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What Is the Best VPN for Smart TVs in 2020?

If you’ve used streaming services with your Smart TV you may have noticed that content you stream is restricted by region.

This is where a VPN comes in.

Using a VPN with your Smart TV can open up access to geographically restricted content meaning you can see more shows on Netflix, Amazon Prime and hundreds of other services.

What’s more a VPN keeps what you stream private from your ISP and advertisers.

However, not all VPNs work with all streaming services, some are slow and others do a poor job of protecting your privacy.

In this article, I’ll share information on the 5 best VPNs for use with your smart TV set. 

While not all of these providers will offer an app for your particular television make and model, all 5 are compatible with a large number of Wi-Fi routers. This means they not only protect and enhance your Smart TV viewing, they also do the same for all of your other connected devices.

Some of these VPN providers also offer “Smart DNS” services, which, while not encrypting your internet connection, do allow you to access geo-blocked content. I’ll let you know when a VPN provider offers this service.

Finally, while Roku and some other Smart TV makers do not currently allow VPN apps on their devices, it’s still possible to protect and enhance your viewing sessions by using a VPN. I’ll share more about that later.

How to Use a VPN With Your SmartTV

To use a VPN with your Smart TV set, follow these steps:

  1. Subscribe to a reliable VPN provider. (ExpressVPN is my #1 pick.)
  2. Install the VPN’s app on your Smart TV or on your home router.
  3. Log into the VPN service.
  4. Select a VPN server located inside the country whose content you wish to access. Or, if you’re simply looking to protect your in-country content access, select a server inside your own country.
  5. Enjoy your secure and enhanced viewing!

Best VPNs for Use With Smart TVs

These 5 VPN services have proven to provide the best VPN protection and enhancement for Smart TVs:

  1. ExpressVPN: This is my top choice for best VPN to use with your Smart TV. The provider offers arguably the best set of options for Smart TV usage, as it offers apps for both the Android TV and Amazon Fire TV platforms. It also offers excellent compatibility with numerous makes and models of routers. It also offers a Smart DNS service.
  2. NordVPN: This low-priced provider also offers multiple options for Smart TV owners thanks to an Android TV app (which also works on the Amazon Fire TV) and top-notch router compatibility. Plus, if you blew most of your bankroll on your new Smart TV, you’ll appreciate this provider’s low annual pricing.
  3. CyberGhost: Users who are new to the VPN world will appreciate this provider’s easy-to-use apps, which include offerings for the Android TV and Fire TV platforms, a Smart DNS feature for non-compatible sets, and comprehensive router support.
  4. VyprVPN: This provider owns and operates its global server network, providing an extra layer of privacy for its users. It offers an Android TV and Android Fire TV version of its app, and compatibility with numerous makes and models of routers.
  5. Surfshark: This VPN provider is rather new on the scene. The budding provider offers Amazon Fire TV compatibility, but lacks an Android TV app. However, the provider does offer a Smart DNS service and compatibility with a goodly number of home routers. The provider offers an unlimited simultaneous devices connection policy.

When ranking the best VPNs to use with your Smart TV device, I considered the following factors:

  • Android TV or Amazon Fire TV support
  • Router support
  • Smart DNS server
  • Global server coverage
  • Download speeds
  • Security and privacy protections
  • Customer support

Here is my list of the top 5 best VPNs for Smart TVs:

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN Dec 2020

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.ExpressVPN.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

ExpressVPN ranks as the top VPN for Smart TVs thanks to its comprehensive app offerings, advanced features, Smart DNS server IP offering and excellent router compatibility.

The provider offers excellent Smart TV support thanks to its native Android TV and Amazon Fire TV apps. If your Smart TV doesn’t run either operating system, you can take advantage of the provider’s excellent router compatibility, as well as its MediaStreamer Smart DNS service to provide access to geo-blocked content.

Apps are also available for the Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, Chromebook and Linux platforms. Browser extensions for the Firefox and Chrome platforms are also available. Up to 5 devices can connect simultaneously to the service on the same set of login credentials.

The provider’s global server network of 3,000+ servers in 94 countries, providing reliable, safe access to geo-blocked content, including streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer and numerous others.

Streaming video needs fast connections, and ExpressVPN delivers plenty of speed for all your streaming needs. The provider’s download speeds are HD- and 4K-ready, and can also easily handle online gaming and file sharing. You never need worry that a data cap will cut your favorite show off in mid-stream.

Those speedy connections are well protected thanks to ExpressVPN’s bank-level encryption, a kill switch, and DNS and IPv6 leak prevention. As for privacy, the provider keeps no server logs and accepts the private Bitcoin cryptocurrency as payment for subscriptions.

Installing an app or otherwise setting up your Smart TV can sometimes be a bit more involved than just simply installing an app, so ExpressVPN’s 24/7 customer support might come in handy. It includes always-available support chat, a trouble ticket system, email support and a searchable support database.

Pros:

  • Amazon Fire TV and Android TV app support
  • Router and Smart DNS server support
  • Fast download speeds
  • Comprehensive privacy and security protections
  • Always-available customer support

Cons:

  • Costs more than many other VPN providers

BEST VPN FOR SMART TVS:ExpressVPN is your best bet for enhancing and protecting your Smart TV viewing. The provider’s easy-to-use apps, 4K-capable connections and wide-ranging global server network all add up to optimal enhancement of your Smart TV experience. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.

Read my full review of ExpressVPN.

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2. NordVPN

NordVPN

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.NordVPN.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

If buying your new Smart TV took a good chunk out of your checking account, you likely wouldn’t mind saving a few bucks here and there. NordVPN offers optimal VPN protection at a low annual price.

NordVPN offers a native Android TV app (which also works on the Amazon Fire TV), top-notch router compatibility, but no Smart DNS option. Apps are also available for the Android, Amazon Fire, iOS, macOS, Linux and Windows platforms. Chrome and Firefox browser extensions are available. Up to 6 concurrent connections are allowed on a single VPN username.

With 5,600+ servers located in 59 countries, the service provides reliable access to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and other popular streamers.

NordVPN’s connection speeds are admittedly slower than the other providers on this list, but they are more than up to handling HD streams, as well as online gaming, file sharing or anything else you might enjoy online. No data caps spoil the fun.

NordVPN provides military-grade encryption, kill switch protection, and DNS leak prevention to protect your internet connection. 

The provider also has your privacy covered with a strict no-logs policy on its servers, as well as a cryptocurrency subscription payment option.

Around-the-clock support is available via 24/7 support chat, email support and a searchable support knowledge base.

Pros:

  • Servers in 59 countries
  • Support for both Amazon Fire TV and Android TV
  • Excellent security and privacy
  • Budget-priced annual subscriptions

Cons:

  • Slowest VPN connection speeds on this list

BEST BUDGET-PRICED SMART TV VPN:Budget-minded Smart TV owners will appreciate this provider’s budget annual pricing. The provider delivers robust online protection as well as reliable access to blocked content around the globe. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.

Read my full review of NordVPN.

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3. CyberGhost

Cyberghost

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.CyberGhost.com

Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS

Smart TV owners who don’t have much experience in using VPNs, or Smart TV viewers who are looking for a simple method of protecting and enhancing their viewing experience, should take a close look at CyberGhost.

The provider offers easy-to-use native apps for both the Android TV and Amazon Fire TV platforms. In addition, the provider offers comprehensive home router support to protect your other types of Smart TVs and streaming boxes. A SmartDNS service also provides access to blocked content, but lacks encryption.

Apps are also available for the iOS, macOS, Linux and Windows platforms. Browser extensions are available for Chrome and Firefox. Up to 7 devices can connect at once on the same login.

The provider has over 5,700 servers located in 89 countries. A large number of those servers are optimized for streaming from various streaming video services around the world. File sharing-optimized servers are also available.

Those servers supply more than enough download speed to handle 4K and HD streaming, sharing of large files and even online gaming. No data caps are ever imposed.

The connections are protected using government-grade encryption, kill switch protection, and DNS/IPv6 leak prevention. Some of CyberGhost’s apps offer ad and online tracking blocking, as well as protection from malicious websites.

Privacy is well-served by this provider due to its around-the-clock support chat, email support, trouble ticket system and searchable support library.

Pros:

  • Streaming-optimized servers around the globe
  • 4K-capable download speeds
  • No server logs; Bitcoin accepted
  • Android TV and Amazon Fire TV apps available

Cons:

  • Apps may lack some options advanced users look for

EASY-TO-USE VPN OPTION:CyberGhost is the best option for newbie VPN users who are looking for optimal protection for their Smart TV streaming sessions. Streaming-optimized servers offer reliable access to major streaming services around the globe. A 45-day, no-risk money-back guarantee is available.

Read my full review of CyberGhost.

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4. VyprVPN

VyprVPN

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.VyprVPN.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

VyprVPN offers top-notch protection and enhancement for your Smart TV viewing activities. The provider owns and operates its entire global server network. More about what that means later.

VyprVPN offers apps for both Android TV and Amazon Fire TV, which can connect to your Smart TV. The provider also offers apps for the Android, Amazon Fire, macOS, iOS and Windows device platforms. Support is available for multiple router platforms. 5 devices can connect concurrently per account dashboard.

VyprVPN has 700+ proprietary servers placed in 65 countries around the globe. The provider’s owning and operating its global server network means it offers an extra layer of privacy protection, as no third-party contractors have access to customer information.

VyprVPN connections speeds put them somewhere in the middle of a fast pack of providers, with download speeds that can easily handle streaming, gaming and file sharing. Any data caps won’t spoil the fun.

Those connections are well-protected thanks to military-level encryption, kill switch protection, custom DNS servers, and a proprietary “Chameleon” encryption protocol that helps disguise your VPN usage.

The provider keeps no logs on its servers, but fails to offer a truly private subscription payment method, such as Bitcoin.

Always-available customer support includes 24/7 customer support in the form of always-on support chat, email support, a support contact form and a searchable support library.

Pros:

  • Apps for Amazon Fire TV and Android TV
  • No server logs are ever kept
  • Proprietary global server network

Cons:

  • More expensive than many other providers
  • No truly private payment option

OFFERS EXTRA LAYER OF PRIVACY:VyprVPN’s self-owned and operated server farms provide a valuable extra level of privacy by keeping outside contractors away from your personal information. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.

Read my full review of VyprVPN.

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5. Surfshark

SurfShark VPN

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.Surfshark.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

Surfshark doesn’t offer an Android TV app, but it does provide Amazon Fire TV compatibility, and can enhance your Android TV and other Smart TV viewing sessions via your home router or via the provider’s smart DNS service.

While this provider’s direct Smart TV VPN app support is limited to Amazon Fire TV sets, it does offer a Smart TV DNS service allowing other Smart TV users to access geo-blocked content. However, keep in mind that the DNS service does not provide encrypted connection protection like the VPN service does.

The provider offers apps for Android, Linux, iOS, Windows, macOS and Amazon Fire tablet platforms. Extensive router support is also available. The provider places no limits on its concurrent connections.

The provider has a spread-thin-but-growing global server network made up of over 1,000 servers stationed in over 61 countries. While that’s thin compared to other providers, those numbers are almost double what they were this time last year. The network provides reliable access to geo-blocked services like Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and many others.

The provider’s connections deliver more than enough bandwidth for high-definition streaming, online gaming and file sharing. No data caps to worry about at this provider.

Banking-grade encryption, a kill switch, and “Multi-Hop,” which routes your internet traffic through dual VPN servers for added protection, all team up to protect your connection.

Surfshark never keeps any server logs, and the provider accepts Bitcoin to keep your payment info anonymous.

Around-the-clock support includes 24/7 live chat, a support request form and a searchable knowledge base.

Pros:

  • Expanding global server network
  • No limits on simultaneous connections
  • Excellent security and privacy protections

Cons:

  • No Android TV app
  • Monthly subscription price is expensive

PERFECT FOR OWNERS OF MULTIPLE SMART TVS:Surfshark provides optimal protection and enhancement for Smart TV viewers. The provider offers a fast-growing server network that provides optimal viewing enhancement for folks with Smart TVs in every room of the house (you know who you are). A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.

Read my full review of Surfshark.

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My Smart TV Maker Doesn’t Allow Apps. What Now?

What if you own a Smart TV that doesn’t allow you to install a VPN app? This can include Roku-based sets, as well as sets made by Vizio, some Samsung models, some LG TVs and many other brands.

If you are unable to install your provider’s app on your smart set, you can always take advantage of the provider’s router compatibility. 

By using a VPN-enabled router, you can protect all of the connected devices on your network, not just the devices that have VPN apps available. All of the providers on this list offer compatibility with at least a few routers.

Plus, you can also access geo-blocked streaming content by using a provider’s “smart DNS” service. While a smart DNS service doesn’t encrypt your online activities, it does open access to restricted content.

Can I Use a Free VPN With My Smart TV?

This is where I usually say something like “sure, you can find a free VPN that will work with (insert name of device or service here), but…” Not this time.

It is extremely likely that you will not find a free VPN that offers a smart TV app or that is compatible with routers to protect your connected devices.

Besides, if you’re using a free VPN, you may be forced to cool your heels in a virtual waiting room before being allowed to connect to a VPN server. Then, once you’re given the green light to connect, you’re either connected to a server of the provider’s choice or you’ll have a limited selection to choose from.

Plus, many free VPNs will throttle their free users’ connection speeds to preserve bandwidth for their paid users. And, many free VPNs impose severe daily or monthly data caps on their customers’ usage. Neither of these are exactly copacetic to streaming video.

Also, your privacy isn’t well served when using a free VPN.

Even a “free” VPN is a for-profit proposition, meaning they need to make an income somehow. Some free VPNs will insert unwanted tracking cookies and advertisements into their customers’ browsing sessions.

Still other freebie VPNs have been found to monitor their users’ online travels, create a log with that info, and sell it to interested third parties, like advertisers.

Give up two or three lattes each month, and you can afford a reliable VPN provider.

What Advantages Does a VPN Offer?

A VPN offers protection for all of your devices’ online activities, while enhancing the access you have to geo-blocked Internet content around the globe.

A VPN provides encrypted protection for your internet traffic, preventing outside parties from monitoring your online activities.

Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) loves to track your online travels, because they can collect that information and sell it to advertisers and other interested parties. Hackers love to monitor your activities because they can steal your personal info, like credit card info. The government loves to monitor your online antics because, well, they’re the government; it’s what they do.

That same encryption that prevents your ISP from monitoring you also prevents it from throttling or blocking your connection simply because you’re sharing files or streaming channels from “unapproved” streaming services.

Plus, encryption is particularly important if you use a public Wi-Fi hotspot, such as you’ll find at a hotel or local coffee shop. Those hotspots are usually unencrypted, making it easy for hackers to monitor the online activities of everyone who connects to the hotspot, allowing them to steal your credit card and banking info, as well as logins for websites.

A VPN also offers the ability to “spoof” your geographical location by temporarily assigning a new IP address to your device. This unblocks geo-blocked Internet content that might normally be unavailable to users in your region. This can include video and music streaming application services, gaming content and financial sites.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a way to enhance your Smart TV viewing, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is arguably the best way to do so. By using a VPN – like my #1 choice, ExpressVPN – you can enhance your viewing binges, while also protecting the online activities of all of your connected devices from being observed.

ExpressVPN offers optimal online protection for all of your online activities, offering fast, encrypted VPN connections for streaming music and video, playing online games, or sharing files of all types. In addition, the provider’s global server network provides access to content you might typically miss out on.

For more information, visit the ExpressVPN website.

Smart TV VPN Q&A

Can You Put a VPN on a Samsung Smart TV?

Samsung Smart TVs are not able to run VPN apps. However, you can install a VPN on your home router, which allows you to gain VPN access on your Smart TV. Another option is to use a service like ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer service.

MediaStreamer allows you to access geo-blocked content just like the provider’s VPN service does, although it does lack the encrypted protection for your connection offered by the provider’s VPN service. For more information about MediaStreamer, visit the ExpressVPN website.

How to Mirror a Smart TV When Using a VPN?

You can also mirror your smartphone or tablet display to your smart TV. Both Android and iOS devices allow this. Many smart TVs allow mirroring an external display to the TV screen, either via AirPlay (on iOS devices) or via Chromecast support on Android (and in some iOS streaming apps).

This allows users to run a VPN app on their mobile device to unblock geo-blocked content and view it on the big screen of their smart TV.

How to Change Netflix Accounts on a Smart TV?

You can change your Netflix account on your Smart TV, by using one of two methods. You can either navigate left to the left from the Netflix home screen to select “Settings” and log out of one account and sign into another.

If you don’t see a “Settings” option do this: Using the arrows on your remote, do the following: Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, Up, Up, Up, Up. Select “Sign out.” You can then login with another account.

Which is Better For Online Streaming: VPN or SmartDNS?

If you’re only looking to access geo-blocked content, I recommend investigating the advantages of a SmartDNS service, which offers online content unblocking power and may result in a faster connection, due to the reduced overhead of no connection encryption.

However, if you’re interested in protecting your online viewing habits from being tracked, and you want to access any streaming service without worrying about your ISP throttling or blocking your connection, I recommend a VPN.


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