Best VPN For Smart TV

Best VPN for Smart TV – The Ultimate Guide

Having a Smart TV is beyond beneficial. Aside from being “Smart” with easy navigation, the platform is capable of doing a lot of stuff, especially streaming. In case you didn’t know, your Smart TV hosts a wide variety of streaming services, including the likes of Netflix, Hulu, and HBO. One problem, though. Despite allowing you easy streaming on the big screen, your Smart TV falls victim to geo-restrictions (just like any other device). However, when you pair your smart TV with the right VPN, you can open up access to geographically restricted content no matter where you are. But the question is, what defines the word “Right”? Find out in this best VPN for Smart TV review.

Best VPN For Smart TV
Best VPN For Smart TV

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Best Smart TV VPNs – Content Index

Smart TVs are great devices to sit back and watch your favorite TV shows from the comfort of your home. But the problem is, most of the services available are actually not available (restricted). Well, that’s about to change courtesy of an online tool in the form of a VPN. Here are the top ones to choose from:

VPN 101 – A Quick Introduction

A Virtual Private Network is an online tool that works by routing your connection through a remote server and hiding your online actions. When you connect to a VPN, it encrypts your data, even before your ISP sees it.

The VPN reroutes your traffic through an encrypted tunnel to the VPN server and then back to your online location. Any website you visit won’t be able to determine where your data is actually coming from. It just sees it flowing from the server you’re connected to.

Having a VPN at your disposal is pretty beneficial, considering the threats of the World Wide Web. For now, I’m going to list the top advantages of having a VPN with you, and then, I’m going to analyze the problem Smart TV users encounter a lot. Take a look:

  • Military-grade encryption.
  • Anonymous browsing.
  • Bypasses ISP Throttling.
  • Circumvents geo-restrictions.
  • Allows anonymous torrenting.
  • Gets you cheaper online prices.

In case you’re wondering, these are features of a premium VPN. You see, running a good VPN service costs money. The company has to pay for its robust servers, data transfer, infrastructure, employees, and so on. If you want guaranteed results, you should opt for a premium one, which is exactly what we’re reviewing today.

As for services offered for free, I don’t really advise you to risk it. Some of them log your activities so that they can sell them for the highest bidder later on. How else do you think they pay for the servers they host? This is not a charity. If a VPN offers its services for free, rest assured you’re the main product.

Now, let’s take a look at what you, Smart TV users encounter the most, geographical restrictions.

Geo-restrictions and Smart TVs

As I mentioned, Smart TVs host a large number of streaming services from all over the world. However, these services apply geo-blocks to secure their licensing rights. Whether they offer a certain catalog for a specific region or the service itself, in all cases, it’s annoying.

Let me give you an example. Hulu is one of the top streaming channels available. It has more than 26.8 million paid subscribersThat’s a pretty good number, to be honest. But unfortunately, these millions of users are residents in the United States.

You see, Hulu is exclusive to the US, which means anyone living abroad won’t be able to access its service. The channel examines your IP address to determine your location. If it’s not American, you’re not getting in. Even if you do have the app all set up on your Smart TV, it won’t function. All you’ll be getting is a geo-error message showing you that your access is terminated:

“This video is not available to watch in your current location. Please select something else to watch. Error code: BYA-403-007”
Hulu Error Smart TV

Here’s where a credible VPN comes in for the rescue. As stated before, a VPN will make your data seem to be coming from the country where the server you’re connected to is based. If the server is in the US, a virtual American resident, you’ll become. That’s not all. It will hide your public IP address and assign you one in the region as a temporary alternative. Now, with a US IP address, Hulu is yours no matter where you are on the map.

Important Note

One more thing. Services like Hulu, Netflix, and HBO can determine whether you’re using a VPN or not. I took this under consideration when I was evaluating the VPNs in this review. So, rest assured, all the VPNs included today are fully-functional and credible enough to access such channels anywhere.

VPNs on Smart TVs – Beneficial Yet Not Compatible

Here’s where it gets a bit daunting. VPNs are grand and all, but their device compatibility is limited. Not all Smart TVs have dedicated VPN clients that can be directly installed on them. However, if you have an Android TV with access to the Google Play Store, you might find your provider’s application there for the taking.

So, please keep this in mind. Not every Smart TV can get a VPN client, so you will need to check with your manufacturer. But it doesn’t stop here. I’m not going to review something that you won’t even be able to use. So, if a VPN cannot be installed on your Smart TV, we should consider equal alternatives (if not better).

Install the VPN on Your Router

If you have an already VPN-compatible router such as Linksys WRT3200ACM, your job is very easy. Remember, your router oversees the entire network, which means that your data will be encrypted in the process. Not to mention that every device that connects to it will benefit from a VPN’s features. It’s a good thing actually, at least you get to bypass the VPN’s concurrent connections’ limitation.

Your router has to be DD-WRT to be able to operate a VPN on it. However, some routers such as Asus support VPN router settings with the manufacturer firmware. So if you have one, I’m going to show you an example with respective images for a more comprehensive view. Also, I used ExpressVPN as its the provider that I use; it’s included in the list.

The Steps

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. First, you need to sign up with a VPN provider. You’ll see the top four listed below.
  2. Click on Set Up on More Devices.Set Up on More Devices
  3. Now, the next page will show you a unique username and password. Copy that and keep it aside.ExpressVPN Username and Password
  4. After that, select a server and download its configuration files. I highly suggest you pick a US server.
  5. Next, on your PC, Mac, or mobile, open a browser and sign in with your router’s credentials. You have to type in 192.168.1.1 (in most cases) to access that. Router Sign in
  6. On the left of the screen, you’ll find “VPN.” But that is not our first stop; you should visit the WAN settings first, apply a few changes (as in the image below), and then head over to VPN.Wan Settings
  7. Now, click on “VPN. You’ll find two options, ‘VPN Server’ and ‘VPN Client.’ ‘VPN Client’ is your first destination.VPN Client
  8. If you’ve reached this part, it means that you’re already subscribed to a VPN, as shown in Step 1.
  9. Now, click on Add Profile, and a new window will appear. You can select one of 3 security protocols. The safest would be OpenVPN.
  10. Fill in the necessary details, including a description of your choosing and your unique username and password. Also, upload the configuration file in the “.oVPN” section.ExpressVPN OpenVPN
  11. Click Ok and then tap on activate to start a connection.

Turn Your PC/Mac into Virtual Routers

This part is for the novice users visiting my article. If you don’t want to go through the trouble of buying a compatible VPN router or setting it up manually, you can shift your PC or Mac to virtual routers instead. It’s easier than you think. Just follow the steps below, and you’ll be fine.

PC Method

The Windows PC Method couldn’t be any easier. A few clicks here and there, and you’ve got yourself a new virtual router.

  1. On your PC, launch your VPN and connect to a server depending on what you’re looking for.
  2. Next, head over to Settings by combining the Windows+I buttons on your keyboard.
  3. Select “Network & Internet.”Settings Windows
  4. You’ll find Mobile Hotspot, select that.Mobile Hotspot Windows
  5. Turn on “Share my Internet connection with other devices” and click Edit.Click Edit Wi-Fi
  6. Choose your virtual network’s credentials and hit Save.Insert Connection Details
  7. You now have a virtual connection. Go to your Smart TV’s settings and connect.

macOS Method

Apple always seems to limit their customers’ options. Unlike Windows PC, you can’t share your Wi-FI connection with anyone. Only if you connect the device to an Ethernet cable, you can do so. Once that is out of the way, go through these steps:

  1. Click on “System Preferences” from the  Apple menu or press the gear icon on your Screen.System Preferences
  2. Select “Sharing.”Click Sharing
  3. Next, tap on “Internet Sharing.”
  4. Click on the pull-down menu and choose “Share your connection from:” followed by “Ethernet.”
  5. Next to “To computers using:” enable the box next to “Wi-Fi” or “AirPort” (the name depends on OS).
  6. Now, choose “Wi-Fi Options” and name the network.
  7. Type in the necessary details.Fill WiFi Details
  8. Hit Ok and start sharing your internet with your Smart TV.

Best VPN for Smart TV – The Full Review

Now, this is what this guide is all about, reviewing the top VPN providers to use with your Smart TV. But before we begin, I have to repeat a statement I used above, stay away from free VPNs. The providers on my list today are all premium, which means they require a certain payment to create an account.

Also, all of them have a refund policy. So, you get to test out their service before you invest in any long-term plan. With that said, here are the best VPNs for Smart TVs.

Rank
VPN Provider
Link
1
vpn-provider
  • 30-Day Money-back Guarantee
  • Unlimited Bandwidth
  • Apps For All Your Devices
  • 24/7 Live Support
Visit ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN LogoExpressVPN has been topping the charts for quite some time now. As I mentioned, it’s the provider I use, and there’s a reason for that. The provider has global server coverage, along with outstanding performance.

However, the question lies here, is it compatible with Smart TVs. Simple, absolutely, if the TV you’re using has access to Google Play Store. ExpressVPN has top-rated apps that you can navigate with complete ease. It targets the non-tech-savvy users as well as those who like to discover what a VPN has to offer.

When we speak of Smart TVs, we have to talk about bypassing regional restrictions. Thanks to its 3000 servers in 94 countries, this task can’t get any easier. You’ll be able to access channels from all over the world.

Speaking of streaming, ExpressVPN comes in a hybrid form. In other words, it doesn’t only offer a VPN service; you can add Smart DNS to the features. This technology can be directly set up on your Smart TV.

It does have its disadvantages, though, as there won’t be any added security to your connection. But on the bright side, you can stream HD content without any speed loss (No encryption present).

When it comes to security, this VPN has it all. You can benefit from features such as a kill switch, split tunneling, military-grade encryption, and one strict no-logging policy. If you need any help, ExpressVPN’s friendly support team is ready to guide you through anything. Plus, you get a 30-day money-back guarantee the moment you sign up.

Pros

  • Huge server network.
  • No-logging policy.
  • AES 256-bit encryption.
  • Automatic kill switch.
  • Blazing fast speeds.
  • Supports Netflix.
  • Five concurrent connections.
  • 30-day money-back policy.
  • Excellent support.

Cons

  • A bit expensive.

NordVPN

NordVPN LogoNordVPN has the largest server network among the providers included on our list for the day. You’ll be able to switch between 5000 in 62 countries. Oh, and you can do that as many times as you want since the provider offers unlimited server switching.

The provider is excellent with everything that has to do with the internet. You can get the best Netflix catalogs, BBC, HBO GO, and much more. Their application is easy to use, and you don’t have to be an expert in technology to navigate within it. 

NordVPN also has the best-in-class 256-bit encryption and OpenVPN support. So, rest assured,  your browsing history and its contents are safe and hidden.

Also, their website offers step-by-step walkthroughs for nearly every device known to mankind, including your Smart TV. If NordVPN is your choice, you can install their client on your router. I already showed you how to so above, but the provider also guides you through the process.

Just like ExpressVPN, NordVPN also has a unique Smart DNS feature, SmartPlay. It allows you to access content from different points around the world without losing access to your local ones: no IP change, unrestricted access.

On the privacy and security side, NordVPN has some exclusive features. First, you get CyberSec, which is a technology that shields your device from any malware or malicious software targeting your device. And the next one is Double VPN. It allows you to reroute your traffic through not one, but two VPN servers at once. If that doesn’t increase your security to the maximum, I don’t know what will.

All in all, NordVPN is excellent for your Smart TV and also offers a 30-day refund policy.

Pros

  • 5000 servers across 60+ countries.
  • Zero-logging policy.
  • Military-grade encryption.
  • A kill switch.
  • CyberSec.
  • Unblocks Netflix.
  • Six concurrent connections.
  • 30-day refundpolicy.
  • Double VPN.
  • Smart DNS.

Cons

  • Some slow servers.
  • Vague free trial.

BulletVPN

Bulletvpn logo 2BulletVPN is another top service making its way to the top to rival the giants. The service is relatively new, but it has the required features to secure a spot on our list. The service is Estonia-based and it offers VPN services through a relatively small network of servers. Yeah, it is still new.

However, if you try one of those servers, you’ll forget how small the network is courtesy of the blazing fast speeds you’ll be getting. I tried the service with the new Disney+ app. To be honest, it didn’t pause for one sec despite the video being in full HD.

BulletVPN excels in the security department as it boasts top-level encryption and five different security protocols. You’ll be able to choose from PPTP, L2TP, OpenVPN, IKEv1, and IKEv2. If I were you, I’d stick to OpenVPN as it’s the safest among all.

Moreover, you get features like an automatic kill switch and Bullet Shield. Now, here’s how this works. These two are companions. A kill switch terminates your internet if a sudden drop in the VPN connection occurs. As for Bullet Shield, it doesn’t allow you to connect to the internet unless BulletVPN is active. So, both combined together guarantee you ultimate privacy.

And no, we’re not done yet. BulletVPN also has a Smart DNS service, one heck of a feature, actually. You can set it up on any device that might cross your mind, including your Smart TV. Also, the provider is always up to date and supports any new streaming channel that pops up. You’ll find Disney+ and Apple TV+ to be among them.

Pros

  • No-logging policy.
  • 256-AES encryption.
  • A kill switch.
  • Bullet Shield.
  • Accesses Netflix.
  • Three simultaneous connections.
  • 30-day refund policy.
  • Five security protocols.
  • Smart DNS.

Cons

  • Relatively small network.
  • No free trial.

SurfShark

SurfShark LogoSpeaking of new providers, BulletVPN is not the only new kid on the block. SurfShark is also new to the business, but it’s already proven itself as a premium VPN provider. It doesn’t matter what method you try, whether it’s a dedicated app or router setup, SurfShark excels in both an offers you all you need for a smooth and secure streaming experience.

Being new doesn’t mean it lacks power. Old VPNs are considered to be the top in the world, and they couldn’t even bypass Netflix’s VPN block. Isn’t that right, IPVanish? Well, this one is new to the industry and managed to do that with ease.

Also, SurfShak allows you to connect as many devices as you want. Unlimited access using a single account. The provider is officially based in the British Virgin Islands, which means it doesn’t abide by data regulation laws and the likes. It’s far away from the reach of the Five-Eyes association.

Even if it was, it has a strict no-logging policy. So, whatever you visit or browse, nothing is collected. This one is another great pick for smart TVs – especially for users on a budget. Check it out.

Pros

  • 800 servers in 60+ countries
  • Multi-Hop (Double VPN)
  • A kill switch.
  • 256-AES encryption.
  • Supports Netflix.
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections.
  • 30-day refund policy.
  • Smart DNS.

Cons

  • Expensive monthly subscription
  • No free trial.

Top Smart TV Streaming Services

So, now you know what VPNs you should try out. But the question is, don’t you want to learn about what you’ll be getting in return? In other words, aren’t you a bit curious about what streaming services you’ll be unlocking on your Smart TV? Here’s a quick look to get you started:

  • Netflix
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • Hulu
  • HBO Go
  • Spotify
  • Sling TV
  • ESPN
  • Youtube
  • DAZN
  • Disney+
  • WWE Network
  • CBS All Access

Best VPN for Smart TV – Final Thoughts

Smart TVs are a shortcut to enjoying your favorite entertainment straight from your comfy couch on a big screen. However, you can’t unlock it’s full potential unless you make use of a VPN. Which brings us to the main aim of this review.

I’ve given you everything you need to know about the top VPNs for Smart TV. Make use of this information and pick one that suits you best. If you have further questions, make sure to drop them in the comment section below and I’ll reply as soon as possible.

Tania Becker

Tania's work at Whatismyip.network revolves around covering the latest cybersecurity news. She has also written several guides on how to bypass regional restrictions.


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