watch RTR online

RTR (also known as Russia.tv), like most major streaming platforms, is geographically restricted. Anyone attempting to use it from outside of Russia will be greeted by the following error: “Просмотр видео ограничен в вашем регионе”, which roughly translates to “Video viewing is limited in your area”. This isn’t the end of the road, however, as regional blocking is far easier to bypass than you might think. All you need is a VPN.

RTR finds out which country you’re in by examining your IP address, but if you connect to a VPN, you can change your IP address to a location of your choice – in this case, Russia. This spoofs your location and makes RTR think you are browsing from within the country, allowing you to access geo-blocked content from that location. As a bonus, your VPN will encrypt your traffic, enhancing your privacy and preventing anyone from seeing what you get up to online

Unfortunately, there are not many VPNs with servers in Russia, so finding one to give you a Russian IP address can be tricky. That’s why we’ve hunted down the best options for you in this article. Plus, we’ll explain exactly how to use them to watch RTR from anywhere. We’ll go into more detail about all the providers we recommend later on, but in case you’re short on time, we’ll start with a quick summary.

Best VPNs for live streaming RTR:

  1. CyberGhost: Our top VPN for RTR. An excellent provider with beginner-friendly apps, comprehensive security, and servers designed for accessing geo-blocked platforms. Vast server network includes 60+ in Russia, and it comes with a 45-day money-back guarantee.
  2. Hotspot Shield: A great general-purpose VPN. Fast enough to stream Russian TV without interruption. Offers a solid set of security features, plus access to servers in 80+ countries.
  3. VyprVPN: A zero-logs VPN that puts digital privacy first. Also has impressive unblocking ability, making it ideal for bypassing censorship and watching RTR outside of Russia.

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How to stream RTR from anywhere using a VPN

Don’t worry if you’ve never used a VPN before; we’re about to explain how you can get set up and start watching RTR in under five minutes.

Here’s how to watch RTR online from anywhere:

  1. First, choose a suitable VPN provider from the list below (we recommend CyberGhost).
  2. Next, install the VPN app on any device you regularly use for streaming. You can expect a limit of around five connections at once, but this varies from one VPN to another.
  3. When you’re ready, log in and connect to any of the available Russian servers. This will get you a Russian IP address and help you bypass RTR’s regional restrictions.
  4. Last but not least, play a video on RTR. In most cases, it should play without any issues. If not, clear your cookies and cache before reloading the page. If you’re still having problems after this step, contact your VPN’s support team for more advice.

The best VPNs for RTR

When you’re trying to decide on your first VPN, it’s easy to get distracted and miss the forest for the trees. Instead of fixating on which provider is fastest, the most secure, or otherwise “best”, we’d advise you to consider well-balanced services instead. This guarantees that you’ll be able to handle most day-to-day tasks reasonably well instead of only being suitable for one thing. To ensure you get a reliable, versatile VPN, we only recommended those meeting these criteria:

  • Works flawlessly with RTR and other popular streaming services
  • Has servers in Russia and other popular global locations
  • Offers high enough speeds for watching live TV
  • Prioritizes your security and uses effectively uncrackable encryption
  • Doesn’t keep any logs that could identify you (or ideally, no logs at all)
  • Provides apps for all major operating systems and devices

You can read more about how we test and rank the VPNs we recommend in our methodology section below. For now, let’s take a look at the ones that made the cut. 

Here’s our list of the best VPNs for RTR (Russia.tv):

1. CyberGhost

CyberGhost Jul 2024 unblocks rtrTested Jul 2024

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.Cyberghost.com

Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS

CyberGhost is our top choice VPN for RTR. It’s a beginner-friendly provider that delivers a strong performance through easy-to-use, intuitive apps. Users can choose from over 9,000 high-speed servers in 90+ countries (including 60+ in Russia), and there are even some expressly designed to unblock popular streaming platforms from abroad. Up to seven devices can be connected at the same time, giving you the freedom to watch Russia.tv wherever you go.

This service safeguards your connection with 256-bit encryption, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, and a kill switch that can’t be turned off. There’s also a feature that blocks trackers, ads, and malware automatically, but CyberGhost isn’t content to stop there; it recently launched its own password manager and privacy guard app for Windows PCs. This VPN doesn’t keep any logs that could be traced back to you. Customer support is available 24/7 via email and live chat.

CyberGhost apps are available for a wide range of platforms, including MacOS, Linux, Windows, iOS, and Android. This VPN can also be manually configured for use on select wireless routers. Best of all, CyberGhost offers a generous 45-day money-back guarantee so you can be sure you’re happy before you commit long-term.

Pros:

  • Ever-growing network that includes 60+ speedy Russian servers
  • Makes it easy to use geo-blocked platforms from abroad
  • No need to configure security tools
  • User-friendly apps with 24/7 support
  • Always-on kill switch on all platforms
  • 45-day money-back guarantee

Cons:

  • Lack of advanced features may frustrate experienced users

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

BEST VPN FOR RTR:CyberGhost is our # 1 choice. It offers speed, security, and streaming-optimized servers at a very attractive price point. Not only that, it’s extremely welcoming to novice users and has the largest network of any VPN on this list. All plans include a 45-day money-back guarantee.

Check out the full CyberGhost review.

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2. Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield unblocks rtrTested Jul 2024

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.Hotspotshield.com

Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS

Editor’s Note: Hotspot Shield is owned by Pango, Comparitech’s parent company.

Hotspot Shield is fast enough for lag-free live streaming, and with around 1,800 servers in 80+ countries, including Russia, there really aren’t many limits on what you can watch. In fact, it works just as well with RTR as it does with Sling TV, Netflix, or Disney+. Torrenting is allowed too, and users can secure up to five of their devices simultaneously.

This VPN has its own Hydra protocol that it claims is 2.4 times faster than OpenVPN (although recent updates have also introduced IKEv2 support). Additionally, the apps offer 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, and a tool that can connect automatically any time you use an unsecured network. Hotspot Shield doesn’t keep any logs that could identify you. Live chat-based support is available day or night, seven days a week.

Hotspot Shield provides Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, and iOS apps. Alternatively, users can follow manual setup guides to install this service directly onto supported network routers.

Pros:

  • Servers in 80+ countries, including Russia
  • Fast and easy to use
  • No issues with RTR, Match TV, or other popular streaming sites
  • Comprehensive security
  • Zero logs policy

Cons:

  • Doesn’t accept Bitcoin
  • Has had privacy issues in the past

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

GREAT ALL-ROUNDER:Hotspot Shield is a fantastic choice for watching RTR abroad, torrenting, or just keeping yourself anonymous as you browse. Provides high speeds, an excellent set of security features, and a generous 45-day money-back guarantee.

Read the full Hotspot Shield review.

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3. VyprVPN

VyprVPN unblocks rtrTested Jul 2024

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.VyprVPN.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

VyprVPN offers access to roughly 700 servers in over 70 locations, Moscow, Russia included. It’s not as quick as some others on this list, but your connection should still be enough for 4K streaming. Users can access not just RTR but also on-demand services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and HBO Max. This provider permits 10 connections at any one time, which is double the industry average.

This service uses IPv6 and DNS leak protection, a kill switch, and 256-bit encryption to shield your activities from snoopers. Its security credentials continue to improve, though, with the latest version supporting WireGuard connections too. Automatic Wi-Fi protection ensures you can safely use public networks, and with a zero-logs policy, there’s no need to worry about the Russian government seeing what you do online. Help is available via 24/7 live chat.

VyprVPN offers easy-to-use apps for Android, iOS, MacOS, Windows, and Linux. Further, it can be manually installed on a wide range of supported home routers.

Pros:

  • Reliable servers in 70 locations, including Moscow, Russia
  • Allows more simultaneous connections than its rivals
  • Works well with popular streaming services
  • Strong security and privacy credentials

Cons:

  • Speeds could be improved
  • No anonymous payment options

Our score:

4 out of 5

10 CONNECTIONS AT ONCE:VyprVPN is surprisingly accessible given its impressive security loadout. Better still, it allows you to protect 10 devices simultaneously, so you can stream RTR anywhere you like. A 30-day money-back guarantee is also included.

Why not take a look at our in-depth VyprVPN review?

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Methodology: How we chose the best VPNs for RTR

Unfortunately, you can’t just install the first VPN you see and call it a day. Not every service is suitable for streaming, and fewer still can reliably unblock Russian platforms from abroad. Additionally, because of Russia’s creeping online censorship, there are real privacy implications to consider. When choosing the best VPNs for RTR, we took these aspects into account:

  • Russian servers: These are required for unblocking RTR, so we could quickly eliminate any candidates that didn’t have servers in Russia.
  • Security tools: Russia monitors web traffic and prevents anonymous internet access. That’s why we look for services with strong encryption, kill switches, and leak protection. We prefer VPNs with stealth modes capable of evading Russian censorship entirely.
  • Privacy features: The government is allowed to seize VPN servers. To protect you in the event that this happens, we only recommend providers with no-logs policies. Ideally, users would be given an anonymous way to pay, such as with Bitcoin or prepaid cards.
  • Speeds: If a service isn’t fast enough for 4K streaming, we won’t recommend it. Of course, this is just a base requirement; we’d rather see higher speeds, if possible, and regularly speed-test the VPNs we recommend.
  • Value: We compare each candidate against similarly-priced rivals to see if they’re really worth what they charge. If there’s a better alternative for a lower price, we’ll say so.
  • Ease of use: The services we recommend must be simple enough for total beginners. We also value VPNs that are accessible in other ways, such as by removing connection limits, providing numerous ways to pay, and having apps for multiple platforms.
  • Versatility: We don’t want to recommend services that are only suitable for one task. That’s why we check if they allow torrenting, as well as whether they work with platforms like Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video.

This is just a brief glimpse at some of the tests we conduct. You can find out more in our full testing methodology post.

Unblocking RTR with a free VPN

It’s extremely unlikely that you’ll be able to stream RTR using a free VPN. To begin with, most providers focus on offering servers in high-traffic areas like the US, so you’ll likely struggle to find one with Russian servers. Your problems don’t end there, though: the service also has to offer unlimited bandwidth, provide speeds high enough for live streaming, and work consistently with RTR (which is no small feat, given how quickly free VPNs are blacklisted).

Next, you’ll have to consider your digital security. Russia’s government has several ways to monitor your activities, and if your chosen service doesn’t use encryption (like 18% of free VPNs), you aren’t protected in any way. We strongly advise you to make the price just one aspect of your decision rather than just using any free VPN with Russian servers.

Streaming Russia TV abroad: FAQs

Are VPNs legal to use in Russia?

Although there has been much talk of a Russian “VPN ban” in recent years, VPN services are still legal, provided they don’t allow users to access content that the government has blocked. It’s worth bearing in mind that the law allows security services to access a VPN provider’s servers whenever they like. As such, you should only use VPNs with a no-logs policy since these will reveal no useful information about you or your online activities.

Data privacy legislation is extremely complex and differs from one country to another. If there’s any doubt in your mind about whether VPNs are legal in your location, we strongly advise you to consult your region’s laws before attempting to use one. 

Can I watch RTR without a Russian phone number?

Unfortunately, it’s not currently possible to watch RTR (also known as Smotrim and Russia.tv) live without a valid Russian phone number. This is because users must create an account to access the live streams, then enter a code that’s sent to their device. However, you can stream on-demand content without signing up. Replays are generally added shortly after the live broadcast ends, so there really isn’t much of a downside for unregistered users.

What can I watch on RTR?

Smotrim allows you to access 14 Russian TV channels and radio stations live online. These are:

  • Россия 24 (Russia 24)
  • Россия K (Russia K)
  • РТР-Планета (RTR-Planet)
  • Москва 24 (Moscow 24)
  • Домашний (Home)
  • Известия (News)
  • Звезда  (Star)
  • Муз-ТВ (Muz-TV)
  • Пятый канал (Fifth Channel)
  • РЕН ТВ (Ren TV)
  • СПАС (SPAS)
  • СТС (STS)
  • CTC Love (STS Love)
  • Че (That)

Naturally, with so many channels to choose from, you can expect to stream a broad range of content. Below, you’ll find a small selection of what RTR has to offer:

  • По разным берегам (On Different Shores)
  • Лучшая подруга (Best Friend)
  • Несмотря ни на что (No Matter What)
  • Я вижу твой голос (I See Your Voice)
  • Королева дорог (Queen of the Roads)
  • Привет, Андрей! (Hi, Andrew!)
  • Доктор Мясников (Doctor Myasnikov)