An Easy-to-Follow Guide: How to Set up a VPN on a Smart TV

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With streaming services being so popular these days, it’s natural for people to want to know how to set up a VPN on their smart TVs. The problem is that most smart TVs have operating systems that do not support this type of function. But luckily there are a few workarounds that will guarantee a secure and anonymous connection while using a smart TV.

It’s recommended that anyone who wants to stream music, series, or movies through a smart TV does so with a VPN. Not only will this stop ISPs from monitoring and throttling content, but it will also help to bypass geo-blocking. That means popular streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime can be watched from anywhere in the world.

Below is a list of the best VPNs to use with a smart TV as well as a guide on the different ways to set up a VPN on a smart TV.

What is a VPN

People who don’t know what a VPN does tend to either think the software is untrustworthy or that it’s not something they need. The simple truth of it actually, is that a VPN can be an immensely helpful tool and is necessary for anyone who values their privacy.

A VPN acts as a guardian that protects the data being sent from one network to another. So let’s say someone wants to stream content from a streaming service like Netflix. With a VPN installed and turned on, the request to connect to that website will be sent through a VPN server first. This server can be situated anywhere in the world.

The data that is sent through the VPN server then gets encrypted so it cannot be traced or identified by anyone. That includes internet service providers and authorities in addition to cyber attackers. Regarding ISPs, this means no throttling even when streaming series or movies.

Since the server is situated somewhere else than where the person who is connecting to the website resides, another benefit is gained. Namely, that the person’s network IP is replaced by the server’s IP address. This means that someone who uses a VPN can have access to geo-blocked content if they choose a server in an area that has access to that content, like the US.

This is why millions of people over the world are choosing to use a VPN for their streaming, downloading, and other browsing needs. There’s also a rising trend of using a VPN with smart TVs.

A DNS proxy versus a VPN for your Smart TV

Instead of choosing a VPN service, many people decide to go with a DNS setup instead. A simple DNS proxy server can also help anyone circumvent geo-restrictions. There’s a couple of issues with the proxy option, though.

Firstly, proxy servers aren’t as common as VPN servers. So the person using a proxy won’t have as many location options and might not even be able to access the geo-locked content they want.

DNS proxies, although popular, are also often a let-down. Because it’s relatively easy for websites to track any proxies a person is using and block them. So people often get excited about the new content they can watch and are then left disappointed when their proxy gets blocked.

The final downside to a proxy is that it doesn’t encrypt any data. So ISPs can still monitor and potentially throttle any content that is sent over a proxy.

All of that being said, some people do prefer using DNS proxies, and there are helpful setup guides available on the web.

How to choose the best VPN for a Smart TV

It’s important to choose the right VPN for the job since most smart TVs don’t natively support this platform.

There are cases, however, where Android smart TVs do support this function, and then a VPN app can simply be downloaded from the app store. Some VPN services have specific apps for this like the Nordvpn smart TV app. So if the smart TV that’s being used supports this function, then it’s best to go with a VPN service that has a smart TV app on the app store. The reason for this is that it’s the quickest and most pain-free way to set up a VPN on a smart TV.  

As mentioned above, there are other ways around this, however, for those who have smart TVs that don’t support that option. The different ways to install a VPN on a smart TV are outlined below. But first, a list of the best VPNs for TV.

9 of the Best VPNs for TV

The VPNs on this list were chosen because they have been found to cause the least amount of latency on a connection. Meaning they don’t slow down the connection as much as some other VPNs do. These VPN service providers also have servers across the globe, making it easy for anyone to access geo-restricted content from anywhere. Lastly, some of these VPN services were chosen because they also have VPN apps for smart TVs available. Which makes the process much easier for those whose televisions support that function.

  • ExpressVPN (Has a Smart TV App)
  • NordVPN (Has a Smart TV App)
  • VyprVPN (Has a Smart TV App)
  • IPVanish
  • HideMyAss
  • PureVPN (Has a Smart TV App)
  • CyberGhost
  • PrivateVPN (Has a Smart TV App)
  • SurfShark

All of the VPN services listed above are paid services. It isn’t recommended to use a free VPN because they are generally considered unsafe and unsecure.

How to install a VPN on a Smart TV

There are a couple of options available for both Android TV and Apple TV owners. Mind the fact that these workarounds are a little more complicated than just installing an app on the TV, but still doable.

Option 1: sharing a VPN

This option allows for a VPN to be installed and activated on a PC or Mac and then shared with the smart TV. To go for this option, one would first have to subscribe to a VPN service and then install it on the PC or Mac. Every VPN service provider has an installation guide to help anyone through this process. So here’s the next step: sharing the VPN connection with the smart TV.

How to connect a Smart TV to a VPN via a laptop or PC

Go through the following steps to successfully connect to a VPN via a laptop or PC:

  1. Make sure that a VPN is installed on the PC and is on and working. To test whether a VPN is working, type “What Is My IP Address” into Google before and after turning on the VPN. If the IP address is different, then the VPN is working.
  2. Connect the smart TV to the PC or laptop via an Ethernet cable.
  3. Open the Network and Internet Settings panel on the PC. With Windows 10, the easiest way to access this panel is by right-clicking on the network icon. That icon can be found on the taskbar in the right bottom corner of the screen. Then select “Open Network and Internet Settings.”
  4. Click on “Change adapter settings.”
  5. Find the VPN connection. Some VPN service providers let their users choose the VPN name while others provide a specific name. Right-click on the VPN and select “Properties.”
  6. Find the sharing tab then checkmark the “Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s internet connection” box.
  7. Select “Local Area Connection” from the drop-down menu. Make sure to also select the ethernet connection with the smart TV. Finally, click on “OK.”
  8. Restart both the computer and smart TV. The VPN connection should now work on the smart TV as well.

How to connect a smart TV to a VPN via a Mac OSX

Go through these steps to share a VPN through an OSX computer:

  1. Make sure that a VPN is installed on the computer and that it is on.
  2. Switch off the TV and connect the computer to it with an ethernet cable and adapter.
  3. Click on the Apple Icon at the top right of the screen. Open “System Preferences,” then click on “Sharing.”
  4. Select the VPN connection from the “Sharing your connection from” menu.
  5. Checkmark the “USB Ethernet” option in the “To computers using” box.
  6. Then checkmark “Internet Sharing” as well.
  7. Click “Start” in the pop-up that appears.
  8. If “Internet Sharing: On” shows up as green, then the connection is working.

Option 2: installing the VPN on a router

Some people prefer to simply use a flashed router with a VPN installed. This method allows them to have all their devices, including their smart TV, go through the VPN.

Some routers can be flashed by the user, but this is only reserved for people who have enough technical knowledge to not “brick” the router. Which would essentially render it useless. So instead, many people opt to buy pre-flashed routers instead. This is also an easier way to connect a VPN to a smart TV because there are no extra installation steps. To find a pre-flashed router, check out Flashrouters or online stores like Amazon.

Following the above steps should allow anyone to connect their smart TV to a VPN regardless of their TV’s make or model. It’s important to always choose a method that works best for the TV and home setup.