Remember the days when TVs were, well, just TVs? Now ultra-smart TVs have made their way into our homes, but they still need online protection. The best VPN for smart TV devices can provide some anonymity and security, plus help you get around georestictions with streaming sites.
- To connect your smart television to a VPN, you can either download the VPN directly (if compatible), use SmartDNS or set up a VPN on your router.
- Many VPN apps are compatible with Android TVs and Fire TVs.
- ExpressVPN is the best smart TV VPN due to its app’s smart TV compatibility and its dedicated router app. It’s also the best at bypassing geoblocks, plus it’s easy to use.
Smart TVs let you connect to the internet, but when you go online, all sorts of information about you can be shared with your ISP. However, a smart TV VPN will protect your online privacy.
You also have to consider online security with your smart TV — after all, it’s another device that is connected to the internet. Without the right protections in place, your smart television is vulnerable to attacks where cybercriminals can gain access to your sensitive information.
Plus, if you want to access geo-restricted content, the best smart TV VPN can help you access streaming sites’ content in other countries.
For these reasons, it’s a good idea to take back some control and protect your privacy by installing a virtual private network. This won’t give you full anonymity, as you will still need to log in to sites such as Netflix, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Yes, you can install a VPN on a smart TV. Some VPN apps can be directly installed on Android TVs and Fire TVs. You can also connect your TV by setting the VPN up on a router or using SmartDNS, which lets you spoof your location to bypass geoblocks without other benefits of the VPN, such as security.
You can use Windscribe’s free plan with a smart TV. However, its app is only compatible with Fire TVs and its SmartDNS is a paid feature. The free plan also has a 10GB per month data cap and a limited number of servers for free.
Top VPNs for Smart TVs
Average speedDownload Speed91 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency5 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card, Bitcoin, regional payment systems, WebMoney
- : 5
Average speedDownload Speed92 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency4 ms
- : Credit card, Google Pay, AmazonPay, ACH Transfer, UnionPay, Crypto Currencies, PayPal (via Paddle)
- : 6
Average speedDownload Speed84 MbpsUpload Speed7 MbpsLatency158 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card
- : Unlimited
Average speedDownload Speed64 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency44 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card, bitcoin
- : 7
Average speedDownload Speed91 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency4 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card
- : 10
What Makes the Best VPN for Smart TV Devices?
To be one of the best smart TV VPN options, the virtual private network needs to have apps for smart TVs — ideally including Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung TV. Otherwise, the VPN should at least have router support or smart DNS settings.
There are other features to consider too. They will not apply if you use a VPN SmartDNS setup, but they’re relevant for other types of VPN setups.
- ExpressVPN — The best VPN with smart TV apps, plus a dedicated router app
- NordVPN — Fast VPN with an Android TV app and router support
- Surfshark — Unlimited simultaneous connections with smart TV apps
- CyberGhost — Easy-to-use VPN for an affordable price with smart TV apps
- Private Internet Access — Budget VPN with smart DNS support
Fast speeds are beneficial, especially with streaming, so you can watch content in the highest resolution available and not suffer from buffering. Plus, choosing a VPN provider that has strong security and a no-logs policy will ensure that you stay protected online. You might also want a VPN that allows a decent number of simultaneous connections.
For the most part, a decent smart TV VPN needs to have servers in the countries you wish to access content in and be smart enough to circumvent the blocks that streaming platforms put in place.
The 5 Best VPNs for Smart TVs
Now that you know what you need in a smart TV VPN, we’ll point you to the best smart TV VPN providers available. All of the VPN services listed below can be used with a smart television by using one or more of the methods stated above.
More details about ExpressVPN:
- Pricing: cheapest plan costs $6.66 per month (15-months plan)
- Provider website: expressvpn.com
- Dedicated smart TV app
- Fast speeds
- Accesses all streaming apps
ExpressVPN is our top smart TV VPN for a few reasons. If you have an Android TV or Fire TV, you can install the ExpressVPN app directly on your TV, allowing you to tailor the VPN for your streaming needs. The VPN also has a dedicated router app, which will cover all the devices connected to your home router.
For other smart TVs, you can set up the VPN using ExpressVPN’s SmartDNS feature, Media Streamer. This feature won’t provide any VPN security this way, but with ExpressVPN’s track record for bypassing streaming service blocks easily — it’s our best VPN for streaming — you should have no problem watching whatever you want on your smart TV.
It has servers in 160 locations across 94 countries, allowing you to watch content from a ton of different streaming libraries. On top of that, ExpressVPN provides some of the fastest VPN speeds for a top streaming experience, and it has some of the best security you can get, as well as a strict no-logs policy.
Dedicated Router App
ExpressVPN’s official router app means you don’t need to go through the process of setting it up manually on your smart TV. All you need to do is install the VPN app on your router and any device you connect to it will benefit from the VPN features. The router app interface is almost identical to the desktop and mobile app versions, meaning you can easily configure the settings.
ExpressVPN is the most expensive VPN on this list, but you’re paying for a quality VPN with the added benefit of a dedicated router app. Plus, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee to fall back on. Read our ExpressVPN review for more details on the service.
More details about NordVPN:
- Pricing: cheapest plan costs $3.29 per month (two-year plan)
- Provider website: nordvpn.com
- Android TV VPN app
- Smart DNS feature
- Large server network
- App only on Android TVs
- No router app
NordVPN is another great smart TV VPN and it can be installed directly on an Android TV or Fire TV, though you’ll need to use it in conjunction with the smart DNS feature or using a router. If you have any other smart TV, you’ll need to connect via a different method, such as Smart DNS.
You can also set NordVPN up on your router, but unlike ExpressVPN, it doesn’t have a router app. You’ll need to set it up manually, but NordVPN has helpful guides to make the process as smooth as possible.
Along with its standard security, NordVPN provides extra encryption with its double-hop servers and also has threat protection to block ads, trackers and malware. With a router setup, your privacy will also be honored because NordVPN doesn’t keep logs.
Bypass Geoblocks Easily With a VPN Connection
One of NordVPN’s strong points is its ability to bypass geoblocks and other restrictions. It can easily get into streaming sites like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and many more. Plus, its server network is large enough to provide multiple servers in case one doesn’t work. All you need to do is switch to another VPN server and try again.
There are more than 5,400 servers, and they’re spread across 60 countries, meaning you can access a lot of different countries’ libraries. Plus, NordVPN lets you connect up to six devices at a time, so you can access content on various device types, not just your smart TV.
NordVPN shines in the pricing department. Although its monthly cost is expensive, its two-year plan is more affordable than ExpressVPN. Plus, there’s a 30-day refund period in case you don’t like it. Check out our NordVPN review for more details.
More details about Surfshark:
- Pricing: cheapest plan costs $2.49 per month (two-year plan)
- Provider website: surfshark.com
- Android TV & Fire TV apps
- Unlimited simultaneous devices
- No router app
- No user forum
Surfshark can be installed directly on an Android TV or Fire TV, making the setup super easy. Alternatively, you can set Surfshark up via its Smart DNS feature. It’s a fairly simple process and Surfshark provides guides on its website.
It also provides guides for setting up Surfshark on a router. Once you have a VPN router set up, you can connect all your devices to it, allowing them to stay protected.
With that setup, you’ll benefit from Surfshark’s fast speeds, which are a must for quality streaming. It also comes with great security and a no-logs policy. On top of that, there are more than 3,200 servers in 65 countries, so you’ll have plenty to choose from to bypass geoblocks.
Unique Security Features
Surfshark is cheap, but you don’t just get a bog-standard VPN. You can block ads, malware and other harmful attacks with CleanWeb, or go completely incognito with its camouflage mode.
There’s also MultiHop, Surfshark’s double VPN feature. This routes your connection through more than one server, basically implementing double the encryption. Plus, its NoBorders feature allows you to get online in restrictive countries such as China.
While a router setup might remove the ability to use such tools, another standout feature is that Surfshark allows unlimited simultaneous connections. That means no matter how you set up your smart television with the VPN, you can install Surfshark on all your other devices individually, which is especially handy if you have a large family or you’re gadget-happy.
Surfshark’s two-year plan is a very affordable VPN. There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee too, in case you decide it’s not for you. Our Surfshark review goes into more detail.
More details about CyberGhost:
- Pricing: cheapest plan costs $2.29 per month (three-year plan + three months)
- Provider website: cyberghostvpn.com
- Android TV & Fire TV apps
- Unique SmartDNS feature
- 45-day money-back guarantee
- Trouble with some streaming apps
- Slower speeds
Like the other picks on our list, CyberGhost can be installed directly on an Android TV or Fire TV. For another smart TV operating system, you can use CyberGhost’s SmartDNS feature, which is a little different from the others, but we’ll get to that in a minute. You can also set CyberGhost up on a router by following one of CyberGhost’s many online guides.
CyberGhost has one of the largest server networks available, with more than 8,000 servers in 91 countries. With that range of servers, you’ll be able to access a ton of different content libraries. However, while CyberGhost can easily access Netflix U.S., you might have trouble with other services like BBC iPlayer. With CyberGhost, you also might come across some servers that are slow.
CyberGhost has strong security and doesn’t keep logs, meaning you’re protected while using it. Plus, it lets you connect up to seven devices at a time, so you can connect six devices in addition to your smart TV.
My Smart DNS Feature
CyberGhost’s Smart DNS is a little more, well, “smart” when compared to other VPNs. Instead of simply having DNS addresses for particular countries, it categorizes them for particular streaming services. So, if you want to access the American Netflix library, CyberGhost has a “Netflix U.S. address” DNS address.
You can search through the list for different streaming platforms in different countries. It’s pretty handy considering you won’t know if a server can get into a streaming service until you try it. With CyberGhost’s list, you can easily see which ones are capable of getting into particular services.
Like with all the other VPNs on the list, CyberGhost’s monthly plan isn’t great, but its three-year plan is inexpensive. You can also take it for a spin with its seven-day free trial on mobile (24 hours on desktop). If you’re still not sure, there’s a 45-day money-back guarantee (14 days on the monthly plan). Read our CyberGhost review for more details.
5. Private Internet Access
More details about Private Internet Access:
- Pricing: cheapest plan costs $2.19 per month (two-year plan)
- Provider website: privateinternetaccess.com
- Highly customizable
- Accesses Netflix & Amazon Prime video
- No smart TV apps
- Can’t access some streaming apps
Private Internet Access is a budget VPN that offers a decent service. The main reason it’s last, though, is because its app is not compatible with any smart TV, meaning you can’t simply download it straight to an Android TV or Fire TV. It also struggles with certain streaming services — namely, Hulu and BBC iPlayer.
However, you can set the VPN up on your router. It isn’t hard and there are online guides available on the VPN’s website. If you prefer, you can buy a plug-and-play router from FlashRouters, which is preconfigured with PIA. There’s also a Smart DNS feature if you’d prefer to go that route.
PIA has top security and doesn’t keep activity logs. Private Internet Access doesn’t disclose the exact number of VPN servers it has, but they cover 80 countries, meaning you can access other content around the world.
Simultaneous Connections & Special Features
Like most VPNs, you can set up PIA on multiple devices, but PIA lets you connect up to 10 at a time. That’s pretty impressive and double the number you can connect with ExpressVPN. That means if you use Smart DNS to connect your smart TV, another nine devices can be used with the VPN.
PIA also has some special features to provide extra security on your devices. For example, there’s MACE, which is PIA’s ad, tracker and malware blocker. It’s a little different from other VPN ad blockers because it works at the DNS level instead of checking a blocklist. This way is faster and doesn’t even allow the unwanted attempts to load.
There’s also Shadowsocks, which is similar to double VPN in that it routes your traffic through two locations, but it doesn’t include the second layer of encryption. That extra hop to another server can help bypass geoblocks.
Like others on the list, Private Internet Access has a pricey monthly cost, but its three-year plan makes it super cheap. If you’re not sure about it, though, there’s a 30-day refund period for peace of mind and you can read our full PIA review for more details.
The Best Free VPN for Smart TVs
The free VPN market is a mixed bag. Some are complete security risks, threatening your privacy by stealing data and compromising your online safety by not implementing the security advertised. That’s why you should always choose a reputable VPN, and some of those offer a free plan.
Windscribe is the best free VPN for smart TVs, but it didn’t make our list due to its Smart DNS feature requiring a fee. You can install its app on a Fire TV, but that’s it. All other smart TVs will require you to use Smart DNS or set the VPN up on your router. Setting it up on a router isn’t hard and Windscribe provides helpful online guides, but if you want to use Smart DNS, it costs $2 per month.
Windscribe’s free plan has other restrictions too, such as a limited number of free server locations and a 10GB per month data cap. You’ll easily blow through that data allowance if you stream a lot, so you’d need to opt for the paid plan. You may be better off going for another VPN on our list, but read our Windscribe review for more information.
- : Unlimited GB
- : Unlimited
How to Set Up a VPN Connection on Your Smart TV
The method of setting up a VPN with your smart TV will vary depending on the smart TV you have. Many VPNs are compatible with select smart TVs — such as Google TV, Amazon Fire TV and Android TV — meaning you can simply install the VPN app on your smart TV just like any other device.
However, if you have a different TV OS, you’ll likely need to find a different way of connecting to the VPN on your smart TV. There are a few other options, and any of them will allow you to watch geoblocked content, but there are some differences with both the setup and how the VPN works.
The first option is to set the VPN up on your router. A VPN router setup is a great option, especially since any device connected to it will benefit from the VPNs protection. The initial setup can be a bit tedious, but there are plenty of guides available on each VPN’s website to help you. Alternatively, you can use your computer or laptop as a virtual router through the VPN.
Probably the easiest way is to connect via Smart DNS, but there are a couple of caveats. For instance, if you use the complete VPN app, you’ll benefit from extra features the VPN may have, have easy access to all the servers and be protected by the VPN’s security. A Smart DNS setup will only help you change your IP location to bypass geoblocks — there’s no protection.
Smart DNS allows you to trick services into thinking you’re located somewhere else, but that’s it. It’s a great way to access more content on your smart TV, but you won’t benefit from the VPN’s security. While we’d usually say that’s a big no-no, it’s perfectly fine for some simple streaming.
Final Thoughts: Best Smart TV VPN
Connecting your smart TV to a VPN will allow you to access and stream geoblocked content. However, it’s not always as simple as downloading the VPN app.
Many VPN apps are compatible with Android TVs and Fire TVs. Other smart television operating systems like those on Sony, LG and Samsung smart TVs don’t support VPN apps, so you have to use another way to connect, such as via a router or Smart DNS.
ExpressVPN is the best smart TV VPN by far. It can be directly installed on Android TV and Fire TV, and you can also use its Smart DNS feature, called MediaStreamer. One of its most valued features, though, is its dedicated router app, which makes it the best Apple TV VPN.
How did you connect your smart TV with a VPN? Which VPN did you use? Did it work to unblock streaming services in different locations? Let us know in the comments section and, as always, thanks for reading.