5 Easy Ways to Set up a VPN on Your Smart TV

Discover the simple steps to enhance your smart TV's functionality and security with our comprehensive guide on installing a VPN.
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VPNs can boost your smart TV’s security, bypass geo-blocks, and prevent data leaks. They can also stop ISP throttling by hiding your streaming traffic. A good VPN will make your TV faster, richer in content, and more secure.

Installing a VPN on your smart TV can be as easy as downloading an app. You can also extend VPN protection from your router or via the Ethernet cable. But what about non-smart models? Learn how to protect any TV in our expert step-by-step guides below.

In this article
Is my smart TV compatible with VPN apps?
How to install a VPN on your smart TV
How to install a VPN on a non-smart TV
Can I use Smart DNS for my smart TV instead?
What are the best VPNs for smart TVs?
Can I use a free VPN for smart TV?
Installing a VPN for your smart TV FAQ
Bottom Line

Is my smart TV compatible with VPN apps?

If you have an Android TV, you can simply download VPNs from the Google Play Store. However, direct VPN installation is impossible with other smart TV operating systems. You'll need to use workarounds.

For example, Samsung's Tizen and LG's WebOS don't support native VPN apps. If you're unsure about your device, check this list of smart TVs compatible with VPNs.

In short, installing a VPN on an Android TV is straightforward. Any other smart TV OS will require an alternative approach.

How to install a VPN on your smart TV

The VPN setup process on your smart TV will depend on its model and OS. Learn how to protect your device in our step-by-step guides below.

Download a VPN app from the Google Play Store

Direct VPN installation is the easiest way to protect your smart TV. Unfortunately, it only works if your device runs on the Android OS.

Here‘s how to do it.

  1. Open the Google Play Store from your TV’s home screen or app drawer.
  2. Use the search function to find your VPN provider of choice. For instance, type "NordVPN" to locate their app.
  3. Select your chosen VPN service and click Install.
  4. Wait for the app to download and install on your TV.
  5. Open the app, log in with your credentials, and connect to a VPN server of your choice.

Set up a VPN on your home router

Although more technical, setting up a VPN on your router will protect all the devices on your Wi-Fi. This includes computers, smartphones, gaming consoles, and more.

Here's how to secure your entire home network.

  1. Check router compatibility: Make sure your device is on this list of routers compatible with VPNs.
  2. Access router settings: Enter your router's IP address in a browser. You can usually find its IP in the manual or on the back of the router.
  3. Install your VPN: Every VPN provider has a detailed guide on installing their client on a router. This often involves downloading and uploading a VPN configuration file.
  4. Configure VPN settings: Upload the VPN configuration file in your router's VPN section. Enter the required details, such as your VPN account credentials.
  5. Test your VPN: Connect the smart TV to the VPN-enabled network and verify the connection.

If this process sounds too daunting, you can simplify it by purchasing a FlashRouter with a pre-installed VPN. Check the best VPN routers here. A VPN router will also support better connection protocols (like OpenVPN) and stronger encryption.

Pros
  • Secures the entire home network
  • Protects devices that don’t support VPNs
  • Always-on VPN protection
Cons
  • Lengthy setup process
  • Inconvenient VPN settings management
  • Router login required for each VPN server switch

Share your VPN connection via an Ethernet cable

Routers give your smart TV wireless access to the VPN-protected network. However, you can also share a VPN connection via an Ethernet cable. Ethernet is faster than Wi-Fi, which is ideal for seamless streaming.

Here’s how to share the connection.

  1. Access network settings: Right-click the network icon in your system tray and select Open Network and Sharing Center.
  2. Change adapter settings: This window will show your Wi-Fi connection, the Ethernet port, and your VPN's TAP adapter. Right-click the TAP Windows adapter and select Properties.
  3. Share the computer's internet connection: Enable Allow other network users to connect through this computer's internet connection in the Sharing tab. After this adjustment, match the connection protocol in the VPN app (TCP or UDP).
  4. Connect the Ethernet cable: At this point, you can connect your computer and smart TV via an Ethernet cable.
  5. Connect to a server: When the Ethernet interface identifies the connection, open your VPN client, pick a server, and click Connect.
Pros
  • Simple to set up
  • No technical skills required
  • Direct and stable connection
Cons
  • Visible cables might be unsightly
  • May require additional adapters
  • Not as flexible as wireless options

Use your desktop or laptop as a VPN-secured Wi-Fi hotspot

You can set up your desktop or laptop computer as a Wi-Fi access point. This turns it into a virtual router, similar to setting up a Wi-Fi hotspot on your phone. You can then share your VPN-protected connection with any device, including a smart TV.

Follow these steps to set up a Windows virtual router.

  1. Enable mobile hotspot: Go to Settings > Network and Internet > Mobile hotspot, turn the mobile hotspot on, and pick Wi-Fi.
  2. Define the credentials: Choose the network’s name and password.
  3. Configure the adapter: Go to Settings > Network and Internet > Change adapter settings, right-click the TAP Windows adapter, and select Properties. Remember to match the protocol in your VPN client (TCP or UDP).
  4. Share your connection: Enable Allow other network users to connect through this computer's internet connection in the Sharing tab. Pick the hotspot you've created from the dropdown menu. The connection tag will be Microsoft Wi-Fi Direct Virtual Adapter.
  5. Connect: On your smart TV, search for Wi-Fi networks and connect to the hotspot you’ve just created.

If you're on a Mac, you must go through an extra step: Go to System Preferences > Sharing and select Internet Sharing.

Pros
  • Convenient and easy to set up
  • No cables or extra hardware required
Cons
  • Not as stable/fast as a wired connection
  • Shorter range than routers

How to install a VPN on a non-smart TV

You can set up a VPN on your non-smart TV with streaming devices like Amazon Fire TV Stick, Roku, or Google Chromecast. You can directly download VPN apps to Chromecast and Fire TV Stick from their app stores, just like with an Android smart TV.

However, Roku and Apple TV don’t support direct VPN installation. You’ll need to set up a VPN app on your Wi-Fi router or use a Wi-Fi hotspot from your computer. They can tap into that protected network and extend it to your non-smart TV.

Streaming devices can also secure smart TVs that don’t support VPN apps. This makes them highly flexible and an excellent option if you want VPN benefits without too much hassle.

Can I use Smart DNS for my smart TV instead?

A Smart DNS will change your IP and bypass geo-restrictions in your country. It’s also faster than a VPN since it doesn’t encrypt your traffic. This will result in faster streams and downloads. A Smart DNS could be a viable solution if you're on a slower network.

However, it won’t hide your online activity like a VPN would. Since there’s no encryption, your overall level of privacy will be less. So, it all comes down to your personal needs – will you sacrifice online privacy for sheer speed? We always recommend using a VPN if you have fast internet since you won’t even feel the speed drops.

What are the best VPNs for smart TVs?

After thorough testing, our experts have shortlisted NordVPN, Surfshark, and ExpressVPN as the best VPNs for smart TVs. Thanks to their robust features, they’ll ensure a seamless experience on all streaming services.

Can I use a free VPN for smart TV?

While free VPNs are alluring for those looking to save money, you should use them with caution. The majority of free VPNs are simply restricted versions of their paid counterparts. They offer limited functionality and typically have capped speeds, limited bandwidth, and fewer servers.

This will ultimately hinder your streaming experience. On top of this, some may be malicious software in disguise and pose a significant risk to your online privacy and security.

We generally advise against free VPNs due to these limitations and potential security risks. However, if you’re on a budget, our Best Free VPNs article offers the most reliable options.

Installing a VPN for your smart TV FAQ


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Can I install a VPN on my smart TV?

Yes, you can set up a VPN on your smart TV. The method will vary depending on the TV's operating system. Android TVs allow direct installation of VPN apps from the Google Play Store, while alternative methods like installing a VPN on a Fire Stick or your router are necessary for other smart TVs.


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Can I change my smart TV OS to install a VPN?

Changing the operating system of a smart TV to download a VPN is impossible. Smart TVs come with a pre-installed operating system that’s baked into the firmware, so it is not something you can change.


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Which smart TV OS supports native VPN apps?

Android TV is the primary smart TV operating system that supports native VPN apps. Users can download and install VPN applications directly from the Google Play Store on their Android TV.


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Can I use a VPN to stream movies on my smart TV?

Yes, you can use a VPN to stream movies on your smart TV. A VPN allows you to bypass geographical restrictions. This will give you access to a wider range of movies and content from different regions.


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Can I install a VPN on a non-smart TV?

You cannot directly install a VPN on a non-smart TV. However, streaming devices like Amazon Fire TV Stick, Roku, or Google Chromecast will connect to your TV and may support VPN usage.


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How to install a VPN on a non-Android smart TV

For non-Android smart TVs, you can install a VPN via alternative methods. This includes setting up the VPN on your home router or using a VPN-secured Wi-Fi hotspot from a computer. This indirectly provides VPN benefits to your TV.

Bottom Line

With a VPN, you will receive enhanced privacy and unrestricted global content access. You'll just have to pick a method that works for your TV’s operating system and matches your tech skills.

Whether through direct app installations on Android TV, setting up a VPN on your router, or using alternative methods, there’s a solution for everyone.

If you want to explore the world of VPNs further and maximize your smart TV experience, go through our comprehensive guide on the best VPNs for your router. Follow our expert advice and make the most out of your smart TV.

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Author Details
Ryan Clancy is a freelance writer and blogger. With 5+ years of mechanical engineering experience, he's passionate about all things engineering and tech. He loves bringing engineering (especially mechanical) down to a level that everyone can understand.