Do you usually play content on streaming platforms directly from your Android TV? well maybe you would like access the content that said platforms have in other countries: Due to different copyright agreements, there are series and movies that can only be accessed from specific places. And that is where VPNs come into play, they are the key to unlocking all catalogs.
Tunneled connections, popularly known by their acronym VPN (Virtual Private Network or Virtual Private Network), are notably popular on smartphones, not in vain allow you to browse anonymously as long as the VPN is trusted. Not only that, this type of connection “disguises” the local IP with that of other countries; which opens the door to hiring foreign services that are limited to specific territories. All these advantages can be transferred to televisions and players with Android TV.
VPNs open the catalog of Netflix, HBO Max…
The most attractive use of a tunneled connection on Android TV is open the catalogs of the different streaming platforms. Movie premieres that are only available on HBO Max in the United States, for example; or Netflix series that can only be seen in that country. It is even possible to access BBC iPlayer: the services of the UK media corporation are only accessible under an IP from that country.
As with mobile phones and tablets, you should be very careful with the VPN application or service you choose because the company that manages the connection will have access to everything you download and watch on your Android TV (The data from your device must go through the VPN servers so that it “disguises” the IP; it should not see the data itself since it should travel encrypted). With another key detail to consider: not all VPNs are going to work for you to free the catalogs of streaming platforms. These platforms usually block the IPs of the VPNs.
The easiest way to use a VPN on your Android TV is by installing an application that offers this service. You should be aware of the following security considerations:
- The VPN you connect to will know what pages and services you visit since all your Internet traffic will go through their servers. You must hire a VPN that is safe for you.
- A good VPN can make you more anonymous as the destination websites they will not know your real IP or other related data, such as your country of origin. There are a good number of applications that do not meet this requirement, especially free VPNs. You must tread carefully.
- Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu… spend a lot of resources blocking VPN IP addresses: maybe the application you plan to use will not work for you. Our advice is to use quality VPNs and ensure access to the full catalog of these platforms.
How to choose a good VPN for your Android TV
Since a tunneled connection requires a large amount of resources (server maintenance in the destination countries), free VPNs do not usually offer all the guarantees of privacy and security. The best recommendations are the paid VPNs, they are also the ones that are compatible with Android TV. And, since they usually have at least a week of trial, you can check that they work properly for you before subscribing to their services.
Try several applications, connect to all the streaming platforms you regularly use, make sure you access the series and movies you want and avoid paying for the VPN in advance. These services usually do annual offers, also for several years, but they are a risk if Netflix or any other platform that you usually watch ends up blocking the VPN: you will have paid for nothing. Our advice is that you pay month by month and only for the time that you are really going to use the tunneled connection.
Let’s see some of the most recommended VPNs according to our experience. They can all be installed directly on your Android TV.
- ProtonVPN. One of the safest and most reliable that you can try on your Android TV. It offers free subscription and has a wide range of countries available. You can download it from the Android app store.
- North VPN. Good quality, notable variety of servers and connection with sufficient speed and stability. It is necessary to create an account and it offers a seven-day free trial if you log in from Android TV (only with the annual subscription, remember to cancel and choose the monthly one if it suits you). Then it comes out to 11.99 euros per month. You can download the app from the Google Play Store.
- ExpressVPN. Another of the most recommended VPN platforms, both for the quality and the number of servers. It does not usually offer problems releasing the catalogs of most streaming services. And you have a free week when you create an account from your Android TV (an email is enough); with 13.14 euros per month: you can download it from the Google Play Store.
- SurfShark. Fast, secure and private enough, with a multitude of servers and perfect for releasing the Netflix and company catalogs: it has not given us any problems in this area. It offers a free trial week with each purchase made, 11.99 euros per month and you can download it from the Google Play Store.