You’ve purchased a smart TV and can seamlessly watch all of your streamed content from the comfort of your couch, without having to huddle around a computer screen or deal with multiple cables. But something is missing. You still don’t have access to all the content you want to watch because much of it is geo-restricted. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is the perfect solution.
We’ll show you how to securely access geo-restricted content through your smart TVs in the UK, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, China or anywhere else internationally. We’ve chosen VPNs that will work with the most popular brands of smart TV including Sony, Panasonic, LG, Philips, Samsung, Vizio, and others. If you have an Apple TV check out our separate guide to the best VPNs for Apple TV.
We’ll discuss all of the best VPNs for smart TVs in more detail below, but if you want to cut to the chase, here are our top choices.
Best VPN for Smart TV:
- NordVPN: Hands-down best VPN for smart TVs. Works with a wide range of streaming sites. Fast and secure. Includes a smart DNS proxy service and router support if your TV doesn’t support VPN apps. Includes a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Surfshark: Best value VPN. Can be manually installed on a router. Provides solid speeds, powerful security features, and exceptional streaming potential.
- ExpressVPN: Fantastic, highly-versatile service that boasts custom router firmware and a SmartDNS option.
- CyberGhost: Great for streaming safely. Boasts a huge network and strong security.
- IPVanish: Can be configured on a router and popular with Kodi users. Fast speed and strong security but struggles with some streaming sites.
- PrivateVPN: Works with Netflix and pretty much all other streaming sites but requires manual configuration on routers.
- Private Internet Access: Can be manually configured with routers. Also offers an Amazon Fire TV app. Servers in 80 countries and unlimited bandwidth.
A VPN encrypts your internet traffic and tunnels it through an intermediary server in a location of your choice. It masks your IP address and replaces it with one from your chosen location, so it appears that your traffic is coming from that locale. This means you can securely access platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer. What’s more, the encryption factor means that no one — not even your Internet Service Provider — can snoop on your activity.
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The Best VPNs for a smart TV
Contrary to what some may think, a VPN can work with a smart TV. Although, most smart TVs don’t natively support VPNs. This means you’ll need a VPN that can be configured on your router or that can enable you to create your own protected wifi hotspot through your computer. Aside from that, you’ll want a VPN service that can securely access plenty of streaming sites, and deliver on other facets, such as speed, reliability, and security. Not all providers can do all of this, so we’ve put together a list of the best based on the following criteria:
- Works with wifi routers
- Fast speeds for buffer-free streaming
- Works with popular streaming sites (Netflix, BBC, Hulu, Amazon Prime etc)
- Operates a large network of servers
- Has strong security features
- Maintains a no-logging policy
- Provides excellent customer support
We go into more detail on our exact testing methodology below.
Here is our list of the best VPNs for smart TVs:
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
NordVPN works reliably with plenty of streaming sites, including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and Sky Go. It can be configured to your router so that you can securely access all your content through your smart TV. Alternatively, FlashRouters makes pre-configured Tomato or DD-WRT routers which save you the hassle of manual installation.
NordVPN is faster than any other VPN we’ve tested and it actually has specific servers optimized just for streaming. Its huge network of more than 5,000 servers in over 60 countries means you shouldn’t have a problem finding one that works. If you do, live chat customer service agents are always on hand to help.
This provider offers a strong suite of security features including 256-bit AES encryption, perfect forward secrecy, a process-specific kill switch, and DNS leak protection. Some servers are optimized to prevent DDoS attacks if that happens to be a concern.
A basic account will enable you to connect up to six simultaneous devices. Desktop clients are available for Windows and MacOS, and mobile apps can be downloaded for Android and iOS.
- Can be configured directly onto your wifi router or a pre-configured router
- Unparalleled network – 5,000 servers across 63 countries
- Servers are optimized for HD streaming
- No compromises on privacy and security
- Support staff are helpful and knowledgeable
- Desktop apps can be sluggish and take some getting used to
BEST VPN FOR SMART TVS:NordVPN is ideal for Smart TVs. It’s extremely fast, includes a huge range of security features, and even offers a SmartDNS fallback. What’s more, you can try it risk-free thanks to its 30-day money-back guarantee.
See our in-depth NordVPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Surfshark is an excellent choice for streaming while abroad. Not only does it work with services like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video but its speeds are top-notch. With 3,200+ servers in more than 60 countries, it’s easy to find a speedy, low-latency connection. If you run into any issues, you can reach customer support 24/7 via live chat. This VPN can be manually configured to work with your home router, or if you’d prefer, you can purchase a preconfigured DD-WRT router from FlashRouters.
This service uses 256-bit encryption, protection against DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leaks, and a kill switch to keep your activities safe from snoopers. Better still, Surfshark doesn’t keep any logs that could identify you. If you’d like even greater anonymity, you can pay in Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Ripple.
Surfshark lets you connect an unlimited number of devices at once and has apps for Windows, Linux, MacOS, iOS, and Android.
- Great for streaming
- Solid speeds overall
- No-logs provider
- Puts your security and privacy first
- No connection limit means it’s ideal for sharing
- Has a relatively small network
- Some servers are slower than others
BEST BUDGET CHOICE:Surfshark lets you stream just about anything you want on your Smart TV. Better still, it’s a low-cost provider that nonetheless boasts strong security and privacy protections, decent speeds, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full Surfshark review
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN is a top provider that can securely access a variety of streaming sites, including Netflix, HBO, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video. Plus it’s fast and reliable for stress-free viewing and has a network of servers spanning 94 countries. ExpressVPN makes its own custom router firmware which is free to use on any compatible router. In case you don’t want to deal with the router setup, ExpressVPN even sells wifi routers that are pre-configured with all of its VPN servers.
Whether installed on your existing router or one purchased directly from ExpressVPN, the firmware is intuitive and simple from a user standpoint. You can choose which devices to connect to the VPN and which go through a normal connection by making changes through an easy-to-use dashboard.
That being said, setting up a VPN with a smart TV might be a bit more complex than simply installing on your computer or mobile device. Therefore, it’s crucial that your chosen provider offers excellent customer support. ExpressVPN delivers on this front with reliable and knowledgeable 24/7 live chat.
If encryption isn’t an important factor for you, ExpressVPN includes a smart DNS proxy server that is included in every subscription. If your smart TV lets you change DNS settings, the proxy (called Media Streamer) can be set up independently of the VPN and still enable you to access streaming channels.
Back to the VPN, security and privacy-conscious users will be pleased to see 256-bit AES encryption and perfect forward secrecy. You also have DNS leak protection and a kill switch, the latter referred to by ExpressVPN as a “network lock.” ExpressVPN maintains very minimal connection logs and never records user activity or IP addresses.
Aside from configuring ExpressVPN on your router, you can use it on individual devices, up to three simultaneously. Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, and iOS.
- Can install at the router level for Smart TVs
- Super fast servers work with just about any popular streaming service
- Unrivaled live chat support 24/7
- Slightly more pricey than other services
- May not be customizable enough for power users
GREAT EVERYDAY VPN:ExpressVPN is a solid performer with high speeds and top-quality privacy features. Great for streaming. Includes a 30-day money-back guarantee.
See our in-depth ExpressVPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
CyberGhost has a stellar reputation when it comes to streaming. This provider has more than 7,000 servers worldwide, including some that are specially optimized to help you watch Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer. It can be configured to work on your router so that you can watch all of these channels and more through your smart TV.
CyberGhost offers robust security in the form of 256-AES encryption and perfect forward secrecy. There’s a built-in kill switch and DNS leak protection to make sure your traffic never leaves the encrypted tunnel. No logs are kept that can be tied to an individual user.
Seven devices can be connected at a time and apps are available for Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, and iOS.
- Direct router configuration available
- All security features enabled by default
- Some of the fastest streaming servers we’ve tested
- Keeps no user activity logs and provides strong encryption to bypass activity detection
- Doesn’t work in China or the UAE
- Little control over advanced features
GOOD VALUE VPN:CyberGhost is a great value choice. Strong on privacy, fast speeds and reliable with smart TVs. We found it easy to set up and use. Works well with most streaming sites. 45-day money-back guarantee.
See our in-depth CyberGhost review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
IPVanish can be configured to work on your home router, enabling you to connect your smart TV through the VPN. It isn’t quite as powerful an option for streaming as others on the list as it occasionally struggles with larger services but you can enjoy secure access to platforms like Hulu and ITV Hub. Like NordVPN, IPVanish offers FlashRouter wifi routers pre-configured with the VPN, if you want to save yourself some trouble.
This service is very popular with torrenters and Kodi users. Kodi isn’t compatible with many smart TVs, but if you’re able to run it and you use it often, this might be the best option for you. Top-notch customer support is always on hand to help you with setup or troubleshooting.
IPVanish will keep your information secure and private with 256-bit AES encryption and perfect forward secrecy. It comes with DNS leak protection and a kill switch. The latter will kill the internet connection in case the VPN connection is lost. This provider is completely log-free, so it can’t hand over any information, even if it’s asked to.
Any number of devices can be connected at one time, and you can download apps for Windows, MacOS, Android, and iOS.
- Configure directly onto your wifi router
- Operates a network of more than 1,900 servers in 60+ countries
- Keeps no logs whatsoever
- Offers 24/7 live chat
- Customer support is a little slow
LARGE NETWORK:IPVanish is great for families. Good for most streaming services. Recommend for their high standard of privacy. Could do with a live support option. 30-day money-back guarantee.
See our in-depth IPVanish review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
A relative newcomer to the industry, PrivateVPN runs a small network of servers, but still packs a competitive punch. Its fast speeds and ability to reliably access lots of streaming sites make it a top choice for those looking to stream. Configurable via your router, this provider can enable your smart TV to display content from Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and Sky GO, among other sites.
Another area where PrivateVPN stays competitive is within privacy and security. It lives up to its name and keeps no logs related to browser activity or session history. Encryption is 128-bit or 256-bit depending on which protocol you’re using. This comes with perfect forward secrecy, DNS leak protection, and a built-in kill switch.
You can use PrivateVPN on up to six devices simultaneously. Desktop clients can be downloaded for Windows and MacOS, and apps are available for Android and iOS.
- Can be configured to work with a home wifi router
- Works with Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Sky GO and more
- Above average streaming speeds in testing
- Fewer servers to choose from than other providers higher on this list
- Support staff are good, but only operate during European business hours
- Apps lack advanced features, such as ad and malware blocking options
GREAT SPEED:PrivateVPN is a good family choice. A reliabel choice for many popular streaming sites and allows up to 6 devices on the same account. Small network of servers but fast connections. 30-day money-back guarantee.
See our in-depth PrivateVPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Private Internet Access provides plenty of options when it comes to server locations with servers in as many as 80 countries. This lets you access even more content while using your smart TV. PIA is manually configurable with routers but also offers its own Amazon Fire TV app. Connections are consistent thanks to unlimited bandwidth so you’ll be easily able to stream high definition content.
While the average VPN allows up to a handful of simultaneous connections, PIA lets you secure up to 10 devices at once. This highly secure service keeps you safe with 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, and DNS leak protection. A no-logs VPN provider, PIA has round-the-clock live chat support. You’ll also find some extra features such as an ad and malware blocker, making it particularly good value.
Private Internet Access apps can be found for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, and Amazon Fire TV. You can even download a Chrome or Firefox browser extension or manually set it up with a compatible wifi router to use it with a smart TV.
- Router-compatible and includes an Amazon Fire TV app
- Servers available in 80 countries including the US
- Can be used on up to 10 devices at the same time
- Doesn’t work with some popular streaming platforms
- Not a reliable option for use in China
SECURE 10 DEVICES:Private Internet Access can be manually set up to work with compatible routers. It allows up to 10 simultaneous connections and won’t throttle your bandwidth. Security includes encryption. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full Private Internet Access review.
Can I use a free VPN with a smart TV?
A free VPN might seem like a good idea, but in reality, these services fall short. To start, it’s less likely that a free service will be capable of working with a smart TV or that the provider will offer solid support to help you set it up. Even if you do get it going, there are more practical issues to overcome.
Free services suffer from slow speeds, lack of server selection, and long wait times to get connected. And if you’re trying to stream, it’s more likely that a free VPN will result in a dreaded proxy error.
Aside from the practical issues, free providers typically lack the strong security and privacy features you get with their premium competitors. Many log user activity or insert tracking cookies, and inject ads or sell data to third parties. Some even carry malware.
With providers like the ones we’ve discussed above offering such great deals, it just doesn’t make sense to waste time with a subpar product.
How do I set up a VPN with a Smart TV?
Since smart TVs and indeed VPNs are all slightly different, there is no catch-all protocol for connecting. Many large electronics manufacturers have jumped into the smart TV market, including:
Some newer TV models by certain brands enable you to install a VPN directly onto it. For example, since many Sony smart TV models are Android-based, they will be compatible with a VPN app. On the other hand, Samsung smart TVs aren’t compatible with VPN apps so need to be set up differently, for example, through the router configuration.
When you configure the VPN on your home router, any device — including your smart TV — connected to the router will be protected. If your router firmware supports VPN configuration, you can follow the setup guides offered by your chosen provider (see below). If not, you may want to look into replacing the router’s firmware with a VPN-compatible firmware, such as DD-WRT or Tomato. Bear in mind that replacing firmware (known as flashing) can damage your router, so it is best left to the more tech-savvy user.
Another option is to buy a pre-configured router such as those we mentioned earlier. ExpressVPN router is recommended as it uses custom firmware and is easy to use. NordVPN and IPVanish have great options available made by third-party affiliate, FlashRouter.
Most providers offer step-by-step instructions to help you install the VPN onto a router. Guides offered by some of the providers listed above can be found at the following links:
- NordVPN: Manual router configuration guides
- ExpressVPN: Router app setup guides, manual router configuration guides, and “How to set up your Samsung Smart TV to use MediaStreamer.”
- IPVanish: Manually set up a VPN on your existing router
- PrivateVPN: Router setup guides
- CyberGhost: CyberGhost VPN for Routers and other Devices
- Best VPNs for DD-WRT routers
- Best VPN for Tomato routers
- Best VPN for routers to secure IoT devices
- Best VPNs for Netgear routers
- Best VPNs for Asus routers
Because many smart TV VPN setups require router configuration, instead of searching for the VPN documentation for your particular brand of TV, you’d be better off finding the setup guide for your particular router.
Paid VPN providers are keen to ensure that their service works in the way you need it to and will offer support and troubleshooting assistance when required. If you run into issues, you can simply contact your provider via live chat, email, or social media, and someone can help walk you through setup or help resolve any problems.
Many people use VPNs to watch their favorite streaming services on their desktop and mobile devices. However, it may be that you want to watch geo-restricted TV shows and movies on the big screen: your smart TV! Below, we outline our methodology for finding the best VPNs for smart TVs.
- Smart TV apps: Of course the first thing a VPN should have is apps that are compatible with your smart TV! This means it should offer apps for Amazon Fire TV as well as Android TV. Furthermore, the best VPNs for smart TVs are compatible with routers (although manual setup is required).
- Servers worldwide: You don’t want to feel restricted by what you can and can’t access. That’s why it’s important that a VPN has a global network of servers. This should cover dozens of countries including the US so you can access Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and more.
- Speed: Providing the necessary apps and servers is just the start. Equally important is that a VPN offers high-speed connections. Without these, you’ll struggle to stream without encountering frequent performance issues such as lag and buffering. We’ve only included the fastest VPNs that provide unlimited bandwidth.
- Streaming: Some streaming services are notoriously difficult to regain access to as you travel. However, the best VPNs constantly look for ways to help you securely use the same services you would back home. This is in part thanks to their high number of servers and IP addresses while some even offer obfuscated servers for disguising VPN traffic.
- Security: A VPN should keep you safe online at all times. This starts with high-end encryption which secures your data from hackers. Some VPNs provide extra security features, be it Double VPN servers, an ad blocker, or password manager. That way you can browse and stream with peace of mind.
- Privacy: Did you know that some VPNs actually log and sell your browsing data? If you’re seeking online anonymity, stick with the VPNs listed in this post. They offer no-logs policies so only you know what you’re doing online. We’ve compared some 140 VPN logging policies to find the very best.
- Ease of use: While some VPNs are unnecessarily complicated, we’ve found those that have user-friendly apps. This means you can sign up and set up in a matter of minutes while connecting to a server takes seconds. In all cases, 24/7 live chat and email support are also available.
- Value for money: Just because a VPN provides all of the above, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t also offer value for money! While some VPNs are clearly overpriced, we feel that the best VPNs for smart TVs offer the best bang for your buck. Indeed, you can even save a little extra by using our VPN discount coupons.
We run tests for speed, security, and more with each and every VPN. This is all just part of our VPN testing methodology which helps us better understand what a VPN does and doesn’t offer and whether it can be classed as one of the best VPN for smart TVs.
Can I use a VPN on my smart TV without configuring my router?
If you can’t install the VPN directly onto the TV and you don’t want to mess with your home router, you do have a couple more options. The most basic would be to connect your TV to your VPN-protected laptop or PC and simply view what’s on your computer screen. Although, this really defeats the purpose of a smart TV.
Another option is to create a virtual router from your laptop or PC and turn it into a wifi hotspot. Doing this will let you run your smart TV through the protected network. For PC users, our dedicated guide for setting up a Windows VPN-enabled wifi hotspot can help you out. Similarly, if you’re a Mac user, we have an alternative guide for setting a VPN-enabled wifi hotspot on macOS.
While this is a simpler option than configuring a router, it does require you to always have a computer up and running to act as a router.
What smart TV apps can a VPN help me securely access?
One of the most popular uses for a VPN with a smart TV is to regain access to the same services you’d use back home. Here are just some of the sites that a VPN can help you securely access:
Streaming content isn’t the only thing that’s geo-restricted these days, and some countries restrict access to popular sites including YouTube and Google (including Google Play apps). Thankfully, a VPN can help you use any app for a smart TV that is restricted by region. For example, if YouTube is blocked where you are, accessing it through a VPN shouldn’t be an issue.
One area where smart TVs lack in general is VoIP calls. Unfortunately for Skype users, the company discontinued its smart TV app a couple of years ago. Tellybean offers an alternative for some TV brands and its small company size means it’s probably not under the radar of blockers, so could probably even be used without a VPN.
Smart TV VPN FAQs
Does NordVPN work on all smart TVs?
As with other VPNs, NordVPN can’t be configured to work with every smart TV. If you have an Android-based TV, you can download the native NordVPN Android TV app. For other smart TVs, one option is to set up NordVPN on your router. This way, the VPN will cover every device that’s connected to your router, including your smart TV. Other options include sharing a VPN connection from your PC, wirelessly or through an ethernet cable.
If I use a VPN with my smart TV, can I stream in 4K?
The key here is using a fast VPN. You’ll need download speeds of at least 25 Mbps for quality 4K streaming. Most VPNs lower your internet speeds but some more than others. NordVPN is the fastest we’ve tested so is your best option for streaming in 4K.
Can I use a DNS proxy instead of a VPN?
DNS proxy servers spoof your location, similar to a VPN. That being said, it’s very easy for sites to block proxies, and chances are, they simply won’t work the way you want them to.
What’s more, many DNS proxies can’t be configured with a smart TV or home router. Even if you can get it set up, proxies tend to have fewer location options, so you might not be able to access the region-specific sites you’re looking for. One proxy that doesn’t suffer from this problem is ExpressVPN’s Media Streamer which can be set up to work with a smart TV.
One more important area where proxies are lacking is security. They don’t encrypt your traffic, so it’s possible that your activity will be monitored by your ISP or other snoopers. You may even be subject to monitoring by the proxy provider itself.
Can I use a VPN to watch Netflix on my smart TV?
Yes, you can use a VPN to watch Netflix on your smart TV. In order to do this, you’ll want to find a VPN that offers apps for Amazon Fire TV or Android TV. Another way you can set this up is to install a VPN on your router. However, this does require manual configuration. The good news is that the best VPNs for smart TVs are compatible with routers and offer apps for Amazon Fire TV and Android TV.
Why should I use a VPN with my smart TV?
You’d use a VPN with your smart TV for the same reasons you’d use a VPN on your desktop or mobile device. For starters, it allows you to connect to a server in another country, change your IP address, and access content that would otherwise be region-locked (such as streaming services). Furthermore, you’ll be able to browse and stream more securely and privately thanks to features including 256-bit AES encryption and a no-logs policy.
Does the brand of Smart TV I own impact which VPN I should choose?
All of the VPNs we've covered in this post are router-compatible. This means you can use a VPN with your Smart TV regardless of its brand. However, it may be that you have an Android TV, in which case you may wish to choose a VPN such as NordVPN. Aside from being manually configurable with select routers, it offers an Android TV app.