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VPN on Smart TV

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Introduction

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a service that encrypts your internet traffic and routes it through a remote server, hiding your IP address and location. VPNs have become increasingly popular in recent years as more people realize the importance of protecting their privacy and security online.

When it comes to Smart TVs, using a VPN provides several key benefits. A VPN allows you to access region-locked streaming content from services like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu etc. It prevents your internet service provider (ISP) from tracking and throttling your traffic. And most importantly, it keeps your streaming activity, data and communications private. Let’s explore this topic in more detail.

Why Use a VPN on Smart TV?

There are several compelling reasons to use a VPN on your Smart TV:

1. Access Geo-Restricted Content

One of the main reasons people use a VPN is to bypass geographic restrictions and access content that is blocked in their country. Many popular streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, etc. have different content libraries for different regions. A VPN allows you to change your virtual location and access these geo-restricted libraries from anywhere in the world.

For example, using a UK-based VPN server will make streaming services think you are accessing them from the UK. This allows you to view UK-only shows and movies from services like BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, Channel 4, etc. regardless of where you actually are.

2. Enhanced Privacy & Security

Smart TVs collect a lot of usage data, browsing history and even conversations happening around them. This data goes back to the manufacturer, advertisers and other third parties. A VPN hides your IP address and online activity, preventing this data collection without your consent. It adds a critical layer of privacy and security to your smart TV usage.

3. Avoid Bandwidth Throttling

ISPs often throttle bandwidth intensive apps like Netflix, YouTube etc. This results in lower video quality, constant buffering and a frustrating streaming experience. By encrypting your traffic, a VPN prevents ISPs from detecting what apps you are using and throttling speeds for them. With a VPN, you can stream in HD without annoying lags or interruptions.

4. Bypass Censorship

Governments and ISPs in some restrictive countries actively censor access to certain websites and online services. China’s Great Firewall is a prime example. A VPN provides access to the open internet by circumventing filters, blacklists and censorship.

How to Set Up a VPN on Smart TV

There are three main methods to set up and use a VPN on your smart TV:

1. Use a VPN Router

This is the most convenient approach. All you need is a VPN-compatible wireless router like those offered by NordVPN, ExpressVPN etc. Connect the router to your modem, log in to the VPN service on the router interface, then connect your smart TV to the router’s secure WiFi network.

All devices that connect to this WiFi network including smart TVs will have their traffic routed through the VPN automatically. No manual device configurations needed. This keeps all devices protected without any impact to speed or connectivity.

2. Use Smart DNS Proxy Service

DNS proxies like Getflix and UnoTelly are smart DNS services specifically designed for streaming devices. While not full VPN protection, they do allow you to change your DNS and location virtually, thus unblocking geo-restricted platforms.

Simply change your smart TV DNS to point to the smart DNS service instead of your ISP’s DNS. Some manual tweaking under your TV’s network settings is required, but most major brands have guides online. While not as secure as a VPN, a DNS proxy is simpler to set up if streaming access is your main goal.

3. Install VPN App on Streaming Device

If your smart TV doesn’t connect to a VPN router and DNS proxy setups are too complex, you can install a VPN app on your streaming device instead. For example, download the NordVPN / Surfshark app for Firestick or Apple TV which connects directly to the VPN server.

Then access your smart TV interface and apps over the streaming device instead of the built-in software. This is easier than changing advanced network settings on smart TVs. Just ensure your streaming device supports the VPN service and is quick enough to stream HD video.

Best VPNs for Smart TV

When choosing a VPN for streaming and smart TV usage, you need a service that offers reliable connections, fast streaming servers, and easy-to-use apps. After thorough testing and analysis, these are the top 3 recommended VPNs for Smart TVs:

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is arguably the most popular and highly-rated VPN service in the industry. While slightly more expensive than competitors, you get exceptional connection speeds perfect for HD streaming, top-notch privacy protections and excellent reliability.

Some key advantages:

  • Lightning-fast servers optimized for streaming in 94 countries
  • Best-in-class AES-256 encryption, no activity/connection logs
  • Easy-to-use applications for all streaming devices
  • Unblocks virtually all geo-restricted platforms and content
  • Excellent customer service with 24/7 live chat support

The MediaStreamer Smart DNS proxy offered by ExpressVPN provides the simplest solution for smart TV streaming access. If you want the absolute best VPN performance for streaming or accessing restricted content on a smart TV, ExpressVPN is highly recommended.

2. NordVPN

NordVPN is the most popular consumer VPN service with thousands of fast servers worldwide, robust privacy policies, and Easy Connect SmartPlay feature that unblocks streaming sites with a single click.

Some great features include:

  • Specialty streaming and SmartPlay servers in 60 countries
  • Double VPN and Onion over VPN encryption options
  • Apps for every streaming device imaginable
  • Unblocks Netflix USA, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime and more
  • VPN router apps for total network-level protection

With NordVPN, accessing geo-restricted libraries is extremely simple even on older smart TV models. And you can use it across all your devices with one account. While not as fast as ExpressVPN, NordVPN definitely offers the best value and versatility.

3. Surfshark

Surfshark is a fast-rising VPN that combines blistering speeds with unlimited device support for a very pocket-friendly price. For smart TV usage, Surfshark offers:

  • 3200+ servers in over 65 countries, extremely fast speeds with unlimited bandwidth
  • Strong AES-256 encryption with a private DNS and leak protection
  • Apps for FireTV, Apple TV, Android TV, Roku along with games consoles
  • Unblocks Netflix, Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, YouTube TV etc.
  • Allows unlimited simultaneous device connections

With streaming-optimized servers, easy-to-use apps for TV devices, and extremely affordable plans, Surfshark is a great choice for smart TV VPN access on a budget.

Conclusion

Using a VPN on your smart TV is highly recommended to enhance privacy, security, bypass geo-blocks, avoid throttling and censorship. The easiest way is connecting your TV to a VPN router. Alternatively, use a Smart DNS service or install VPN apps on streaming devices connected to the TV.

For the best streaming speeds, reliability and worldwide content access on smart TVs, I recommend using ExpressVPN. NordVPN and Surfshark are solid budget-friendly alternatives. Take your pick from these 3 top-tier VPNs and enjoy secure streaming!

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