails in iOS’s Live, it presents a grid-like TV guide for finding something to watch in Guide. Many of the live TV services have switched over to the grid guide format, having realized that when it comes to finding live content, people still prefer to see things organized by what’s on now in a more standard layout.
Philo users can choose to either watch TV live or save shows to watch later, on up to three devices. The company recently did away with its multiple tiered pricing to combine packages into a single $20 per month option with 58 channels.
In addition to the Android native app, Philo is also today launching an app for Amazon’s Fire tablets (Fire OS 5 and up).
These new apps join Philo’s existing lineup of apps for web (Chrome, Safari, Edge, and Firefox); TV (Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, and Roku); and iOS.
The company doesn’t disclose its subscriber numbers, but its app is further behind its rivals. Today, the iOS version ranks No. 153 on the App Store’s Entertainment category, according to App Annie. That’s behind live streaming TV services YouTube TV (No. 22), Sling TV (No. 68) and No. 2 Hulu — although the latter is top-ranked for its more popular on-demand product, not its live TV service. Sensor Tower says Philo has been downloaded close to 500,000 times on iOS to date, and grew around 181 percent (or 2.8x) year-over-year last month.
That said, Philo had been missing out on a reaching huge swath of potential customers until today. Now available cross-platform, it may better appeal to consumers who use multiple devices — as well as those who are budget conscious and own less expensive Android smartphones.
The app is available here on Google Play.