It was a great day for mankind when someone finally combined two of humanity's favourite things, the internet and TV. The humble television immediately got so much more useful. It allowed us to access Youtube and other streaming content on the big screen. They also feature a range of other apps, such as Facebook, Twitter and more.
But did you know that there is a way that you can get even more out of your smart TV? If you combine it with a VPN, it will unlock even more content and make sure that you are never bored. VPNs allow you to get around geo-restrictions, which means that you will be able to access the bounty that is US Netflix, as well as a host of other content that isn't available in all countries.
What Are Smart TVs?
Smart TVs are essentially TVs that are connected to the internet. They are also known as connected TVs and Hybrid TVs. They work just like your normal TV and can access normal free-to-air and cable if you have it, as well as even more content through the internet.
Smart TVs are ready to connect to your home's internet straight out of the box, but it is also possible to get similar capabilities by connecting a set-top box like Roku or AppleTV to a normal or ‘dumb' TV.
Smart TVs began to become popular in the late 2000s and early 2010s. They are now one of the most popular forms of TV, with many manufacturers only producing smart TVs in the middle and high-end sections of the market.
The arrival of smart TVs has brought so many more uses to the television. With a smart TV, you can access streaming sites like Youtube or Netflix, look at your own content from a hard drive or the cloud, check up on their social networks and even browse the web.
Different smart TVs have different capabilities and applications. Some are activated by voice control, while others respond to gestures. Some smart TVs also come with built in cameras and games.
What's a VPN?
A VPN is a virtual private network, which is basically nerd-speak for an encrypted tunnel that keeps your web traffic private and secure. VPNs have many uses, originally for companies to keep their data safe, but now for users to help stay anonymous and secure. If they are configured properly, a VPN can keep the government out of your business and also make you less vulnerable to cybercrime. But there is one more thing that they can do that will make smart TV owners rejoice. They can get around the country restrictions that so many websites use to exclude overseas users from accessing their content.
With a properly setup VPN, you will be able to trick Netflix, Hulu and other sites into thinking that you are from the US. This means that you will be able to access the mountains of shows that they otherwise keep behind close doors. Sounds pretty good, doesn't it?
How Can I Connect My Smart TV to a VPN?
Unfortunately, it's a little bit complicated, but if you follow this guide, you will be fine. There are two different ways that you can connect your smart TV through a VPN. The first is to connect it through your computer, while the other is to set it up through a flashed router.
Connecting Your Smart TV to a VPN through Your Computer
Step 1: Sign up to a VPN service if you haven't already. We personally recommend ExpressVPN as an excellent all-round VPN, but feel free to do your own research and find the one that is right for you. Once you have signed up, download their client to your PC.
Step 2: Log into the client on your PC and get connected
Step 3: Use an Ethernet cable to connect your smart TV to your computer
Step 4: On your PC, open the Network and Sharing Centre.
You can find it in the Control Panel. Click on Change adapter settings.
Step 5: Locate your VPN connection
It might say TAP-Win32 Adapter V9, or something along those lines. Right click on it, then select Properties.
Step 6: Go to the Sharing tab
Check the box that says Allow other network users to connect through this computer's internet connection. Under the drop-down menu, click Local Area Connection, then select OK.
Step 7: Restart both your smart TV and computer.
You should be connected now.
Step 1: If you don't already have one, get a VPN subscription. We like ExpressVPN the most. Download their client, then log in.
Step 2: Make sure that your smart TV is turned off
Using an Ethernet cable and the appropriate adapter, connect your TV to the USB prot of your computer.
Step 3: Open System Preferences
Go to the Apple icon at the top of the screen, then click on System Preferences. Click Sharing.
Step 4: Open the Sharing your connection from menu
Select your VPN connection.
Step 5: Check USB Ethernet in the To computers using box
Step 6: Check Internet Sharing
A pop-up box will appear. Click Start. Internet Sharing: On should now be green to let you know that everything is working okay.
Step 7: Restart your smart TV
Connecting Your Smart TV to a VPN through a Flashed Router
Flashed routers are great because they will use your VPN automatically whenever any of your devices are connected to your Wi-Fi. There are two main software choices for flashing your router. They are called DD-WRT and Tomato. The differences between the two are above the scope of this article, but there is heaps of information and a lot of guides available online. Connecting the flashed routers is relatively straightforward, but the process will depend on which model you choose.
Which VPN is Best for Smart TVs?
Here's the list that will help you find the best way to watch geo-restricted content on your smart TV.
#1 & Editors Choice: ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN stands head and shoulders above its competitors. It may be more expensive than some of the others, but it does offer great value for the price. ExpressVPN offer excellent speeds and a whole lot of servers, which makes it great for accessing US Netflix or Hulu.
There aren't too many negative things to say about IPVanish. They offer a no logs policy, have excellent customer service and always offer blazing speeds. It's perfect for watching geo-restricted content through your smart TV.
#3: Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access is another popular choice. Their speeds are usually good and they offer 3000 servers across 24 countries. They also offer great service and maintain a no logs policy.
VyprVPN is great if you only need your VPN for accessing geo-restricted content. If you want to torrent or need complete anonymity, it's a bad choice, because they respond strongly to DCMA requests. Apart from that, it's great for streaming, It's fast, has a lot of servers and great support.
Rounding out the list is NordVPN. It's only available for Windows at the moment, but they offer great speeds and excellent security. This makes it perfect for smart TVs and a whole lot of other uses.