IPTV gives you access to television shows over the internet. HD TV gives a high quality picture and it is available online from many TV stations. However, HD TV requires more code than regular video quality necessitating higher throughput speeds. If you travel abroad to less developed countries, you may find the local internet service is not as fast as the speeds that you get at home and barely sufficient for HD.
Internet users in Europe, North America, and East Asia are very lucky. The majority of the world struggles along with slow internet speeds. If you want to stream the Ultra HD service of Netflix, you will need a transfer rate of at least 25 Megabits per second. So even in locations with good internet service, you may discover that, when channeled through a wifi router, your own home service is pushed to its limits in order to deliver your IPTV streams.
If you want to stream video over the internet and watch live shows in HD, then you really can’t afford to let anything slow down your connection. When accessing IPTV from another country, those long distance connections will probably be slower and you will find that overseas video streaming services block access as soon as they detect that you are in another country.
A VPN will resolve the problem of getting around blocks on international access to IPTV content. However, not every VPN service in the world will be good enough to stream HD quality video in real time. These are the key attributes that you need to look out for when selecting a VPN service to access HD video from IPTV services.
- Fast speeds
- Servers in the countries that you want to access TV from
- Good customer support
- Service for mobile devices
- Ability to dodge regional restrictions
- Keep your browsing private
With the above criteria in mind, we have put together a list of the five best VPN services for HD-quality IPTV:
ExpressVPN is one of the fastest VPN services on the planet. This is the leading VPN service in the world and it got that reputation by getting the best performance on every attribute that the general public needs from a VPN. For example, it is the best VPN service for free access to the internet from China and other countries where the internet is heavily controlled. The company has a wide server network which has a presence in 94 countries.
This VPN is very good at getting around the regional restrictions imposed on access to video and IPTV sites. The VPN can get you into the US library for Netflix from outside the country. It can also get cross-border access to the Netflix libraries for the UK, Canada, and Germany. You can access Hulu content for both the USA and Japan with ExpressVPN and you can also get into Sky Go and Amazon Prime from abroad with this VPN service. The company is also able to get into the major TV services around the globe including the BBC iPlayer.
The requirement for high speeds for HD streaming do not present a problem for ExpressVPN and you will be able to watch IPTV without interruptions for buffering or breaks in transmission from anywhere in the world.
You don’t have to be a technology guru in order to install ExpressVPN because the file that you download from the company’s site will install the app automatically for you onto Windows, Mac OS X, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Amazon Fire and some router types. For set top boxes, and other routers you can install the VPN service manually. The company also offers a MediaStreamer service, a proxy tool that dodges regional restrictions without any encryption. That service can be installed on the Xbox as well as Amazon devices, set-top boxes, and routers. The company also offers browser extension versions of the VPN that install on Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.
If you aren’t very good with technology, the round-the-clock online Help Desk will come in handy. The company is able to solve problems quickly and has a back office team of technical experts to solve really complicated problems.
Overall, customers are very happy with the ExpressVPN service and the company knows it. This is why they are prepared to offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. You get an allowance of three simultaneous connections to the service, so that’s great for loading the VPN on your router and also having it operating on your mobile devices for when you are out and about.
Read our full review of ExpressVPN.
NordVPN is a popular choice for those in China who want to get IPTV video streams from outside the country. The system is very secure and so the snoops that enforce the Great Firewall of China won’t be able to block your access to overseas sites. That is particularly good news if you have a Netflix subscription because Netflix is not normally accessible in the People’s Republic.
We have tested the performance of NordVPN with Netflix and found that it can get you into the libraries for the USA, the UK, Canada, France, and India from outside those countries. If you like Hulu, you can use NordVPN to get into video streams from the USA and Japan. NordVPN can get you into ABC in the USA and ITV and Channel 4 in the UK even when you are outside those countries.
The server network of NordVPN is very large. It operates a total of 3,657 servers in 62 countries. One problem with the NordVPN app, however, is that it doesn’t allow you to specify a city location — you can only choose a country. That may present a problem when you are trying to work around the blackouts of sports streaming services from the USA.
You can connect to the NordVPN service six times concurrently. That means you can install the VPN client on a lot of different devices and have them running all at the same time. This is especially generous given that a router installation counts as just one connection while it channels traffic to all of the devices in your home. There isn’t a self-installing app for wi-fi routers; you have to set up the VPN manually on them. However, the NordVPN website contains detailed instructions on how to install the system on 29 router types. You can also set up the VPN manually on set-top boxes and Linux computers.
When you want to use NordVPN on Windows, Mac OS X, macOS, Android, and iOS devices, things get a whole lot easier because the company provides self-installing apps for those operating systems. If you want to keep apps on your computer outside of the VPN tunnel and just protect your browser traffic, you can opt to use the NordVPN browser extension for Chrome or Firefox instead of the app.
NordVPN’s Help Desk isn’t available live. However, the Customer Support team responds quickly to queries posted through the Contact form on the website, or sent directly to them via email.
Read our full review of NordVPN.
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CyberGhost offers very good speeds on international connections and that makes this service a good choice for streaming IPTV in HD. The app for the VPN opens with an activity screen. One of the pre-set activities that you can select is streaming video. Once you select that option, the app will reconfigure itself to optimize the service for internet TV access. CyberGhost can get you into the Netflix USA library from outside the country and it can also get you into the top TV station online streaming services.
The session establishment encryption of CyberGhost is very strong. That makes it a good option for China and other countries, such as Iran and Saudi Arabia, where the government monitors and blocks internet activity. Fortunately, that security doesn’t slow down connections, so this is also a good choice for internet telephony and chat apps as well as HD video streaming.
CyberGhost operates servers in 54 countries and has a total of 204 servers in the USA. The app enables you to specify a city location when you connect and CyberGhost’s US servers are distributed around 19 cities. That will help you when you are streaming sports in HD from the USA.
The app for CyberGhost is the most stylish on the market. The company’s branding features a cartoon ghost and cool graphics, which appear in all of its presentations from its website right through to the app. You don’t need any technical skills to install the app. You just click on a button on the website to get a download and then click on the downloaded file when it gets on your computer and then the app will install itself. The app is available for computers running the Windows, Mac OS X, and macOS operating systems. If you want to install the VPN on your mobile device, CyberGhost provides apps for Android and iOS.
If your computer has the Linux operating system you can still use the CyberGhost VPN, but you will have to install it manually and launch it from the command line. You can also install the VPN on flashed routers. CyberGhost gives you an allowance of five simultaneous connections and a router installation counts as just one of those.
The CyberGhost website includes a comprehensive Knowledge Base. You can contact the Help Desk through the app, through a form on the CyberGhost website, or directly by email.
Read our full Cyberghost review.
IPVanish gives consistently high speeds. In fact, in our tests, IPVanish turned out to be the fastest provider of all of the VPNs that we monitor. The company owns and manages all of its own infrastructure and invested heavily in high speed connections. This is a good choice for a VPN to channel IPTV through Kodi and most of the major TV channels in the world can be accessed over the internet with the mediation of IPVanish. Those stations include NBC and CBS in the United States and ITV and Channel 4 in the UK. If you’ve got Netflix, you can get into the Netflix USA library from outside the country with the assistance of IPVanish.
If you like to stream sports from the USA, you need to have a choice of locations within that country so that you can dodge the blackouts on service that sports broadcasters impose when your local team is playing, be that home or away. IPVanish has servers in 17 US cities, so that gives you plenty of opportunities to appear to be in a city other than the one that your favorite team comes from. The company has a total of 417 servers in the USA and a presence in 60 countries worldwide.
The app for the VPN works well on mobile devices, so if you are traveling and you rely on public wifi hotspots for your internet connection, you can install the system on Android and iOS devices. The company also produces apps for Windows, Mac OS X, macOS, and Amazon Fire. You can manually install the IPVanish VPN on Linux computers, flashed routers, and set-top boxes.
The company gives each customer an allowance of five simultaneous connections and if you install the system on your home router, that will cover all of the TV streaming devices in your home, while only counting as one of that concurrent connection allowance.
The Help Desk of IPVanish doesn’t offer live chat; however, the website has a comprehensive Knowledge Base to help you fix problems and you can contact the Customer Support team through a form on the site.
Read our full review of IPVanish.
Swedish-based PrivateVPN was created by torrenting enthusiasts and activists for internet freedom. They made privacy a big feature of the service. PrivateVPN is also good for streaming TV in HD. It offers good speeds and has a lightweight, easy-to-use app. This service can get you into Netflix USA, UK, Canada, Japan, Spain, Brazil, Italy, and France. It can also help you access the world’s major TV station online streaming services.
You can use the PrivateVPN service in China. However, the company warns that its regular OpenVPN service is blocked there. They offer the faster L2TP VPN system for customers who are behind the Great Firewall of China. The company runs servers in 55 countries and it has a presence in nine cities in the USA. You are able to specify a city preference when you connect to the VPN service, so PrivateVPN will help you to get around blackouts on sports streaming systems.
The self-installing app of PrivateVPN is available for the Windows, Mac OS X, macOS, iOS, and Android operating systems. You need to install the VPN manually on Linux computers and routers. A router implementation counts as one connection while it covers all of the devices in your home. In total, you are allowed six concurrent connections to the service.
Don’t worry about PrivateVPN being based in Sweden. All of the support staff speak perfect English and the website is very well written. The website’s Knowledge Base should be able to help you with any problems you might face and you can get live support through the website during Swedish business hours. The Customer Support team is very competent. As a last resort, they deploy remote access software that lets a technician take over your computer and fix any problems that you might be facing.
PrivateVPN offers all customers a 30-day no-questions money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of PrivateVPN
IPTV streaming problems
Although you might be used to streaming video at home or on your mobile device during your daily commute, you might not have encountered one of the major problems of online video access, which is the issue of international access blocks.
If you search for HD video from abroad, you will discover that there are a lot more entertainment options out there than just the regular TV channels that you watch on your TV at home. The only problem is that those video services won’t let you access their content if you don’t live in the same country as them. Even services that require a subscription won’t let you watch their videos from abroad. So, you might think that these great entertainment streaming companies have decided to lose out on a lot of potential viewers, just out of laziness.
There are several very good reasons that video streaming services restrict access to their libraries by country. The two biggest reasons are legal. Video delivery systems have to buy-in their content. Producers of entertainment sell the rights to show their productions by country. So, different TV companies own the rights to show the same show, but in different countries. Broadcasting companies have to commit to restricting access to videos to only those people located in the countries that are written into the contract. In order to enforce this obligation, video streaming services block access from overseas.
The second legal reason relates to national broadcast licensing. Governments allow only authorized companies to show entertainment within their borders. Not only that, but all content shown in a country has to be approved by the government. This rule applies in all countries in the world, not just strict nations, such as Iran or Indonesia. Even though you may see the same show scheduled for broadcast in different countries, the video that is available in each place is different.
Broadcasters and produces of entertainment have to edit their content to comply with the laws of each county. In some cases, the show might be so far from what anyone is legally allowed to show in a country that it just isn’t feasible to cut out all of the illegal bits and no one will broadcast that show in that place. Online video streaming services can be sued, and its employees might be sent to prison if their content is shown in places where that edit breaches local laws.
VPNs can get around these access restrictions. So, even though the government of China doesn’t want you to watch US documentaries, their efforts to block the stream of video are nullified by the privacy protection that the secure encrypted VPN tunnel provides.
Related: How to unblock video streaming sites
Video streaming VPNs
Not all VPNs will help you when you want to stream video from abroad. The technology involved in protecting video streams, adapting the service whenever a TV service upgrades its blocking technology, and providing adequate speed for streaming high quality HD video costs money. Some VPN services don’t even try to get into video streaming services that have tough access restrictions. Online TV sites don’t just block access from overseas, but they also take every available measure to detect and block VPN traffic.
A VPN service that is free or very cheap may seem attractive. The problem is, they aren’t any good. There isn’t any way that a genuine VPN company could provide a service that breaks through access blocks and is capable of carrying HD video without charging.
Many free and cheap VPN services are not being completely honest with their users. They cover their costs and make profit by other means. For example, some so-called VPNs don’t include any encryption, which means that their advertisers are lying when they call them VPNs. Free and cheap VPNs make money by selling the personal information of their customers. Others inject paid adverts into the sites that users access and allow paying marketers to monitor the activities of the VPN’s customers. There are even a few “VPNs” that appropriate the internet bandwidth of their users and sell that capacity onto paying customers — letting other people route their traffic through your computer.
Although you can get a list of VPNs from a search engine, just getting names of VPNs doesn’t give you access to competent services for HD video streaming. There are hundreds of VPNs on the market and very few of them are any good. It takes a long time to learn about communications technologies and test all the VPNs in the world. This is why we wrote this article about the best VPNs for streaming IPTV in HD — to save you time.
Here is a list of ten popular IPTV providers.
Warning: the legality of many IPTV services has been called in to question. The IPTV services listed just below are fully legal, and some are even free to use. However, you’ll find a list of IPTV to avoid at the bottom of our article as well.
Xumo is a free IPTV service that offers over 100 live channles. You’ll find content from major news networks like Bloomberg, Newsy, Cheddar, CBC, and MSNBC, as well as sports content from option like Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, PGA, NCAA Football. There are even unique, 24/7 movie channels like Filmrise, and Hi-Yah, as well as TV channels for kids.
Xumo has apps for a large number of devices, as well as a plugin available for Kodi users.
Xumo may need a VPN to work in some international locations, however.
Pluto TV is similar to Xumo. It offers over 100 live TV channels for free. You can watch it on the web or through a plugin for Kodi. The only difference between Pluto.TV and Xumo are some of the unique channels, so you may find it useful to get both downloaded on your favorite device.
You’ll also find Pluto.TV is blocked in many locations outside of the US, so a VPN will be required to get easy access in many locations.
Sling TV is one of the most popular IPTV streaming services around — and one of the oldest. It’s a current leader in the “cord-cutting” movement and offers over 40 channels for $25 per month. There are three channel packages to choose from, and you’ll get a mixture of sports, entertainment, news, and local TV through the platform.
You’ll find Sling TV is blocked outside of the US, however, and signing up will require US payment information. But if you’re traveling, you can still sign up via a VPN and using your current US-based account information.
Hulu with Live TV
Hulu’s on-demand service is just another feature with Hulu with Live TV. Through this $40 per month service, you’ll get over 50 channels, including local networks, sports channels like ESPN, and entertainment networks like AMC, History, Discovery and more.
Hulu is also one of the most feature-rich options, offering a 50-hour cloud DVR, 2 simultaneous streams per account, and apps that function with a wide set of devices, including the Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.
As with most US-based streaming options, you’ll need US payment information to sign up, and you’ll need a VPN to stream anything while outside the US.
A free service that also offers a paid option, USTVnow offers a handful of channels for free (ABC, CBS, NBC, My9, CW), with a few hit networks on offer for those willing to pay around $29 per month.
However, the good thing about USTVnow is that you can indeed get it anywhere internationally. That’s because USTVnow is specifically designed for US military members overseas. That means you don’t even need a VPN to access its free or paid content while outside the US.
IPTV providers to avoid
Some IPTV providers offer what is essentially a “good to be true” deal. They deliver hundreds, and sometimes thousands of television channels over the web, often for less than 20 per month. These types of services are regularly found to be infringing on copyrights, as they often avoid paying the carriage fees required to offer these channels.
While we cannot verify whether or not these services are operating in that manner, the following popular IPTV options fit into the “too good to be true” category.
Insight TV claims to offer over 1,500 channels for a low cost: only $75 for a one-year subscription. The service only takes payment in Euros, and only allows for payments to be received in 3, 6, or 12 month subscription periods.
There is no official app on any reputable streaming device for this service.
RocketStreams states that it offers over 1,500 channels, with a subscription cost that comes in at just under $80 per year for a 12-month subscription.
You will not find an app for RocketStreams on any streaming device or operating system.
IPTV Forest states that it offers a somewhat surprising 6,000+ channels, with over 500 Arabic channels and over 400 UK channels. The cost of this? Only $10 per month, which is a bit hard to fathom for the what it’s claiming to offer.
There are no official apps for this service.
Premium IPTV’s benefits seem fairly clear on the surface. It only streams in HD, claims to offer more than 3,000 channels and has an on-demand section with over 4,000 movies. It also offers all of that for a suspiciously low price of just $17 per month, or $112 per year.
The company processes payments through PayPal and charges in Euros. You can take out a subscription for one month for 15 Euros ($17), two months for 19 Euros ($22), six months for 59 Euros ($70), or a year for 95 Euros ($112). You probably won’t be likely to sign up for the one year package because, at just 4 Euros more, you can get a lifetime subscription for 99 Euros ($117).
Besides paid IPTV services, there are many free IPTV streaming options. However, none of them are legal so far as we are aware.
You may find it strange that many IPTV providers boast that their systems are compatible with VPNs. As the providers have already stripped out the regional restrictions on the channels that they broadcast, you don’t actually need a VPN in order to watch those channels from outside of their intended country of broadcast. So why use one?
The truth is that many IPTV providers pirate their channels from official sources and resell them to subscribers. We can’t vouch for or against any of the providers listed above, but it stands to reason that an IPTV provider shouldn’t be able to sell access to channels cheaper than the channels themselves do. Nor should they be free from the regional content licensing restrictions on content that all other streaming services must abide by.
If there is even a chance that you could inadvertently stream pirated video, you need to protect your identity. That’s why you still need a VPN to watch IPTV, even though you pay for the service.
Authorities don’t seem to be as tough on those who stream video illegally as those who download torrents. However, there is no guarantee that the same attitude will prevail forever. Right now, the most probable risk that you face with paid IPTV providers is that they get shut down before your subscription expires.
Internet speeds for streaming HD video
Depending on where you live and how good your internet service is, you may encounter difficulty getting sufficient speeds to watch live HD video streams from IPTV services. Adding a VPN to the line will slow down your connection even further.
HBO states that you need connection speeds of at least 3 Megabits per second in order to receive an uninterrupted stream with its online video services — HBO only streams in HD. Netflix HD streams won’t work with data throughput speeds of less than 5 Megabits per second. These speeds may seem easily achievable. Live streams are often less compressed than on-demand video and so require even greater transfer rates.
A VPN can protect you from blocks imposed by repressive governments because it encrypts all of your connections and diverts them so that no one who is able to watch the passing data stream, such as your internet service provider, can see where you are connecting to or the type of traffic that is passing down the line.
The work that VPNs do to encrypt, decrypt, divert, and forward all of your traffic has a time cost. Streaming video in real time requires high speeds because you need all of the code that gets compiled into an image on the screen to be refreshed every second in order to get the video to move on. HD video generates an even greater volume of traffic because the high quality of the picture is created by more tightly packed pixels. So, each HD video requires the fast transfer of a lot of data.
If your internet connection is slow, the video you watch will pause as the player waits for more image data to arrive — this is called “buffering.” The need for speed means that video transfer systems don’t include the connection management procedures of many data transfer systems. This means that frames for the video may arrive out of sequence or at irregular intervals, which is called “jitter.” The transfer might also encounter overloaded or broken routers along the journey, resulting in lost data. When this happens, you will see the video break up periodically.
If you have a fast internet service, your enjoyment of online video can still be ruined by a slow VPN. When you watch HD video streams that originate from a server overseas, the speed issue becomes even more critical. International video transfers have to travel further and pass through a lot more routers than the journey of a stream from a nearby video service. More hops in the route provide more potential points of failure. For these reasons, you need a high quality VPN that can perform all of its transfer management tasks with very little speed impairment. The recommended VPNs on this list are all top quality services that are ideal for streaming IPTV in HD quality. Below you can see the results of our speed test of the five VPNs on our list:
As you can see from the table, all of the VPNs easily exceed the 5 Megabits per second needed to stream HD video from Netflix. IPVanish and PrivateVPN do particularly well and are fast enough to carry the Netflix Ultra HD streams.
Benefits of VPNs for HD streaming
If you are getting tired of watching game shows and talent competition on terrestrial TV, then you may be tempted to pay for premium channels. Another option to find great entertainment is to look overseas. There is a huge diversity of entertainment in the world and you might find exactly what you never knew you enjoyed by exploring the TV of other countries.
If you live abroad, you probably don’t watch the local TV very often. Getting TV from home would be a great benefit and can help you put up with the difficulties of being a foreigner.
VPNs overcome the nationalism of TV. The amazing benefits of IPTV, getting video from other countries over the internet, have been stifled by all the rules and regulations that block your access. Thanks to VPNs, you don’t need to be restricted to the TV that is on offer where you are. Instead, you can reap the best entertainment from all over the world and watch what you want.
Remember, the entertainment industry uses complicated technology to control access to their programming. Many governments of the world also deploy expensive and advanced methods to control what you watch. VPNs are at the forefront of communications technology and those few companies that keep pushing the envelope to deliver HD IPTV to their customers are the ones to watch.
Take advantage of the money-back periods of the VPN services on our list to try a few of them out and see which one works best for your circumstances.
With this review, we hope to inform the general public about how to get the best HD TV from all over the world. You can’t rely on the sales copy of VPN websites, because they just want to entice you to pay and they are not going to be totally honest about the limitations of their services. We will. It is only by reading the assessment of people that don’t run VPN services that you can really get a true picture of which ones work and which are scams. Reading user reviews is also a good source of research and that’s why we have the comments section at the bottom of this article.
Do you use a VPN to stream IPTV in HD? Have you discovered a great free channel from abroad that shows your favorite sports? Do you check into the TV stations of other nations online to watch the latest shows before they arrive in your country? Have you have problems using a VPN, and which of the VPNs on our list have you used? Let others know about your experiences streaming video over the internet by leaving a note in the comments section below.