Why You Need a VPN for Smart TV
In a nutshell: A VPN can help you protect your privacy and access more content. To use a VPN with your Smart TV, you only need to buy a router or share your connection.
Our Top 5 VPNs for Smart TV:
1. PureVPN – Dedicated streaming add-on eliminates buffering and boosts internet speed
2. ExpressVPN – Exclusive router with VPN pre-installed
3. HideMyAss – Access to the most content and unique speed guide for choosing a server
4. IPVanish – Duel router setup option with customized installation guide
5. hide.me – Simple “one-click” native apps for every operating system
These days, smart TVs are becoming more affordable and useful. If you use one to access Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and other streaming apps, you may be looking for ways to access more content and keep your privacy. That’s where a VPN can help.
While there’s more than enough content on smart TVs to last you a lifetime (or even several lifetimes), it’s often geographically restricted and leaves you open to attack from hackers or nefarious government agencies.
This means you may not be able to watch your favorite sporting events unless you live in a particular location – and even if you catch the game you don’t know who had access to your personal data while you were watching.
Can I Install a VPN on My Smart TV?
While installing a VPN on your laptop or mobile device is normally a question of downloading and installing an app, the situation is a bit more complex on a smart TV.
To date, there’s no way you can install a VPN on your smart TV directly. That said, you can still use a VPN with your smart TV via one of two methods: 1) setting it up on a router; or 2) sharing your connection via your laptop or mobile device.
Setting Up a Router
Setting up a VPN on your router is probably the least straightforward option, but it’s also the one that gives you the most flexibility.
If your VPN is installed on a router, every device that connects to your home Wi-Fi network automatically connects to your VPN. This means you only have to set your VPN up once. As an added bonus, you’ll be able to use your VPN simultaneously on as many devices as you want, irrespective of whether the VPN provider restricts simultaneous use to a limited number of devices.
You can install a VPN on most routers manually. The best VPN services on the market have support sections on their website that detail how to go about this step by step. Once the VPN is up and running on your router, simply connect your smart TV via Wi-Fi and that’s it. You’re all set!
Sharing your Connection
If installing a VPN on your router isn’t possible (or a bit too technical for your taste), sharing your connection with your smart TV via your laptop or mobile device is the next best thing. In this scenario, your laptop or mobile device acts as the source of your smart TV’s internet connection. Because the VPN is installed on your device, it’s automatically shared with your smart TV too.
Start by installing the VPN on your device. This is usually a question of downloading the app from your VPN provider’s website. Next, you need to allow other devices to connect to your device’s internet connection. Depending on whether you’re on Windows or Mac, you’ll find this option in the Control Panel or in System Preferences.
Your VPN provider should also have detailed instructions on their website. Once that’s done, simply connect your smart TV to your device using an Ethernet cable; and you’re good to go.
Our Top Picks: The Best VPN for Smart TV
Now that you’re all set up, it’s time to choose the best VPN for Smart TV. To make your life easier, we’ve narrowed it down.
PureVPN has a dedicated streaming add-on, which eliminates annoying buffering and can boost your internet speed by up to 20Mbps, irrespective of the actual connection speed provided by your internet service provider.
With over 500 servers in 141 countries across the globe - all with 99.99% uptime and no bandwidth or speed restrictions - it offers a ton of flexibility when it comes to unblocking content. Read our expert PureVPN review.
Super-fast servers in 78 different countries and impressive cross-platform support make ExpressVPN another great choice for your smart TV. Not only does it have dedicated apps for most platforms (including Linux and BlackBerry), you can also purchase a router with the VPN pre-installed.
As a plus, the incredibly detailed setup instructions on the website’s knowledge base make manual installation a breeze. Read our expert ExpressVPN review.
HideMyAss is very popular with film and TV buffs, and with good reason. With more than 900 servers in 190 countries and counting, it has one of the largest VPN server networks across the globe. Indeed, it’s safe to say HideMyAss has a server close to virtually every inhabited place on Earth; which means it can unlock access to a staggering range of content on your smart TV.
But that’s not all. It also has a speed guide to help you choose the best server possible based on your location and the type of connection you’re running. Read our expert HideMyAss review.
Another excellent VPN for your smart TV, IPVanish has over 450 servers in more than 60 countries worldwide. IPVanish manages all the servers on its network, which ensures they’re always performing optimally.
Router setup instructions are detailed and very easy to follow. You’ll be kicking back on the couch, streaming your favorite shows on your smart TV in no time. Read our expert IPVanish review.
hide.me is a great choice for your smart TV because it supports a very broad range of routers and devices. Manual installation instructions are really simple to follow, so you’ll be up and running quickly.
As a plus, it owns all its servers; and these can reach gigabit speeds. Whether you’re watching a live stream or the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy in full HD, you can rest assured streaming will be a smooth and pleasurable experience. Read our expert hide.me review.
So that’s it! Our roundup of the top 5 VPN solutions for your smart TV. You are now ready to binge watch, wherever you are. If you want to check out other VPNs, read all of our expert reviews here.