If you’re still using a standard TV with a basic and boring cable package, you have fallen behind the times. The latest way that people are accessing video content on their televisions is with Smart TV. A Smart TV essentially has the ability to connect to the Internet to download and stream all of the latest video content instead of being dependent on a cable network. And the number of sources that your TV can pull content from seems virtually endless. Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and a myriad of other video sources can all be taken advantage of with Smart TV.
In the past, the only way to get this type of content on your TV was to use screen sharing features or to use your television as a monitor extension. But Smart TVs are a more attractive option – in today’s digital world, it only makes sense that you would want to connect your television to the Internet. But even though Smart TVs are sold all around the world, there is a problem. Many of the apps, channels, and streaming media sources are only available in select locations. For example, if you live outside of the United States and you want to access streaming content from Amazon Prime, you aren’t going to able to stream that content to your television. Though some countries block access to IP addresses and servers such as YouTube, many other services actually block incoming connection attempts. The real reason they due this is rooted in licensing agreements and international trade and copyright laws, but they can be a real pain when all you want to do is catch up on your latest shows or stream the latest viral videos.
Fortunately, there are a couple easy solutions. First off, you could take advantage of a proxy service, but it is inadvisable to do so for a couple reasons. A proxy service won’t do anything to protect your Internet connection with security enhancements. Furthermore, you’ll find that many proxy services lack a wealth of IP addresses. This makes it easier for streaming video sources to block incoming connections by IP address, which is a real pain. The better alternative is to use a VPN service. Not only will a VPN tunnel unblock your favorite streaming video services, but it will also secure your Internet connection with encryption. By encrypting your traffic, network administrators, hackers, ISPs, and governmental agencies won’t be able to see what servers you are connecting to or what data you are downloading or streaming. But this creates yet another problem. How on Earth do you connect your Smart TV to a VPN tunnel? Well, there are two main ways you can do this.
Use Your Router to Terminate the VPN Tunnel
The best way to connect your Smart TV to a VPN tunnel is to terminate the VPN connection at your router. But to do this you are likely going to need to upgrade the code on your device. Most home routers lack the ability to make a VPN connection, but you can easily upgrade the code to Tomato or DD-WRT for free. In doing so, you will allow every device that connects to your network to take advantage of the security benefits of your VPN service. Then every tablet, laptop, and computer that connects to your network will be able to access blocked content. Another great benefit of setting up your router this way is that it will help you conserve the number of devices that can use your VPN tunnel. It is pretty typical for VPN service providers to allow you to connect anywhere between 2 and 6 devices simultaneously with the same account, and by using your router as one of those connections you will be able to use the connections on devices outside your home such as mobile devices.
Share Your Internet Connection
The second way you can connect your Smart TV to a VPN tunnel is to connect it to the Internet by sharing your connection from your laptop or other device. You will need to connect your Smart TV using either a wireless connection or an Ethernet cable. The steps vary a little between Macs and PCs, so let’s take a look at the steps to share your connection on each operating system.
The process of sharing your connection on Windows is relatively easy and straightforward.
- Start by connecting your Windows computer to your VPN connection.
- Use an Ethernet cable to connect your Smart TV to your computer.
- Click on Start, Control Panel, and Network and Sharing Center. Click the button that is labeled “Change Adapter Settings”.
- Locate the icon that represents your VPN connection. It will likely be labeled as a “Tap Adaptor.”
- Click on the Sharing tab and find the option that allows other network users to connect using your computer’s connection. Make sure the box is checked, and select the Local Area Connection option from the drop-down box. Then click the OK button.
- Make sure you reboot your Smart TV, and everything should be working as long as your computer has a connection to the Internet.
The OSX steps are also pretty straightforward.
- Make sure your computer is connected to your VPN connection.
- Turn off your Smart TV and connect it to your computer with a USB cable.
- Click on the Apple button in the top right and open System Preferences and click on the Sharing button.
- Open the “Sharing your connection from” selection and choose your VPN adapter. Then, find the box that is labeled “To computers using” and select USB Ethernet. Click on Internet Sharing, and then click the Start button. By now you should see a green indicator that confirms everything is working appropriately.
- Turn on your Smart TV and enjoy your streaming video content.
VyprVPN – Full Review
VyprVPN is our top choice for Smart TV. Understand that just about any notable service is going to have connections hosted in the US, where most of the blocked video content is physically hosted – so we are going to take a look at the other features of their service. It is true, however, that some blocked content is hosted in other territories such as Asian locations or the UK, so Vypr VPN will give you tremendous flexibility with your VPN connection locations since they have 700+ servers in over 50 countries. They aren’t as expensive as competitors such as Express VPN, either, and they will even let you try their service with a free trial. But understand that the free trial isn’t full-featured, and they impose limits such as data caps.
ExpressVPN – Full Review
Express VPN is our next choice for Smart TV because they offer one of the highest quality VPN services on the market, though they are a little more expensive than the vast majority of other services. But the quality of their service, their incredibly fast connections, and their 24/7 customer service easily justify the higher monthly cost of their VPN service. In addition, they offer a longer money back guarantee than most other providers, and they allow up to 30 days to reclaim your money if you are dissatisfied for any reason. But it is highly unlikely that you will be dissatisfied since they are one of the leading services. Lastly, they have servers in 78 countries, which is staggering.
TorGuard – Full Review
TorGuard has 1200+ servers in over 42 countries, and they are our third pick for Smart TV. They will help you unblock content hosted in other countries and secure your communications just as well as the previous providers, but they will also allow you up to 5 concurrent connections to help you access video content on mobile devices, PCs, and laptops as well. Another reason they are attractive, especially for those only looking to unblock video content, is because they are cheaper than many other providers and have a monthly cost that is a few dollars less than Express VPN.
Private Internet Access – Full Review
PIA VPN is our fourth pick for Smart TV, and they have more servers and capacity than most other providers. While they only have VPN servers in 24 countries, you likely won’t be as concerned with the number of global connection options. This is due to the fact that a lot of content blocks incoming connections from foreign IP addresses, so there is little you can do to minimize latency. That is to say that you can only connect to a single country to unblock the content, regardless of whether you’re in a neighboring nation or halfway around the world. Having said that, PIA has 3096 servers so you won’t have to worry about bottleneck issues, and they are cheaper than every other provider on this list. They also let you connect up to 5 devices with a single account, which is great for people who want to stream content to their tablets or smartphones without purchasing additional accounts.
PureVPN – Full Review
Pure VPN is our last choice for Smart TV, and they have 500+ servers in 140 countries around the world. This makes them much more flexible for users who aren’t looking for a VPN solely to unblock video content for their Smart TV because they are available in so many countries you can easily find a VPN server in a neighboring nation to minimize latency. Like PIA, they also allow up to 5 device connections and they have a 7-day money back guarantee. Last but not least, while they are a little more expensive than PIA, they are cheaper than the majority of other providers.