How To Protect Your Smart TV With A VPN

If you visit our site regularly, you know we think it’s important to protect all of your internet-enabled devices with a VPN. This includes your Android TV box or smart TV, but unlike setting up a VPN on your computer or smartphone, using a VPN on your smart TV is not always simple since so many of them use proprietary systems.

This means you need to know what operating system your TV runs and which VPN services are available for that system. Sometimes, there are no options and you will need to bypass your TV altogether and place the VPN protection on your router.

Sound complicated? It doesn’t have to be. Read our complete guide to learn the best VPNs for different types of smart TVs and how to use a VPN on your smart TV.

How To Use VPN On Your Smart TV

If you haven’t read our article on why you should be using a VPN on streaming devices, you can find it here.

Choose The Right VPN Service

How To Use VPN On Your Smart TV

To know what your VPN options are, you need to know what operating system your smart TV uses. This will determine which applications are compatible with your smart TV and can help you create a short list of the VPN services you should be using. If your smart TV does not allow VPNs at all, or you don’t like any of the services available for your TV, you can look for VPNs that offer protection at the router level. This will offer VPN protection for all the devices connected to your home network, but gives you less control over personalized settings for individual devices.

It is important to remember that when you select a VPN service, you are not choosing it for just one device. Usually, a single subscription will let you protect at least five and sometimes an unlimited number of devices, so a single subscription can protect your smartphone, your partner’s phone, your home computer, laptop, TV, tablet, and maybe more.

When you are looking for the right service, then, you will want to find one that has compatible applications for all the devices you intend to use. This is usually a simple matter with most smartphones and computers, as they use a limited selection of operating systems that are generally covered. It can be more complicated with smart TVs, as a lot use proprietary systems that limit your options. This means your smart TV is probably the main system that you need to check for compatibility.

In addition to checking compatibility with your devices, you should check that the VPN service you choose has all the functionality that you require.

At a minimum you should choose a service that offers AES-256 encryption, which is now the market standard; a no-logs policy to ensure that they are not collecting and selling your data; a decent number of simultaneously connected devices allowed with no bandwidth cap; and basic additional security features such as an automatic kill switch, which turns off your connection to the internet if your VPN drops out for any reason.

In addition to this, you should consider what you actually intend to do with your VPN. Will you be streaming, torrenting, or using web scraping services such as Kodi? Double-check that the VPN you are considering supports these activities.

VPNs For Different Smart TV Operating Systems

As we have already said, your list of VPN options may be limited because of the operating system of your smart TV. Below is a list of the main smart TV brands, their OS, and which of the best VPNs are compatible with them. 

Google Or Android Operating System

Smart TVs that are running Google or Android OS are some of the easiest to protect with VPN as you can use any VPN available in the Google Play Store, which is most of them. As well as on Android TV boxes, you can expect to find this operating system on Sony, Hisense, and TCL TVs. 

You can find our recommendations for the best VPNs for smart TVs here.

Fire TV OS

Fire TV is the operating system that you will find on the Firestick and Fire Cube, and some other smart TV brands that also use the Amazon proprietary OS, including Toshiba and Insignia. For this OS, you need to download your VPN from the Amazon app store. A lot of the major VPN services are available in the Amazon store including NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and CyberGhost VPN. We have previously recommended IPVanish as the best VPN for Fire TV, and we still stand by that. Read the article here.

Roku TV

Roku TV is one of the most popular streaming OS in the United States, and you will find it on TV brands including QLED, TCL, and Hisense. You will need to find your VPN for Roku via the Roku Channel Store. Their selection includes some of the best VPNs on the market including NordVPN, Express VPN, and CyberGhost VPN.

WebOS

Several of the major streaming services offer VPNs that are compatible with WebOS, which is the OS for LG TVs, and you will be able to download their apps for your TV in the LG Content Store. These include NordVPN, CyberGhostVPN, and ExpressVPN.

WebOS also has two free VPNs for smart TV, Bright VPN and Hola VPN, both of which are available in the store. As you would expect, these free VPNs are not as feature-rich as their premium competitors, and they probably will not unlock major streaming services such as Netflix.

Tizen OS

Samsung has its own proprietary operating system called Tizen, which does not support any VPN applications, so if you want to protect your Samsung TV you need to apply the VPN at the router level. More on that is below.

Install The VPN App Directly On Your Smart TV

Install The VPN App Directly On Your Smart TV

Once you have chosen the right VPN for your smart TV, installing it is pretty straightforward. Whichever VPN service you choose, you will need to go to their website, create an account, and make a note of your sign-in details. You can then download the application onto your smart TV via your available app store and use your account details to log in and activate the VPN.

These days, all VPNs have a setup wizard that will take you through the essential settings. These will include whether you want your VPN to turn on automatically when you switch on your TV or whether you only want to use the VPN some of the time and therefore intend to open the app and activate it when needed. It will also let you choose your preferred server, which will determine where you appear to be in the world. Again, this is easily changeable later by just logging into the app.

How To Install A VPN On Your Router

If your smart TV is not compatible with the VPN service that you want, or any VPN service at all, you can bypass your TV and install the protection directly on the router. This will protect all the devices on your home network. The reason this is not a more popular approach to VPN protection is that you can’t personalize your VPN setting for different devices, as you will have the same settings for everything using the router. This is not always ideal if one person in the house is watching TV and another is working on the computer, for example.

Most of the VPN services that we recommend have router apps including ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and IPVanish.

To install the VPN, you can use any device connected to the network that you want to protect. Open a browser on your device and type your router’s IP address and password into your browser; this will open a router admin panel. If you don’t know these, they are probably on a sticker on the side of your router.

From here you should follow the instructions for router installation provided by your chosen VPN service since they are all a little different, but it is usually a simple process of enabling an OpenVPN client and then directing your router to your selected VPN service.

Final Word

A final word of caution. While you may find that your smart TV offers you a free VPN, we would warn you against using it. These VPNs are usually designed simply to encrypt data and will not have advanced features that allow you to do things like bypass blocks on geofenced content. In addition, it costs money to maintain an effective VPN service so if customers aren’t paying, these services are making money elsewhere, often through selling your data. Free VPNs, as a general rule, aren’t worth it.

When choosing a VPN service, reputation goes a long way since you are trusting this company with your private data. Always do your research online and see what the experts think before signing up for a VPN service.

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