There’s only a few native VPN apps for the official Android TV. Many VPN services make you sideload the apps which is such a pain in the…
Sideloading Android apps is like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Its just not designed for it. You get an interface that doesn’t look right and may be lacking in features of one of the native apps.
That’s why I recommend using a native app whenever possible – especially for something as important as a VPN.
Why you need a VPN
Our privacy and anonymity are under assault. Net neutrality has been repealed in the United States which means that Internet Service Providers (ISP) can sell our personal information to advertisers or throttle your internet speed if you’re using too much bandwidth.
I also use a VPN service whenever I’m away from home and want to secure my Internet connection. It helps keep my files safe and protected no matter where I am.
You should NEVER connect to public WiFi without a VPN. That’s just asking for trouble.
I’ve written a couple of articles that go into much more detail of why you need a VPN for Android TV boxes or especially using a VPN streaming with Kodi.
Why IPVanish on NVIDIA Shield TV?
I’ve tried several different VPN’s and I personally use IPVanish – especially on my NVIDIA Shield TV.
- IPVanish has a strict “no logs” policy so you can be sure your browsing history stays private
- They own their entire server infrastructure so they have complete end-to-end control over the system
- You can have 5 simultaneous connections on the same account
- Native apps for both desktop, laptop, mobile devices and…yes…the NVIDIA Shield TV
Before you get started…
You’ll need to sign up for IPVanish before online you install before you install IPVanish on NVIDIA Shield TV, or your other Android TV devices.
How to install IPVanish on NVIDIA Shield TV (or any other Android TV device)
Unlike many of the other more popular VPN apps for Android, IPVanish has an official app on the Google Play Store.
For whatever reason, VPN’s are hard to find in the Google Play Store. It’s almost as if they want to be able to track everything we do.
Let’s fix that, shall we?
Click on the Search icon in the upper left hand corner.
You can use the voice search or if you want to go old-school you can use the on screen keyboard to search for IPVanish. Personally, I like to type as little as possible, so I just searched for VPN.
Click on the IPVanish VPN icon – the one on the far right in the image above – to get to the app summary screen.
Here’s where having an official Android TV app in the Google Play Store comes in handy.
The installation is one click and should only take a few seconds depending on the speed of your Internet connection.
Once its finished, you can either click the Open button on this screen or head back to the home screen and open the app from there.
Setting up IPVanish on Android TV
When you first log in to the IPVanish app you’ll need to enter the username and password that you created when you signed up for IPVanish online.
Once you log in, you’ll get to the main screen.
There’s one more step before we change a few settings. Click on the Connect button. You’ll have to approve the connection request.
There’s a couple of things to note about the Android VPN service:
- The first time you set up a VPN service, you’ll be asked to explicitly approve the connection request (as in the image above).
- You can only have one approved VPN service at a time
- You’ll see the key icon whenever the VPN connection is active in your notification bar.
- If the connection is broken, you’ll automatically be connected to the previous network connection.
How to connect to a VPN server
You’ve got two main options to connect to a VPN server:
- Best Available
- Manually selecting the country, city or server
The default option is to connect to the best available server. This will be the server with the fastest ping time (response time) and least amount of network traffic.
But if you want to get into the details of choosing exactly which server you want, you can do that as well. At any level of detail, you can still select Best Available. For example, you can choose a VPN server in Canada, but have the IPVanish on NVIDIA Shield TV app choose the best available city and server to connect to.
Countries are listed alphabetically and show their national flag to make it easy to pick out the one you want.
Once you select the country, you’ll then have an alphabetical listing of the cites that have servers.
And if you wanted to get into even more detail, you can choose which server in that city to connect to.
Important IPVanish Settings to change (Don’t skip this part!)
I know how much you want to skip this and get to watching a move already, but don’t. Here are a few important IPVanish settings that you should change before you get comfy on the couch.
Click on the gear icon in the upper right hand corner of the screen to pull up the Settings menu.
Startup Connection Action
You can set up IPVanish to connect automatically to either the fastest server available or the last server you successfully connected to.
Personally, I like to keep a bit more control so I leave this set to “Do not automatically connect.” I use a VPN mostly to bypass geographic restrictions on content, so I’m always switching from country to country. In my case, connecting to the fastest server or the last server may not be the one I’m needing next.
But if you find yourself streaming from the same country time after time, or if you’re only wanting to mask your browsing habits, then changing these IPVanish settings may save you some time.
If the Auto-Reconnect box is checked IPVanish will attempt to reconnect to the last server if the connection is dropped or lost for any reason.
This is one of my favorites.
Netflix and Hulu are getting better at figuring out when you’re using a VPN. You may not be able to get access to content from another countries, but you still can keep your browsing habits private. Scramble will attempt to cloak and encrypt your connection so that it’s harder to detect.
If they can’t detect it, then they’re less likely to block your connection meaning you get to binge-watch in anonymity.
I’ve gone into more detail in my article about how to speed up your VPN connection, but the “cheat-sheet” version is that you’ll want to change your VPN Protocol to use UDP instead of TCP.
Now that you’ve installed IPVanish on NVIDIA Shield TV, I recommend checking out some of these other popular articles:
- Should you change the NVIDIA Shield TV processor mode?
- Aptoide TV: The better app store
- How to set up Kodi the right way
- Kodi vs. Plex