5 Quick Ways to Set Up a VPN for Your Smart TV (2024)

Whether you're looking to avoid ISP throttling, keep your streaming viewing habits privateor access geographically limited content, adding a VPN to your smart TV can reap some major benefits. And you can easily set up VPN on your smart TV in just a few steps.

Virtual private networks can help in all of those situations, but most smart TVs aren't compatible with VPNs right out of the box. That said, pretty much any smart TV can be hooked up to a VPN, and even if your TV isn't of the smart variety, you still might be able to use a VPN with it -- provided you have the right equipment.

There are various ways to go about setting up your VPN to work with your TV. Butwhich route you choose to take will depend on your personal preference, technical know-how, budget and what equipment you have access to. We'll show you some of the ways you can set a VPN up on a TV and highlight why you would want to do so.

Why use a VPN on a TV?

Today's TVs aren't just for watching local network programming or cable TV. They're also for streaming video on demand from your go-to streaming providers.

The amount of streaming content available today might seem limitless already, but some content is regionally locked. If you're itching for more, or if the programming you want to watch isn't available in your country, you can use a VPN on your smart TV to spoof your location to access virtually any of the content you may want.

If, say, you're in the UK but you want to stream programming that's only available in the US, then you can hook your VPN up to your smart TV and connect to a server in the US. Since the VPN changes your IP address to a US IP address in the process, the streaming service you're visiting will assume you're in the US and serve up American programming, even if you're across the Atlantic. Just make sure to check with your streaming service of choice to confirm that using a VPN doesn't violate its terms of service. You don't want to risk losing access to your streaming account for any reason.

Even if unblocking geo-restricted video content on your smart TV isn't of particular interest to you, you may want to use a VPN on your TV as a way of preventing your ISP from being able to monitor your viewing habits or keep track of the internet activity being generated by your smart TV.

When you connect to a VPN, you establish an encrypted connection between your device and the internet via a VPN server in a remote location. This means that all of the internet traffic you're transmitting through that encrypted VPN connection is hidden from any entity with an intent to monitor your activity, including your ISP. When you hook up a VPN to your TV and connect to a VPN server, your ISP won't be able to see what you're watching or otherwise decipher any of the internet activity transmitted or received by your TV.

How to set up a VPN on a smart TV

Like any software or service, your first step here is to work backward from what's available for your operating system. The most VPN-friendly smart TV OSes are Amazon Fire TV and Google's Android TV and Google TV platforms. That said, if you use Roku, Apple TV or the built-in operating systems for Samsung, Vizio, LG or any other platform, you still have options.

Here are a few of the most practical ways you can go about hooking up a VPN to your smart TV.

If you have a Fire TV

If you have one of Amazon's new Fire TVs, you'll be able to download your VPN directly to your TV, provided your VPN offers a Fire TV app. Not all VPNs offer compatibility with Amazon Fire devices, so you'll need to pick one that does if you decide to go this route. The VPNs we recommend that are compatible with Amazon Fire devices include Surfshark, NordVPN and ExpressVPN. If you don't already subscribe to one of those VPN providers, then go ahead and sign up and download the provider's app from the Amazon Appstore. (All three offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try each one risk-free to see which one works best for you).

Once you've downloaded the app and signed into your VPN account through your Amazon Fire TV, you can connect to a VPN server. As long as you're connected to the VPN on your Fire TV, you can unblock streaming content and hide your viewing habits from your ISP.

If you have an Android/Google TV

Similarly, if your smart TV runs on Google's Android operating system, then you can set up a VPN on your TV by simply downloading your VPN's app from the Play Store directly onto your TV. And even though Google is in the midst of rebranding Android TV as it transitions to a slicker, more user-friendly platform in Google TV, you'll still be able to access Android apps in the Play Store after you've upgraded to Google TV since it still runs Android under the hood.

What you'll need to do first is to get a VPN that works on Android, if you don't have one already. Then, navigate over to the Play Store on your Google TV, search for your VPN provider's app and download it. Once you've downloaded the VPN app to your TV, sign in and connect to a VPN server.

If you want to unblock US-only content, then you'll need to connect to a VPN server in the US, or to a server in the UK for UK-only content, and so on. If all you want to do is protect your TV watching privacy and prevent your ISP or other entities from monitoring your viewing activity, then we'd recommend connecting to a VPN server closest to your physical location, in order to achieve optimal connection speeds through your VPN.

A potentially more difficult (and more expensive) way to add VPN to a smart TV

If your TV doesn't run on the Android operating system, then one of the ways you can set up a VPN on your smart TV is by running a VPN connection through a router. But proceed with caution. Not all routers support VPN connections, so if you don't already have one, you'll need to purchase a compatible router -- which can get pricey if you want a router that can handle the VPN connection and deliver a smooth streaming experience. Also, installing a VPN on your router (even if it is compatible) won't necessarily be plug-and-play, and you risk ruining your router or voiding its warranty if you botch the installation process.

Fortunately, the best VPN providers on the market do offer step-by-step instructions for router installations for a variety of VPN-compatible router models in their help sections and have support staff on hand to help you. So you don't have to go it alone completely, but the process still isn't entirely risk-free. If you don't want to complete the install yourself, some VPNs, through a company called FlashRouters, are happy to sell you routers with VPN compatibility already preinstalled on them. This could be the way to go if you don't want to risk installing it yourself, but keep in mind that you'll be paying a premium of probably about $100 to $150 over and above retail for your preconfigured VPN router.

So, once you've got your VPN successfully installed on your router and configured it with the servers you intend to use, you can go ahead and connect to a VPN server through your router firmware's dashboard. You'll want to make sure your TV is connected to your VPN router to ensure it's using the VPN connection and you're able to unblock the content you want and keep your TV viewing activity private.

Read more: The Pros and Cons of Using a VPN on a Router

The resourceful way to share your VPN with your smart TV

If you don't have a Google TV or a VPN-compatible router, and don't intend to purchase either, you can use the equipment you have on hand to share your VPN connection with your smart TV.

You could accomplish this by running an ethernet cable from your computer to your smart TV. But on top of stringing a long wire from computer to TV, this method may require additional adapters, depending on what kinds of devices you have. Once you've got the connection between your TV and computer established, then connect to a VPN server on your computer and you're all set. The wired connection may not be the most practical solution, but it's an option.

The simplest and most practical way to go about this would be to use your laptop or desktop as a Wi-Fi hotspot and connect your TV to your computer wirelessly.

Note that if you're using MacOS, you'll need to manually set up the VPN on your Mac using either the L2TP or IKEv2 VPN protocol and connect your Mac to your router via an ethernet cable to share your VPN connection over Wi-Fi. Your VPN provider will have specific instructions on how to manually set up its service on your Mac.

On Windows:

  • Go to Settings -> Network & Internet -> Mobile hotspot.
  • Click on Edit to set a network name and password for your hotspot.
  • Select Wi-Fi under Share my internet connection over.
  • Toggle the Mobile hotspot to the On position under Share my internet connection with other devices.
  • Connect your smart TV to the hotspot you just created as you would any other Wi-Fi network and connect to your VPN on your PC.

On Mac:

  • Connect your Mac to your Wi-Fi router using an Ethernet cable (use an adapter if your Mac doesn't have an Ethernet port).
  • Go to System Preferences -> Sharing.
  • Click on Internet Sharing in the left panel.
  • Select your VPN connection from the Share your connection from dropdown.
  • In the To computers using box, check Wi-Fi.
  • Click on Wi-Fi Options in the bottom-right corner.
  • Set a network name and password for your hotspot, select WPA2 Personal in the Security field and click OK.
  • Click on the box next to Internet Sharing in the left panel and click Start in the dialogue box that pops up.
  • Connect your TV to the Wi-Fi hotspot you just created as you would any other Wi-Fi network and connect to your VPN on your Mac.

The 'I don't have a smart TV' way to add VPN

Even if you don't have a smart TV, you're in luck because you can set a VPN up on it if you're able to connect a streaming device like a Roku, Amazon Firestick or Google Chromecast to the TV. These ingenious little devices essentially turn any TV with an HDMI port into a smart TV, at a much lower cost than an actual smart TV.

Basically, you can use the methods listed above to connect a VPN to your TV -- and if you go with Chromecast with Google TV or Amazon Firestick then you can download the VPN directly via the Play Store or the Amazon Appstore, respectively. The only difference is that you'll use your streaming device's interface to connect to the VPN instead of directly via your TV interface. You'll still get all the privacy and unblocking benefits that a VPN offers if you decide to take this route, but only for content you watch through your streaming device.

5 Quick Ways to Set Up a VPN for Your Smart TV (2)

Next steps for adding VPN to your smart TV

When you're thinking about setting up a VPN on your smart TV, there are a few things to consider. First of all, you'll want a VPN that provides fast speeds that are sufficient in supplying a smooth streaming experience free of buffering. You'll also want to make sure the VPN you select has servers located in the countries you want to unblock content from.

If you have a Google TV and intend to download the VPN app to your TV from the Play Store, then the VPN you go with will need to be Android-compatible. And your VPN will need to be Amazon Fire TV-compatible if you want to run the VPN directly on your Amazon Fire TV.

If you'd rather run the VPN through your router and connect your TV that way, then it's important to make sure your VPN supports router connections and has router setup guides that include your router of choice. It doesn't hurt for your VPN to have helpful, knowledgeable technical support, either, in case you need assistance with your setup.

You'll also want your VPN to provide the privacy protections necessary to keep your viewing habits private and safe from prying eyes.

The VPNs we recommend that fit the bill and check all those boxes include ExpressVPN, Surfshark, and NordVPN. Any of those options will get the job done for your unblocking and privacy needs on your smart TV.

5 Quick Ways to Set Up a VPN for Your Smart TV (2024)


How do I setup a VPN on my smart TV? ›

What you'll need to do first is to get a VPN that works on Android, if you don't have one already. Then, navigate over to the Play Store on your Google TV, search for your VPN provider's app and download it. Once you've downloaded the VPN app to your TV, sign in and connect to a VPN server.

How do I get pure VPN on my smart TV? ›

How to Setup a VPN on Smart TV
  1. Subscribe to PureVPN for premium access.
  2. Go to Play Store on your Smart TV and download PureVPN app.
  3. Open the VPN on your Smart TV and enter your credentials.
  4. Choose the server of your choice and hit Connect.
  5. Enjoy all your favorite shows on your Smart TV regardless of regional restrictions.
Jan 1, 2024

What is the easiest way to set up a VPN? ›

How to Set up a VPN on Your Router
  1. Type your router's internet protocol (IP) address and password to log into your admin panel.
  2. Find the VPN option in the settings.
  3. Select the option for VPN client, not VPN server.
  4. Enter the correct settings. ...
  5. Complete any additional steps your router may request.
Dec 7, 2023

Is there a free VPN for smart TV? ›

Being one of the top Smart TV VPN providers, ProtonVPN supports HD and 4K streaming. You'll find its mobile/desktop apps impeccable as well, and each plan comes with 10 simultaneous connections. Better yet, ProtonVPN has a free plan. However, it's limited to 3 locations and isn't optimized for streaming.

How do I get free VPN on my Samsung smart TV? ›

Samsung Smart TV doesn't have built-in VPNs. The best way to get a VPN for your Samsung TV is to subscribe to a VPN service and set it up on your router.

How to use VPN for free? ›

With Proton VPN Free, you can defeat censorship and access the internet privately. We operate a strict no-logs policy, and we'll never show you ads. Our unlimited free plan has no data or time limits, and will be free forever.

How do I stream TV using VPN? ›

How do you use a VPN with streaming services?
  1. Choose a VPN provider. You must choose one with servers in the region where the streaming service you want to access is available. ...
  2. Download and install the VPN software. ...
  3. Connect to a server. ...
  4. Log in to the streaming service. ...
  5. Start streaming.
Mar 19, 2024

How do I use VPN on Roku smart TV? ›

Can I use a VPN on Roku TV? No, you can't use a VPN on Roku TV because the streaming device doesn't support VPNs. But your router can become a perfect solution to watch Roku. You can install a VPN on your router or use the Smart DNS for secure access to shows on your smart TV as well as other devices.

How to use VPN for beginners? ›

Once you choose a VPN app for Mac or a VPN suitable for Windows, here's how to start using it:
  1. Download a reliable VPN. We recommend NordVPN, which is super easy to use on both Windows and Mac.
  2. Install the VPN app onto your computer.
  3. Connect to your preferred server.
  4. That's it – now you can start browsing safely.
Jan 12, 2024

Can you set up a VPN yourself? ›

Yes, you can DIY your very own VPN – but it's not easy. You have to choose a suitable device, install VPN software, and configure it for secure access. It may sound simple at first, but it requires some technical know-how, such as understanding network settings and possibly configuring your router.

What do I need to setup a VPN at home? ›

How to set up a VPN on your router
  1. Open your router's firmware. To start, I open my router's firmware in a browser. ...
  2. Enable the VPN service. ...
  3. Sign up for a free DDNS account. ...
  4. Return to the settings for VPN. ...
  5. Install a VPN client. ...
  6. Rename the network connection for the new VPN network. ...
  7. Look for OpenVPN Tap. ...
  8. Connect.
Feb 22, 2023

What is the best VPN for streaming on TV? ›

ExpressVPN is CNET's Editor's Choice for best VPN overall and our pick as the best VPN for streaming because of its exceptional content-unblocking capabilities with minimal speed loss. During our testing, we could access foreign libraries in the UK and Canada with Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video and Netflix.

Does VPN work with Roku? ›

No, you cannot use a VPN directly on your Roku TV because VPNs cannot be installed directly on any Roku device. Your options are to install a VPN on your router, on your laptop to use as a hotspot, or use Smart DNS.

How do I know if my router is VPN compatible? ›

Look for the “VPN client” tab in the advanced settings of your router. The location of this section depends on your router's model and brand. (If there is no “VPN client” tab, it means your router is not compatible with a VPN.) Follow your VPN client's guidelines to set up the VPN on your router.

Can my smart TV have a VPN? ›

Similarly, if your smart TV runs on Google's Android operating system, then you can set up a VPN on your TV by simply downloading your VPN's app from the Play Store directly onto your TV.

Can I install a VPN on my Samsung smart TV? ›

Samsung Smart TVs don't allow for the installation of a VPN app. You can enjoy the benefits of a VPN on your Samsung Smart TV by installing ExpressVPN on your router. You can also use a VPN while streaming on other devices—such as your phone, tablet, or computer—and cast the screen to your Samsung Smart TV.

Does Samsung have a built in VPN? ›

The built-in Android VPN client is one of the VPN clients that enterprises can use. It is available on all Samsung devices but has been limited to simple VPN configurations as seen in the Android Settings app. Samsung devices come with an enhanced version of the Android VPN Service.

How much does a VPN cost? ›

The average cost of a VPN typically ranges from $3 to $10 per month, depending on the subscription length and features offered.

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