VPN for smart TV

While a smart TV may not literally be more intelligent than its older-gen brethren, it still comes with a neat range of new features such as access to apps and multiple streaming platforms.

Some of them even have native VPN support to increase your security. All you need to do is set up a VPN for your smart TV.

Quick fix: use Smart DNS on a smart TV

Smart DNS will allow you to bypass local firewalls and censorship without installing a VPN on your smart TV.

Disclaimer: Smart DNS does not provide full protection of a VPN.

How to set up Smart DNS on a smart TV (I’ll use Surfshark as an example):

  1. Sign up or Sign in to your Surfshark account.
  2. Go to the My Account page on Surfshark’s website. Under the VPN menu, find the option to turn Smart DNS on. Click Activate Smart DNS.
Activate Smart DNS
  1. Pick either one of the two DNS (Domain Name System) addresses displayed.
Pick either one of the two DNS addresses

Note: The following steps may vary depending on the brand and model of your device.

  1. Now go to Menu on your smart TV > Settings > Network
  2. Click around to find Manual set up for your IP (Internet Protocol) address/DNS configuration.
  3. When prompted, enter any of the two DNS addresses displayed on your VPN account page.
  4. Restart your smart TV.

And there you have it! If there are local DNS-level censorship measures in play, you just squashed them!

1. Download a VPN for a smart TV on the Google Play Store

By far, the easiest way to get a virtual private network on your smart TV is to download it from the Google Play Store. 

Disclaimer: This step requires you to have a smart TV that runs on Android OS like Android TV, some Sony or Hisense variants, etc. You can check if your device is supported here.

To get a VPN running on your smart TV using the Google Play Store, you need to:

  1. Find the app on Google Play Store.
Find the Surfshark on Google Play Store
  1. Download and install the VPN.
  2. Under the Locations tab, find and connect to a country you want to appear to be connecting from (or just connect to a server in your own country for the best speed).
connect to a country you want to access content from
  1. Enjoy unrestricted and secure access to your favorite content.

2. Set up a VPN protected Wi-Fi hotspot (on Windows)

Apart from the first two quicker methods, there is another way to establish a secure VPN connection for your smart TV. You can set up a Wi-Fi hotspot on your PC and use it as a virtual router to connect your TV to. By running a VPN on your laptop, you will be able to change your location and access the other VPN features easily.

Setting up a virtual router on Windows 10 

The procedure is straightforward. Its only downside is that you’d have to do this every time you want to set up a VPN connection to your smart TV.

  1. Press Windows Key + S and type in Mobile hotspot settings and press enter.
Mobile hotspot settings
  1. Turn the Mobile Hotspot “On.”
turn on Mobile Hotspot
  1. Scroll down under Related settings and click Change adapter options.
Change adapter options
  1. Right-click on your VPN’s internet connection and press Properties.
VPN's internet connection properties
  1. On the top left corner of the window, click on the Sharing tab and tick the Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection box.
Click on Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection
  1. In the drop-down menu below, choose your newly created hotspot and click OK.
  2. Connect your smart TV to your created Wi-Fi hotspot and you’re good to go! (If you want to change the region, just connect to a different server on your VPN app)

Setting up a virtual router on older Windows OS

If you’re using an older Windows operating system (OS) like Windows 7, then the setup process will be slightly different.

  1. On your desktop, press the Windows + S keys and type in “cmd”.
  2. Right-click on the Command Prompt and select Run as administrator.
  3. Type in “netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=[enter the desired network name here without the brackets] key=[enter your desired password here for the network without the brackets]” and press Enter.
  4. Now press the Windows + R keys and type “ncpa.cpl” in the Run window. Press Enter.
  5. In the Network Connections window, select your VPN’s connection, e.g., Surfshark, right-click on it and select Properties.
  6. On the top left corner of the window, click on the Sharing tab and tick the Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection box.
  7. In the drop-down menu right below, choose your newly created hotspot and click OK.
  8. Connect your smart TV to your created Wi-Fi hotspot and you’re good to go!

What about a virtual router on macOS?

Unlike Windows, macOS cannot share and receive Wi-Fi at the same time. For it to work, you’d have to manually set up an L2TP/IPSec connection while using an Ethernet cable to create a virtual router.

VPN providers like Surfshark no longer support the L2TP/IPSec protocol because its security standards are severely lacking.

Instead, you can use an Ethernet cable to share a VPN connection to your smart TV through your Mac.

3. Set up a VPN for a smart TV via an Ethernet cable (for Windows or macOS)

This method is simple and straightforward but requires an ethernet cable to connect your smart TV to your Mac device.

Connect your smart TV to a VPN via Ethernet on Mac

  1. Go to System Preferences and click Sharing.
  2. A box will come up; check the Internet Sharing option.
Internet Sharing option
  1. In the “Share your connection from” drop-down menu, pick either Ethernet or Wi-Fi, whichever one you are using to connect your computer to the internet.
Share your connection from
  1. In the “To computers using” box, choose Ethernet.
To computers using option
  1. Open and run your VPN.
  2. Connect your smart TV to your computer via an Ethernet cable. As long as the VPN is on, your smart TV should have a VPN-protected connection.

Connect your smart TV to a VPN via Ethernet on Windows 10

You can do a similar procedure on Windows 10 if you’d prefer to use an Ethernet cable over Wi-Fi.

  1. Press the Windows key + S and type in “view network connections.” Hit enter.
view network connections
  1. In the list that pops up, find the connection of your VPN provider.
find the connection of your VPN provider
  1. Right-click on the connection and select Properties.
  2. Navigate to the Sharing tab and check the “Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s internet connection.”
Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s internet connection
  1. Select Ethernet from the drop-down menu and press OK.
  2. Connect to your VPN and link your computer to your smart TV via an Ethernet cable. Your TV should now have a VPN-protected connection.

4. Install a VPN client on your router

Installing a VPN on your router is possibly the best thing you can do to extend the VPN benefits across your entire home network. In addition to your smart TV, a VPN router would also protect your computer and mobile devices that are connected to your home Wi-Fi.

Setting up a VPN router is a lengthier process than the rest of the methods discussed above. However, it is definitely worth the time and effort.

Alternatively, you can always buy a FlashRouter that comes pre-installed with a VPN.

VPN-compatible router installation:

  1. Download DD-WRT firmware (bin file) for your router. You can check if your router is supported here.
  2. Access your router through your browser using its IP address. 
    • You can find your router’s IP address by searching for the Command Prompt in your search window. Open it and type in ‘ipconfig’ and hit Enter. Your router’s IP address will be displayed next to the Default Gateway line.
  3. Find the firmware install page, usually found under the Administration tab.
  4. Upload the DD-WRT firmware bin file to the router page. Click Start.
  5. The router will ask you for a new Username and Password. Remember to write them down somewhere!
  6. Follow your VPN client’s set up guidelines. See Surfshark’s instructions for Asus, DD-WRT, and Tomato routers.
  7. Connect your smart TV to your Wi-Fi.
  8. Enjoy your favorite content in privacy from the comfort of your home.

For a more detailed step-by-step guide, we have a separate blog post dedicated to setting up a VPN on your router.

If you’re experiencing any technical issues, you can always contact our support team.

Time to stream comfortably

With a VPN protecting your smart TV, neither your ISP nor anyone else on the internet will know what you’re doing. This prevents such nasty stuff like bandwidth throttling. So what are you waiting for?

Surfshark does not encourage using a VPN in any way that would potentially violate the Terms of Service of other service providers.

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