Frndly TV, the 12 Channel Skinny Bundle with Hallmark, GSN, and The Weather Channel Officially Launches For Just $5.99
In mid-August, we profiled a new streaming upstart called Frndly TV that bundles 12 live channels including Hallmark, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, Hallmark Drama, Game Show Network, and The Weather Channel for just $5.99. After months of testing, the service is now officially available.
The Denver-based company comes from veteran of the media industry, Bassil El-Khatib, who spent 12 years at Dish Network & Sling TV — who felt streaming bundles were getting just too big. In building Frndly TV, which has been a year in the making, he wanted to create a service that includes just family friendly programming targeted at Middle America.
Key features and benefits include:
- Linear TV guide: Viewers can browse TV shows the way they are accustomed to, with the very familiar and highly sought after linear grid guide.
- Unlimited cloud DVR: With the Classic (for 30 Days) and Premium Plans (for 90 Days), record your favorite shows and movies and watch them whenever you want on any available device.
- More than 1,000 on-demand titles: Browse Frndly TV’s on-demand catalog, featuring more than 1,000 titles.
- 72-hour “Look Back”: Missed a show? Go back 72 hours and watch any programming that aired in that timeframe with the “Look Back” feature. No more forgetting to set the DVR or waiting for the on-demand asset to become available.
- Start a program live from the beginning: Don’t worry if you tune-in halfway through the program, Frndly TV allows viewers to start over from the beginning across every network.
- Available on popular devices: Stream from the comfort of your own home on Roku, Amazon, and Chromecast or on-the-go with iOS and Android. Apple TV will also be available by the end of the year.
While most Live TV Streaming Services now cost $50+, with some like Sling TV and Philo offering a skinny bundle at half that price, Frndly TV offers a unique set of channels at a fraction of the cost.
“While more live streaming services have become available over the last few years, none of them focus on the American family the way Frndly TV does,” said Bassil El-Khatib, CEO, Frndly TV. “We’ve heard many times from consumers that they wanted a more affordable TV service with the channels they can actually watch together as a family.”
Plans & Pricing
The service has three plans — Basic ($5.99 a month), Classic ($7.99), and Premium ($9.99) — with a 15% discount when you subscribe to an annual plan. If you subscribe to the monthly plan, there are no contracts so you can cancel at anytime.
While all plans offer Live TV and On-Demand — only the two higher price plan include HD streams and DVR. The Classic plan includes 2 simultaneous streams and Premium plan includes 4 simultaneous streams.
It might not have locals or sports, but their channel line-up combines some of the channels from Philo and Sling TV Heartland Extra Pack, at a much lower price point. They also carry QVC and Light TV, which are available OTA, but until now had yet to appear on a streaming service.
The company shared that they are looking to add more channels to the line-up — likely 20 by next year, but would look to do it “while maintaining the price point.” El-Khatib said customers have asked for channels like HGTV and DIY, which usually can only be carried as part of a fatter bundle. He says some of the channels “we’ll be able to get, others we won’t”, but that to add channels they have to come at a price “that makes sense.”
- Hallmark Channel
- Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
- Hallmark Drama
- Game Show Network
- Outdoor Channel
- Sportsman Channel
- World Fishing Network
- Light TV
- The Weather Channel
The service can be streamed on Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, iOS, and Android. There currently aren’t streaming apps for Apple TV or Android TV — but Apple TV is expected to be available by the end of the year.
While the Basic ($5.99) plans offers SD streaming — the Classic ($7.99) and Premium ($9.99) plans include HD Streaming at 720p/30 fps. This is similar to what you see on Philo, but not the 720p/60fps that you might see on services like Hulu Live TV and fuboTV. Since there are no live sports, the fact that it is in 30fps is less of an issue.
After signing up, when you launch the app, you’re brought to what may be the best designed grid guide of any of the Live TV Streaming Service. It includes 10 days of guide data, so you can easily see what’s on now or set a recording in the future.
When you tap on a show, it will bring up an overlay with more details on the episode, as well as the ability to Watch Live, Start Over, or Record.
If you are watching a show and come back to the guide, Frndly TV shows a live thumbnail so you continue to watch while looking for your next show.
The Classic ($7.99) and Premium ($9.99) plans include an Unlimited DVR. The Classic plan will keep your recordings for 30 days, while the Premium plan can save the shows for up to 90 days.
You will be able to fast-forward in all recordings, but you won’t be able to while watching on-demand content. In both the Recordings and On-Demand section of the apps — it will show recently viewed and recorded shows first.
One nice feature is that when you set a recording it will ask if you wan to Record This Episode or Record All New and Repeat Episodes. For now, you can’t set it to record All New Episodes.
Like many other Live TV Streaming Services, Frndly TV offers Look Back support, so you can watch any show that aired in the last 72-hours — even if you didn’t record it. However, like other on-demand content, there will be unskippable ads.
Unlike other Live TV Streaming Services, you can’t log-in to TV Everywhere apps with your Frndly TV credentials.
The app makes search very accessible — while it’s not perfect — it doesn’t automatically display results as you type, it does offer search suggestions. When you select one, it will display both live, recorded, and on-demand content.