Smart TVs running Android-based operating systems can run VPN clients directly. If your smart TV doesn’t, you can buy an Amazon Fire TV device and install a VPN on it. Finally, to use a VPN with smart TV and streaming device platforms that don’t support it, you can purchase a VPN router.
If you have a smart TV, you may have wondered what is the best way to connect it to a VPN so you can access different regions of Netflix as well as protect your connection. Let’s take a look at your options for streaming using a VPN on your smart TV.
Why use a VPN with a Smart TV
The main reason to consider running your smart TV’s internet connection through a virtual private network is to access the libraries of different streaming services. Netflix and others have a lot of content, only some of it is only available in certain countries. VPNs are the best way to get to it, as they can bypass the blocks that keep you out.
If you want to use a VPN for Netflix while on your smart TV, you have two ways to do it. You can install VPN software directly on your smart TV or you can use some kind of VPN router. Both have something to say for them, with the first way being the easier of the two.
Install a VPN on your Smart TV
The easiest way to use a VPN with your smart TV is to install the software directly on the TV. However, not all smart TVs allow you to do this, i.e. Roku TVs. If your smart TV runs Android (most Sony and Panasonic TVs, for example), you can install the VPN app via the Google Play Store or download the APK and install it. The whole process should take just a few minutes.
If you don’t have a smart TV that runs Android, or your TV is an older, “dumb” type, you still have options, namely Amazon’s streaming sticks, the Fire Stick, and the Fire TV Cube. These devices can be connected to any TV with a USB port and essentially transform them into smart TVs. They’re nifty little things, and they’re not too expensive either.
The best Fire TV device
Amazon Fire 4K TV Stick
For just a little more money than the Fire Stick TV Lite, you can get the Fire Stick TV 4K, which offers a Dolby Vision upgrade and TV controls on the Alexa remote. With 4K streaming, you’re much more future-proof.
Both Fire TV devices use Amazon’s Fire OS, which is based on Android, so the same method applies as with “real” smart TVs. You go into settings, go to the apps menu, and from there install the VPN software of your choice.
Whichever of these sounds good to you, setup is as easy as installing any app from the Google Play Store. In a few minutes, your VPN should be set up and hopefully you’ll be watching any Netflix show you love.
However, there is still a minor problem: not all VPNs will work equally well on a smart TV or Fire TV. Whatever VPN you want, you should check whether or not it will work on these platforms. Two providers that are sure to work are ExpressVPN and NordVPN, although there are many others.
Use a router to connect a smart TV to your VPN
If you don’t have a smart TV that can install Android apps and you don’t want to use Fire TV, you still have another option, namely using a VPN router of some sort. These come with all sorts of benefits, but if your only goal is to use a VPN with a smart TV, we’d recommend going the Fire TV route explained above, as it’s much less of a hassle to set up.
VPN routers are just like a regular Wi-Fi router (which probably broadcasts the Wi-Fi in your house), but they have a VPN installed. This means that all devices connected to it are using the VPN. It’s a pretty good way to get even devices that can’t have VPN software installed to use a VPN. Smart TVs are just one example; you could even have a printer securely connected to the internet via VPN this way.
However, VPN routers do have a downside: routers that can handle VPN software are generally not cheap, and many will also require manual setup, which can get complicated quickly. One of the best WiFi routers in this case is the Asus AX6000 (RT-AX88U), although you can also check out the Linksys WRT3200ACM.
The best Wi-Fi router overall
ASUS AX6000 (RT-AX88U)
Our favorite Wi-Fi 6 router offers speeds of 6000 Mbps and is packed with features. It’s a good middle ground between a budget router and a more expensive model packed with state-of-the-art technologies.
If that all sounds like too much work, there is another option, namely ExpressVPN’s Aircove. This VPN router is ready to go right out of the box, but of course it only works with ExpressVPN and is priced at $100 per month. Still, if you want to easily connect your smart TV to one of the best VPNs, it’s a very good option.
Alternatively, you can also set up your Windows PC as a virtual router. If you don’t mind a bit of tinkering, it can be a good option for people who don’t want to use Fire TV or set up a VPN router. However, it could consume a lot of bandwidth and would mean running your computer and your smart TV at the same time, which doesn’t work for everyone.
What is the best way to connect a Smart TV to a VPN?
VPN routers are great and have more pros than cons, but they do require some setup and initial investment. If you don’t like technology or really don’t see the need for a specialized router, then the best way to connect your TV to a VPN is to buy a smart TV running Android. If you don’t have the money for that, buying a Fire TV streaming stick is your next best thing.