If sports channels aren't your game and you get your local channels from an antenna, you might want to take a look at a couple of services — Philo and AT&T's Watch TV — that stream live TV for less than $20 per month.
For a monthly fee of $16, Philo offers 40 channels: A&E, AMC, Animal Planet, AXS TV, BBC America, BBC World News, BET, Cheddar (a news channel), Cheddar Big News, CMT, Comedy Central, Discovery, DIY, Food Network, FYI, GSN, HGTV, History, IFC, ID, Lifetime, Lifetime Movies, MTV, MTV2, Nick, Nick Jr, OWN, Paramount Channel, People TV, SCI, Sundance TV, Tastemade, Teen Nick, TLC, Travel, TV Land, Velocity, VH1, Viceland and WE.
An add-on package for $4 per month gives you nine additional channels: AHC, BET her, Cooking Channel, Destination America, Discovery Family, Discovery Life, Logo, MTV Live and Nicktoons.
You can watch Philo through a web browser on your computer, on your iPhone (with an app) or Android phone (through the Chrome browser) and on streaming devices from Roku, Apple TV or Amazon Fire TV.
The first time you log in to a device, you enter the cellphone number associated with your account, and Philo will send a text to your phone with a code you have to enter on the device to sign in. The service also includes a cloud DVR that lets you save shows for up to a month. You can also pause live programming and jump backward and forward in your saved shows.
Philo allows customers to have three streams going simultaneously. The live stream starts quickly, and the picture comes in clear on a laptop, iPhone and Apple TV.
AT&T's $15-per-month streaming service called WatchTV has 37 channels: A&E, AMC, Animal Planet, Audience, BBC World News, BBC America, BET, Boomerang, Cartoon Network, CNN, Comedy Central, Discovery, Food Network, FYI, Hallmark, Hallmark Movies, HGTV, History, HLN, IFC, ID, Lifetime, Lifetime Movies, MTV2, Nicktoons, OWN, Sundance TV, TBS, TCM, Teen Nick, TLC, TNT, Tru, Velocity, VH1, Viceland and WE.
The interface is clean with a grid guide on the web interface, iOS app and on the Apple TV. WatchTV also includes a library of 15,000 on-demand shows and movies instead of a cloud DVR. You can also rewind 72 hours on all channels to watch shows you missed.
If you are an AT&T wireless customer with one of its two new “Unlimited & More” plans, WatchTV is included as a free perk. Customers can stream to only one device at a time.
Both services have their strong points. Depending on the size of your family, the three streams at a time from Philo might be better for you. But if world news (CNN), classic movies (TCM) and a 72-hour rewind DVR are important to you, Watch TV could be the better fit.