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Best VPNs for smart TVs in 2021


Smart TVs might be the most convenient way to watch streaming content. Pick up your remote control, load up Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, and press play! But what if you want to access geo-blocked films and shows from other regions, like on Netflix US? Well, that’s easy - just get a good VPN.

Not sure where to look for one? Don’t worry - we’ve done all the research for you. In this article, we’ll discuss not only the best VPNs for Smart TV, but also how to use a VPN on your Smart TV. Learn how it all works right here.

Best VPNs for smart TV – our shortlist:

  1. NordVPN - best VPN for smart TV in 2021
  2. Surfshark - unlimited connections for smart TV
  3. ExpressVPN - easiest VPN setup for smart TV
  4. VyprVPN - cheapest VPN for smart TV
  5. CyberGhost - smart TV VPN for new users

Quick guide: how to use a VPN on a smart TV:

For many smart TVs, connecting to a VPN will be as simple as the following steps:

  1. Choose a VPN, like NordVPN, now 72% OFF!
  2. Head to your smart TV’s app store
  3. Download and install your VPN
  4. Launch the VPN, connect to a new server, and you’re all set!

The best VPNs for smart TV - our detailed list:

We tested out many VPNs to finalise this shortlist. Looking at features like speed, range of servers, how effective they are at unblocking streaming sites, if they work with smart TVs, and more. Let’s check out all the details on the best VPNs for smart TV.

1. NordVPN - best VPN for smart TV in 2021

NordVPN banner
Based in:Panama
Servers/countries:5,500+ servers in 59 countries
Unblocks Netflix:Yes
Current deal:Now 72% OFF + 3 Months FREE!

NordVPN is our top recommendation for smart TVs. This market-leading VPN has an array of features that make it perfect for use with your smart TV.

This service can unblock practically any streaming site, including Netflix US, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and many more. NordVPN’s 5,700 servers in 60 different countries mean you can unblock streaming sites in many different countries and turn your smart TV into an international entertainment hub!

Its servers are fast and reliable too. You can stream movies without annoying buffering ruining a tense scene. Since smart TVs are not big on processing power, a good tunneling protocol can help. NordVPN offers both NordLynx, its version of the excellent WireGuard, and IKEv2.

Most smart TVs run on Android TV, and handily NordVPN has an Android TV app you can download directly to your TV. If your TV doesn’t use Android TV, you can still connect by installing NordVPN to your router (with the help of a step-by-step guide). Or just use its version of the SmartDNS feature - SmartPlay.

NordVPN has a no-logs policy and the best privacy and security features you can find. You can always stream safely and anonymously. Need some tech help? Get in touch with the 24/7 live chat support team.

You can snap up NordVPN from just $3.30 a month with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

2. Surfshark - unlimited connections for smart TV

Surfshark banner
Based in:British Virgin Islands
Servers/countries:3,200+ servers in 65 countries
Unblocks Netflix:Yes
Current deal:Get Surfshark, now 81% OFF!

Surfshark is our next favourite VPN for your smart TV. Surfshark can connect you to 3,000 servers in more than 60 countries, and it’s excellent at unblocking streaming sites. From Netflix US to Hulu Japan, YouTube TV to BBC iPlayer, and all the other big names - Surfshark unblocks them all.

It has super fast connections thanks to the WireGuard tunneling protocol. So your streams should be free from stuttery slowdown, and annoying buffering. You can also use IKEv2, Shadowsocks, and OpenVPN protocols.

Surfshark's apps are great, and that includes the one for Android TV. If you need a different way to connect to your smart TV, you can use the SmartDNS feature or even install Surfshark on your router.

One of Surfshark’s best features is that it offers unlimited simultaneous connections - that means you can connect as many devices to the VPN as you want!

Other excellent features include split tunneling, which allows you to specify which apps you want running through the VPN, a tool that shows you how fast your connection will be on different servers, and even GPS spoofing.

The Surfshark VPN also boasts military-grade encryption, 24/7 live chat, a 30-day money- back guarantee, as well as incredibly cheap subscription prices which start at just $2.49 a month.

3. ExpressVPN - easiest VPN setup for smart TV

ExpressVPN banner
Based in:British Virgin Islands
Servers/countries:3,000 servers in 94 countries
Unblocks Netflix:Yes
Current deal:Get ExpressVPN, now 35% OFF!

ExpressVPN is another great choice for your smart TV. It’s got 3,000 servers all around the world that are tried and tested at unlocking your favourite streaming sites. Whether you want to watch Netflix, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, DAZN, or pretty much any other site - ExpressVPN will unblock it.

The service is also very fast, so you can stream on your smart TV with no buffer interruptions. The Lightway tunneling protocol clocks up some of the fastest speeds we’ve seen on a VPN.

ExpressVPN’s app works great on Android TV, but if you need other options, you’re in luck. ExpressVPN is one of the easiest VPNs to set up on a router, for example, because it comes with its own router firmware.

There's also their own version of SmartDNS - MediaStreamer. This feature unblocks streaming sites on your smart TV without ever having to set up a VPN app.

ExpressVPN is undoubtedly a top-tier VPN that offers a suite of features, water-tight security, and excellent privacy. However, this comes at a price that’s higher than the other best VPNs. ExpressVPN’s subscription rates start to $8.32 a month. For your money, you’ll also get great security, excellent customer service with 24/7 live support, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

4. VyprVPN - cheapest VPN for smart TV

vyprvpn banner
Based in:Switzerland
Servers/countries:700 servers in 70 countries
Unblocks Netflix:Yes
Current deal:Get up to 12 months FREE!

VyprVPN is an underrated gem in the VPN market, it might not be as well-known as some of the other options on this list, but we think it offers a superb service.

Sure, it only has 700 servers, but these are located in 70 different countries, and they are all excellent at unblocking the big global streaming sites and TV channels, including Amazon Prime Video, Netflix US, ITV, Sky Sports, and Hulu.

VyprVPN also has an Android TV-optimized app, so it works perfectly on most smart TVs.

You can also count on this VPN for smooth streams on a fast connection. VyprVPN uses the WireGuard protocol and also offers the Chameleon tunnelling protocol. The latter option can be really useful if you’re in a country that restricts the use of VPNs, like China. Chameleon cleverly makes VPN traffic appear to be standard internet traffic, meaning the VPN is less likely to be blocked.

Other useful features include split tunneling (even on macOS devices), Android auto start, and malware blocking.

VyprVPN is extremely affordable. Its prices start at $1.66 a month, which makes it the cheapest VPN service on this list. As ever, you have a 30-day money-back guarantee to change your mind.

5. CyberGhost - smart TV VPN for new users

CyberGhost banner
Based in:Romania
Servers/countries:6,900+ servers in 90 countries
Unblocks Amazon Prime US:Yes
Current deal:Get CyberGhost VPN, now 83% OFF + 2 Months FREE!

If you’re just looking for a simple way to unblock content on your smart TV, CyberGhost might just be the answer.

It’s got an app for Android TV that’s really easy to use, with a clean interface that even tech beginners will be able to navigate. It’s got over 6,000 servers in 90 different countries, and brilliantly, it marks which servers are optimized for different platforms. For instance, scroll through the servers, and you’ll find that they are clearly marked for their specific platform i.e Disney+, or American Netflix.

Tunneling protocol options include WireGuard and IKEv2, both which deliver great speeds to get your HD streams as smooth as can be.

CyberGhost’s split tunnelling feature enables you to choose which apps connect on the VPN and which remain on the normal connection. This is great for saving your connection speed.

Unfortunately, CyberGhost does not offer a SmartDNS feature. But if your smart TV does not run on Android TV, and you need an alternate method to connect, you can install this VPN directly on your router. This may seem complicated, but CyberGhost supplies useful guides to help you through it.

CyberGhost is pretty cheap, with its subscriptions starting at only $2.25 a month. CyberGhost also differs from other VPNs by offering a 45-day money-back guarantee instead of the standard 30 days. There’s even a 1-day free trial.

How we selected and tested these VPNs

When picking the best VPN for smart TV, we had a few important features that were an absolute must-have. Here’s what you’ll need to get the best out of streaming on your smart TV.

  • Does it have a good app for Android TV? Many smart TVs run on the Android TV OS. If the VPN has an app for this operating system, setup just takes a few simple clicks.
  • How easy is it to setup on a router? Some smart TVs don’t use Android TV. In this case, you might need to setup the VPN on your router to connect the TV. This can be complicated, so you need a VPN that offers guides to help you through the process.
  • Can you set it up on routers using faster tunneling protocols? Most VPNs let you set up on your router via OpenVPN. However, devices like routers (and many smart TVs) are not the best at handling OpenVPN encryption. If you’re able to setup your VPN with an efficient tunneling protocol like Lightway, IKEv2, or WireGuard, you’ll get a faster connection and smooth streaming.
  • Speed. Fast connections are vital when you’re streaming. Additionally, the best VPNs offer a range of fast servers to connect to.
  • Good for streaming? You’ll need a VPN that’s proved to be effective at unblocking the big streaming sites. From Netflix US, to BBC iPlayer, our recommended VPNs unblock lots of them.
  • Customer support. It's normal to run into tech issues. That’s why we’ve selected VPNs that can always help with features like 24/7 live chat.
  • Price. Value for money is important. We think our top VPNs offer a great service at a fair price.

What should I look for in a smart TV VPN?

When you’re choosing a VPN for your smart TV, there are a few features to look out for that will ensure you get the best service:

  • Works on smart TVs. Depending on your smart TV, there are a few ways a VPN can be compatible. If your TV runs on an Android TV operating system (many smart TVs do), then all you’ll need is a VPN that has an app for Android TV, or Amazon Fire (if you're using a Fire Stick).
  • Extensive server list. You might want to unblock content from a range of different regions, whether that’s American Netflix, the UK’s BBC iPlayer, or something else. If so, you’ll need a VPN that has a big number of fast servers in locations all over the world.
  • Unblocks streaming sites. If the VPN is no good at unblocking content in the first place, you’ll be stuck! All the major content platforms actively find and block sub-par VPNs from accessing their content. That’s why you need to make sure you pick a VPN that consistently unblocks content, which all the VPNs on this list do.
  • Fast connections. Speed is another vital feature to look out for. Without fast connections and efficient tunneling protocols like WireGuard, you might still find your streams suffer from buffer and slowdown.

How to set up a VPN on smart TVs

There are a few methods of connecting a VPN to your smart TV. Here, we’ll show you the steps you'll need to take for the main options. With our help, you’ll have a VPN on your smart TV in no time.

Setting up a VPN on an Android TV

If you’ve got an Android TV smart TV, you’re in luck. You can connect a VPN in a few easy steps.

  1. Open up the Google Play store on your smart TV.
  2. Find the app of your chosen VPN - we think NordVPN, is the best.
  3. Download the VPN and set up an account
  4. Once you’re installed and logged in, connect to a server
  5. Now you’re setup ready to go!

Setting up a VPN on a router

If your smart TV does not run on Android TV, you won’t be able to download an app directly. But what you can do is set the VPN up your router instead. This way, all devices that go through your wifi (smart TV included) will be able to use the VPN.

However, installation is not always easy. It’s important to complete the installation process correctly or you could end up messing up your router. Also, the process differs for different router types. Luckily, we’ve selected VPNs that give you detailed tutorials to guide you through router setup with easy to follow instructions.

The support page of the VPN you choose is the place to find their specific instructions, but generally the steps will include:

  1. Finding out the model and firmware of your router
  2. Noting down the router’s IP address
  3. Getting into the configuration settings of your router
  4. Uploading specific VPN firmware to the router
  5. Adding in your VPNs server information

The best VPNs will always have step-by-step instructions to help you get this done as simply as possible.

Sharing a VPN connection over wifi

Another option is to share your VPN connection by using your computer as a virtual router. Then you can connect your smart TV to the computer via wifi, or ethernet cable (you’ll get a faster connection with an ethernet cable).

This option is easier than the router installation method, but you’ll find the VPN's performance will be worse.

Here’s what you need to do:

Sharing a VPN connection on Windows 10

  1. Install a VPN on your PC. We recommend NordVPN
  2. Head to Settings > Network & Internet > Mobile Hotspot
  3. Switch it On
  4. Return to Settings > Network and Internet, then press Change adapter options
  5. Right-click your VPN’s adapter, then open Properties > Sharing
  6. Enable the Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s internet connection setting
  7. Go to Home Networking Connection and find your hotspot connection
  8. Load up your VPN
  9. Connect to a server
  10. Then just go to your smart TV’s connection settings, connect to your mobile hotspot and you’re all done!

Sharing a VPN connection on macOS

  1. Note down your chosen VPN’s account credentials
  2. Set L2TP/IPsec on your Mac (note that not all VPNs support this protocol)
  3. Now go to System Preferences > Sharing
  4. Click into the Internet Sharing menu
  5. Pick your VPN from the drop-down menu
  6. Hit the “To computers using” Wi-Fi option
  7. In the Wi-Fi Options menu, make a Wi-Fi password
  8. Head back to Internet Sharing, click Enable
  9. Launch the VPN
  10. Switch on your smart TV and connect to the Mac via your TV’s Wi-Fi settings

Using Smart DNS

Setting up the Smart DNS feature might differ from VPN to VPN, and also depending on what brand your smart TV is. But generally, the process will likely be the following steps:

  1. Download and set up a VPN. NordVPN is recommended.
  2. Go to the VPN’s dashboard, then to the Smart DNS settings and register your IP address
  3. Make a note of your new DNS code
  4. On your smart TV, head to Settings, then Network > Network status
  5. Check your Network status
  6. Once the check is done, press IP Settings
  7. Now choose the Enter manually option
  8. Put in the DNS code you got earlier
  9. You’re now all set! Head to a streaming app and unblock a new region’s content to enjoy

Can I use a free VPN for smart TV?

There are plenty of free VPNs out there, but does that mean you should use one? Short answer - no.

Free VPNs really don’t compare to paid VPN services. They lack features, restrict use, and maybe even hide some unwelcome surprises.

VPNs that are completely free still need to make money, and this means adverts galore. Not only will a free VPN have a limited range of servers, and will be poor at unblocking streaming sites. Not only that, their apps will also be riddled with annoying ads. Free VPNs are also known to collect user data and then sell this off to third parties - another way to recoup the money they don’t make on subscription fees. Finally, some free VPNs can even contain malware - something you really don’t want on your device.

Another option is the free version of a trusted VPN, aka the freemium version. Whilst you won’t have the risk of malware or your data being sold on, freemium VPNs have limitations, such as how much data you can download/upload, and so on.

Paid VPNs can cost less than $2 a month! For such a small cost, it’s not really worth getting a considerably worse service with a free VPN.

Final thoughts

Smart TVs are excellent. You can have more entertainment at the click of a remote than ever before. All your favourite streaming sites and TV channels have apps for your smart TV. But to get even more out of it, you need to get a VPN.

With a VPN that’s compatible with your smart TV, you can unblock geo-restricted content from all the major streaming platforms, and watch it directly on your smart TV! Not only that, but you can also improve your speeds with a fast, stable connection, and say goodbye to buffering and slowdowns forever.

VPNs are cheap and easy to use. Most of the time, it will just be a case of downloading an app from a VPN provider to your TV and connecting.

These tools also offer a range of other useful features including security and privacy - with such affordable prices, using a VPN service is pretty much a no-brainer.

FAQ


More VPN guides from CyberNews:

CyberGhost vs. NordVPN comparison: stop wondering which service is better, find the answer here

ExpressVPN vs NordVPN comparison: discover which is the best of the best VPNs

ExpressVPN vs Private Internet Access comparison: the big against he fast, which will remain victorious?


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