A Smart TV makes it easy for you to stream online media on your television without needing extra hardware, like a Chromecast dongle. Smart TVs provide you with access to your favorite streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube. Because part of the content on these services is hidden behind geographical restrictions you might not be able to watch everything you would like. This is where a VPN comes in. With a VPN you can change your virtual locations and gain access to geo-blocked material. Read everything you want to know about the use of a VPN in combination with a Smart TV in this article!
Why Would I Install a VPN on My Smart TV?
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) provides you with online freedom, security, and anonymity. With a VPN subscription you can connect to a server anywhere in the world. You gain the freedom to virtually access the internet from whatever place you want. This way you can bypass geographical restrictions. With a VPN you will be able to access a larger offer of movies, series, and more.
Another important advantage of a VPN is anonymity. Companies, governments, and hackers can see a large portion of your online activity. With this data they can form a profile on you which they can use to direct certain content at you. If you want to prevent this from happening it is probably wise to use a VPN to anonymize your online activity.
Lastly, all of your internet traffic is encrypted by the VPN software on your computer. This means hackers won’t be able to see what you do online. With a VPN you protect all your internet traffic.
Bypassing Geographical Restrictions on Your Smart TV
The feature of a VPN that is most interesting to Smart TV users is the freedom. The ability to bypass geographical restrictions provides the Smart TV user with more to watch. Whether the content is blocked because of distributing rights or government censorship, a VPN will help you gain access to it.
Watching National Streaming Services on Holiday
When you are on holiday in a different country but you do want to watch your favorite TV show, or the national sports championship, a VPN is the solution for you. With a VPN you will be able to change your virtual location by connecting to a server in your home country. The website of the streaming service in your home country will allow you to access their content. By doing this you can watch their shows like you never left the country.
You can also use a VPN to access extra content on streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon, and YouTube. Some of these services might not be available in your country. If you want to use them anyway you can use a VPN to change your virtual location. It can also be that the streaming service is available in your country but the content is different from the content in other countries. By changing your virtual location with a VPN you can select the content you want to see on that service.
You might also want to stream music on your Smart TV. Services like Spotify, Pandora, and Youtube are not available in all countries due to censorship. With a VPN you can make use of them. Moreover, For services like YouTube there is also a lot of partial geo-blocking. A music video might only be available in some countries because of the copyright protection laws. With a VPN you can bypass this form of geo-blocking and stream all the music in the world. As long as it is freely available in one country and your VPN provider has a server in that country, you are good to go.
VPN vs DNS on Your Smart TV
If you want to bypass geographical restrictions you can also use a so-called SmartDNS. A DNS also makes websites believe that you have a different IP address. However, as opposed to a VPN, a DNS doesn’t encrypt your data or protect your traffic. With a DNS you are not completely secure and anonymous.
Another problem for DNS is that some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) practice DNS hijacking. This means that sometimes, even though you are using a DNS, you won’t be able to bypass geo-blocking. The ISPs are fighting back and will take away the DNS mask from your connection and show your original IP address.
The only upside to a DNS is that your connection will be slightly faster than with a VPN. This has to do with the fact that the DNS doesn’t encrypt your data. However, most users won’t even notice the difference in speed.
The Best VPN for Smart TV
When you are looking for a good VPN provider to use in combination with your Smart TV, there are several things to look out for. We tested the provider on speed, the amount of servers, and the overall quality of the provider.
The speed and stability of the connection are important when you are streaming. You want to watch your series in one go without having to wait for the images to load. Ideally, the speed of your connection is good enough to load and watch movies without any hiccups. This is why providers with speedy connections are high on our list.
The amount of servers a provider offers is important when you want to change your virtual locations. Moreover, it is important that they have servers in as many different countries as possible because this increases the chances of finding the video or music you were looking for. If you have in mind what countries you would like to access the internet from, you can make a good decision on what provider will meet your needs.
Lastly, we looked at the overall quality of a provider. Are their apps user-friendly and do they have good customer service? What is the level of security? Take a look at our list of the best VPN providers to see the providers that scores highest on all these features.
1. ExpressVPN for Smart TV
ExpressVPN is a provider that performs well in all aspects of the business. They are user-friendly, offer great protection and good and stable connections. The speed of their connection is very high so you will have no trouble streaming all your favorite shows. With servers in over 90 different countries you can basically access all the services you could like. Read all about this great provider in our full ExpressVPN report.
ExpressVPN is especially easy to use with an Android TV because of their extremely easy-to-use ExpressVPN app.
- Super fast and simple VPN
- Perfect for anonymous browsing, downloading and streaming (i.a. Netflix)
- 3000+ servers in 94 countries
2. GOOSEVPN for Smart TV
GOOSEVPN is a good Dutch VPN provider. It is easy to use for all target audiences. They are a well-protected provider with a quickly growing amount of servers. The locations of their servers should suffice for you to always be able to find a way around geographical restrictions.
GOOSEVPN also offers a great app that can easily be installed on an Android TV. Want to know more? Read it all in our test report of GOOSE VPN.
A subscription with GOOSEVPN is already available for under 4 dollars but then you are limited with only 50GB. If you want to use your VPN for streaming we would recommend their Unlimited plan which provides you with unlimited data and is only slightly more expensive.
- Really quick connection
- Easy to use on all devices
3. VyprVPN for Smart TV
VyprVPN offers a fast and secure connection that is perfect for streaming movies and music to your Smart TV. Moreover, with their “Chameleon” encryption it is virtually impossible for websites to discover that you are using a VPN. This way you can bypass geo-blocking on any website.
Just like GOOSEVPN and ExpressVPN, VyprVPN has a nice Android app that can be installed directly on an Android TV.
- Quick servers for a good price
- Big server network
- Special "Chameleon" technology to protect your data
VPN Compatibility with a Smart TV
Most Smart TV can be protected with a VPN through a protected router or virtual router on your PC or Mac. For instance, If you have a Samsung Smart TV one of these options will be best for you. The only easier way of combining a VPN with your Smart TV is through an application on the TV. However, Android TV is the only type of Smart TV that is compatible with VPN apps from different providers. It is wise to check out what provider works best with your type of Smart TV.
Installing a VPN for Your Smart TV
If you cannot download a VPN app on your Smart TV your best options are to install the VPN on your router or install it on a virtual router on your PC or Mac. By installing a VPN on your router, all devices connected to that network will be protected with the VPN features. If you create a virtual router with a hotspot on your PC or Mac, you can protect all devices that connect to that hotspot. Read all about it in our extensive article on installing a VPN for your Smart TV.
Using a VPN in combination with your Smart TV is the ideal way to bypass any geographical limitations. It works well for watching television outside your own country or watching your favorite native shows while on holiday. Furthermore, the VPN makes sure you are completely anonymous during all your streaming. No company, government, or hacker can track anything you do. You have complete online privacy and your personal data is safe. On Android TVs you can simply install a VPN application. Other Smart TVs require you to set up a safe network at home by installing your VPN on your router or virtual router. All in all, the combination of a Smart TV and a VPN is perfect for borderless streaming.