Philo Could Take Netflix and Chill To a New Level


Alex Bazeley

Some may see Philo as an alternative to Netflix or HBO Go, offering users a way to both watch shows live as well as record them to watch on their own time.

Faith Gates, Contributing Writer

Netflix has replaced television for many college students, but NYU wants to change that with its new live television streaming service — Philo.

Campus Cable provides cable connection to NYU residence halls as well as access to HBO GO and Max Go streaming services. However, Vice President of Student Affairs Tom Ellet said that the university’s contract with this service will end soon, so it is currently exploring other options.

“We always thought [that] the students today are appreciative of new services,” Ellet said. “We’re piloting Philo to see if it’s the way of the future.”

Philo lets students residing in dorms stream and record live television from personal devices. It allows students to have 32 channels of live television while also giving them the ability to record, rewind and pause their shows.

Two Harvard students, Tuan Ho and Nick Krasney, created this service when they felt that their favorite shows took too long to reach Netflix. The duo tried to solve this problem by interfering television waves with tin foil covering their rooms. It worked, but they wanted to create a streaming service that did not require tin-foiling.

Unlike Netflix and Amazon Prime, Philo is free for students who live in NYU housing. Philo gives students an opportunity to support the television industry, stop streaming illegally and avoid catching viruses on their computers.

Philo approached NYU as its pilot base, but it is only available in Gramercy Green and Greenwich Hotel this semester. Ellet said this is because the combined number of residents in the two halls most efficiently fits the free trial user limit.

The halls sent an email on Sept. 23 that described the pilot service to residents, but the reception is varied among the students.

LS sophomore Danielle Matta lives in Greenwich Hotel, and she has already started to record certain shows.

“I have yet to watch one, but I was really excited when I received the email letting us know what kinds of features Philo would include,” Matta said. “I have a television in my room but no way to record shows while I’m in class or during school nights when I don’t have time to watch.”

She appreciates that this pilot partnership allows her to keep up with her favorite shows in the same way she could back at home, and Matta said that many friends who live in Greenwich Hall feel the same way.

However, many Gramercy residents did not think much of the new service. Neither Tisch sophomore Rae King nor Stern sophomore Catherine Liu have used Philo — King had never even heard of it. Liu was simply not interested.

“This program does sound interesting,” Liu said. “But I’m not involved in streaming or recording live television, so it might not be something I get involved with.”

After receiving feedback for the semester, Ellet said that NYU will decide whether to take on Philo as its new streaming service. He also said that the university will discuss Philo with students to hear their thoughts about it and will factor in how many students actually sign up for the service.

“We will talk about it when we meet with the RAs every week,” Ellet said. “We don’t know what the future holds because there’s a lot of variables involved.”

Email Faith Gates at [email protected].