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Top 10 (Including Free) VPN Services for Android TV - January 2021

Updated: July 14, 2021 July 14, 2021 By Dean Chester

Best VPNs for Android TV guide

More and more vendors are installing a kind of Smart TV - Android TV. Also, millions of users watch TV through the Android TV Box. Now is the time to set up a VPN on them to push the boundaries by unblocking geo-restricted streaming content.

📑Table of contents:

In 2021, I conducted a large-scale study of the increasingly popular Android TV platform. I paid special attention to the VPN. As a result, after testing over 50 popular services, I have selected the most effective VPNs for Android TV.

Among them, there are both strong providers with shareware use and completely free providers, although they have some limitations, which I will discuss in this article.

? If you're in a hurry, here's a spoiler: ExpressVPN performed best on Android TV Box. It is the fastest and the strongest provider that works with any streaming app

However, not all VPN providers support streaming movies. Most often, popular online video content broadcasting services use protection against anonymizers, which include Virtual Private Networks.

Start watching Android TV without limits

Why do we need a VPN on Android TV / TV Box?

An Android TV VPN applies in three cases:

  1. Streaming movies without geo-restrictions
  2. Unblocking websites and apps
  3. Increasing the streaming video speed

All of the services described are suitable for unblocking geo-restricted content on Netflix and other popular streaming platforms. Almost none of them overload the OS, and at the same time hide the addresses of visited sites from the Internet provider and encrypt traffic.

Comparison of the best VPNs for Android TV

 
Best VPNs with Android TV support:
  1. ExpressVPN: A premium-quality service with maximum speed and efficiency for streaming platforms.
  2. NordVPN: The optimal choice considering the possibilities and the price.
  3. Surfshark: A budget service with advanced block bypassing technologies.
  4. PIA: Not very effective for popular streaming sites, but can be indispensable for other purposes.
  5. CyberGhost: A universal VPN service that has dedicated servers for Netflix and some other resources.
 
Free VPNs for Android TV:
  1. Windscribe: There are both paid and limited free versions for Android TV.
  2. TunnelBear: The only truly fast free VPN. But there is a significant limitation.
  3. Hide.me: A balanced free VPN for TV platforms with a small selection of countries.
  4. ProtonVPN: A strong free VPN with disabled streaming sites support.
  5. Hotspot Shield: Suitable for unblocking sites.

After reading the article, you can independently install any of the listed VPN apps on your TV or Android TV Box. I will provide all the comprehensive information and describe step-by-step the installation process and features of using VPN for streaming content.


Express VPN installation on Android TV

You can find out more about VPN apps for Android TV by continuing to read the article, or you can immediately install the best one using my tips:

  1. Subscribe without risk.
    All the VPNs I have handpicked have a 30-day money-back guarantee that really works. In fact, you risk nothing and you can even use the largest services absolutely free if you cancel your subscription during this time.
    The easiest way to do this is with ExpressVPN.
  2. Install the VPN app.
    Go to the Google Play Store and download the app of the selected service. In the case of ExpressVPN, just search for “expressvpn”.The software is absolutely safe. All of the VPNs listed are time-tested and have a clean track record.
  3. Run the app.
    You will most likely need to select the correct country if you are installing a VPN to unblock HBO Max, Netflix, ESPN, or any other streaming platform.In other cases, when you need, for example, to improve the quality of the video, you may not change the country, leaving the automatically selected one.
  4. Turn on the VPN connection.
    The connection is activated with one click. After that, all apps on your Android TV will work through the VPN tunnel and have a new IP address for the selected country.

Bypass restrictions with a VPN

As I said before, there are several main reasons why it's worth running a VPN on Android TV. But what real improvements can be made with this, and how does it work?

Increase internet speed  

I have practical experience in increasing the bit rate of streaming video. I ran into this in 2020 when I temporarily moved to another country.

I will say right away that the method I described works only if your Internet provider limits the streaming content speed. I will tell you how to determine this below.

So, at some point, I noticed that the movies that I watch on streaming sites take a long time to load, and when playing even in not the highest quality, buffering often occurs.

At the same time, the site itself, instant messengers, and YouTube worked very quickly.

The situation repeated itself with at least three different streaming sites. After analyzing the situation, I concluded that the local ISP limits the streaming traffic speed.

Then I took advantage of what I have been advising my readers for a long time - I installed a VPN on my Android TV.

And the problem was gone! From that moment on, I was able to watch films in Ultra HD quality without buffering.  

How can you tell if your speed is limited?

Very simply! Repeat what I did - open YouTube from your TV and make sure the display stability is higher at maximum quality. Or use free speed test services such as speedtest.org. Speed ​​for HD must be 8-10 Mbps or higher. For 4K, you need a speed of 20 Mbps or higher.

If you see good results, and your streaming site is still lagging, then you need a VPN.

Bypassing geo-restrictions of streaming platforms

The most common reason for using a VPN on TV platforms is to access content from other countries or to unblock sites that only broadcast for United States (Hulu, HBO, ESPN) or United Kingdom (BBC).

To view blocked content, you need to make the streaming site “think” that you are in the country you want.

And a VPN is the best solution. But not all VPNs are suitable for this. Streaming sites resist circumvention of restrictions and therefore need a VPN that bypasses security.

Unblocking websites  

It often happens that due to blocking in the local network or by an Internet provider, some sites don’t open or apps don’t work.

In this case, a VPN will also help because a secure encrypted channel is established from a set-top box or TV with Android to a VPN server located in another country. This makes it impossible to analyse the passing traffic and, therefore, block individual URLs.


Best VPNs for Android TV platforms  

There are five criteria by which you can determine how suitable a VPN is for Android TV:

  1. Does the service support streaming sites
  2. Support for TV platforms
  3. Server speed
  4. Clarity and invisibility of the client app
  5. Selecting countries

I researched all of these characteristics, and also tested security, and analyzed the level of software support.

As a result, I have selected the 10 best VPN apps for Android TV. All of them can be used even for free, and I will tell you how to do it.

1. ExpressVPN – super-strong Android TV VPN

ExpressVPN for Android TV

  • Streaming platforms: Netflix, ESPN, BBC, Prime Video, HBO, Hulu, Pandora, and others
  • Video quality: Ultra HD
  • Ease of installation (out of 10): 10
  • Speed: Maximum (> 100-150 Mbps)
  • Money back guarantee: 30 days
  • TV technologies: Dedicated app, Smart DNS
  • Infrastructure: 3000+ servers in 94 countries
  • Number of devices simultaneously: 5

I recommend ExpressVPN when you need to get guaranteed unblocked streaming content on Android TV and any other platform.

Over 3 years of regular testing have shown ExpressVPN to be the best at bypassing streaming platforms. There wasn’t any time when it did not support some kind of online video service or site.

That being said, the provider offers the best VPN speeds on the market. The measurements showed a real download speed of over 150 Mbps, which is more than 5 times faster than the average speed of other VPNs.

The only drawback is that ExpressVPN is 15-20% more expensive than competitors and does not offer additional discounts for subscriptions for more than a year.

ExpressVPN Preview
Get an extra 20% discount
 

Also read:

2. NordVPN – highly efficient VPN

NordVPN for Android TV

  • Streaming platforms: Disney +, Netflix, ESPN, BBC, Prime Video, HBO, Hulu, CBS, and others
  • Video quality: Ultra HD
  • Ease of installation (out of 10): 9
  • Speed: High (> 80 Mbps)
  • Money back guarantee: 30 days
  • TV technologies: Dedicated app, Smart DNS
  • Infrastructure: 5500+ servers in 59 countries
  • Number of devices simultaneously: 6

In second place is my favourite NordVPN. This service is slightly inferior to ExpressVPN in average speed (although this does not affect video quality in any way), but at the same time it supports the innovative WireGuard protocol, which gives it two advantages at once:

  1. Unrivaled connection speed. Due to the minimal latency when connecting to the VPN server, the start-up time of Android TV with VPN is almost the same as the normal start-up.
  2. Significantly lesser load on the processor. Encrypting and packing / unpacking traffic with WireGuard does not place any noticeable strain on even the weakest devices.

These benefits are complemented by a huge (second-largest in the world) server base. Even during peak hours, the load is redistributed so efficiently that even in the most popular locations there is no buffering when watching videos in high quality.

NordVPN Preview
Make use of the discount – 59% off
 

Also read:

3. Surfshark – best budget VPN

Surfshark for Android TV

  • Streaming platforms: Netflix, iPlayer, ESPN, Hulu, Prime Video, ITV Hub and others
  • Video quality: Ultra HD
  • Ease of installation (out of 10): 8
  • Speed: High (> 70 Mbps)
  • Money back guarantee: 30 days
  • TV technologies: Dedicated app, Smart DNS
  • Infrastructure: 3200+ servers in 65 countries
  • Number of devices at the same time: Unlimited

Surfshark is the most affordable VPN for long-term use. This is a strong, intensively developing service that has tripled its technical base in 2020.

I love VPNs that grow in capacity because they actively and effectively support the latest technology 100% of the time and keep up with the times.

So, Surfshark has perhaps the best technology to bypass Internet censorship on Android TV. This service works in countries where VPNs are blocked (China, Iran, Egypt, and others).

At the same time, with a subscription for 2 years or more, there is no cheaper VPN with such capabilities. I have been testing Surfshark for about two years now, and during this time its effectiveness for unblocking streaming content has only grown. 

Surfshark Preview
Set up an efficient VPN for $2.49+per month
 

Also read:

4. Private Internet Access - service for complex networks 

Private Internet Access for Android TV

  • Streaming platforms: ESPN, ITV Hub, Pandora, Sky TV, and others
  • Video quality: Ultra HD
  • Ease of installation (out of 10): 8
  • Speed: High (> 80 Mbps)
  • Money back guarantee: 30 days
  • TV technology: Dedicated app
  • Infrastructure: 3700+ servers in 45 countries
  • Number of devices simultaneously: 10
  • Disadvantage: Poor Netflix support

If you access the Internet not through a regular Internet provider, but a local network with filters and various restrictions, then I recommend Private Internet Access (PIA). This VPN provider has the best technical equipment to “fight” non-standard network settings and restrictions.

Also, like NordVPN, it supports WireGuard as well as Shadowsocks.

For the most difficult cases, port forwarding can be used.

Another advantage of the provider is its high speed and the ability to disable encryption in the Android TV app. This significantly reduces the load on the device when using classic OpenVPN.

PIA isn’t known for its good support for Netflix, Hulu, and HBO services. But many other streaming platforms work well with it.

Also read:

5. CyberGhost – largest VPN provider 

CyberGhost for Android TV

  • Streaming platforms: Netflix (5 countries), HBO, BBC iPlayer, Spotify and others
  • Video quality: Full HD
  • Ease of installation (out of 10): 7
  • Speed: Medium (> 30 Mbps)
  • Money back guarantee: 45 days
  • TV technologies: Dedicated app, Smart DNS
  • Infrastructure: 6700+ servers in 90 countries
  • Number of devices simultaneously: 10
  • Disadvantage: Low speed

The next VPN service is somewhat controversial. CyberGhost, on the one hand, is the largest provider in terms of the number of servers, and on the other hand, testing the most popular locations for streaming video revealed a really low speed typical of usually weak VPNs.

I ranked CyberGhost in the fifth place for its consistent Netflix support. The peculiarity of the service is that it has specially configured servers to unblock popular streaming platforms. This ensures that service specialists monitor their effectiveness in bypassing geo-restrictions.

Unfortunately, this does not guarantee high video quality, since the speed at key locations can drop to 4 Mbps and below.

Also read:


Free VPNs supporting Android TV   

Next, I will describe 5 VPNs that you can use for free. Moreover, they do it not only during the guaranteed money-back period but with full-fledged free plans.

All of them are limited to one degree or another. There is no free VPN without limits. But as a temporary solution, they are fine.

1. Windscribe – free Android TV VPN

Free Windscribe for Android TV

  • Streaming efficiency (out of 10): 4
  • Ease of installation (out of 10): 8
  • Video quality: HD
  • TV technologies: Dedicated app, Smart DNS
  • Number of devices simultaneously: 1
  • Disadvantages: Limiting traffic

If you can't get the quality Android TV VPN I've listed above, then Windscribe is the best free option. More precisely, its free plan is.

Tests have shown that it even supports Netflix. However, not for popular regions.

Free Windscribe has the best combination of speed, connection stability, Android TV support, and limits.

The limits are common for free VPN: 10 GB of traffic per month, low speed, sometimes dropping to almost 0, and a limited list of available countries: US, CA, FR, DE, NL, NO, RO, UK, CH, HK.

Also read:

2. TunnelBear – the fastest free service

Free TunnelBear for Android TV

  • Streaming efficiency (out of 10): 6
  • Ease of installation (out of 10): 1
  • Video quality: Full HD
  • TV technology: None. Used via laptop.
  • Number of devices simultaneously: Unlimited
  • Disadvantage: Limiting traffic

All free VPNs have several limitations at once. TunnelBear only limits the amount of traffic.

But the speed and efficiency of unblocking streaming sites are comparable to paid VPNs. Also, 20 countries are available, which is a record for free plans.

But if you decide to run TunnelBear, you cannot do this either on the TV itself, or on the set-top box, or even on the router. The only way to link TunnelBear and Android TV are to run it on a laptop and share WiFi from it with a VPN. You can read how to do this in our article on VPN on Roku.

The limit, though there’s just one, is substantial - only 500 MB per month are available on the free plan. Since a movie in SD quality will require about 700 MB of bandwidth, TunnelBear is only suitable for short movies. 

Also read:

3. Hide.me – shareware provider

Free hide.me for Android TV

  • Streaming efficiency (out of 10): 4
  • Ease of installation (out of 10): 7
  • Video quality: SD
  • TV technologies: Dedicated app, Smart DNS
  • Number of devices simultaneously: 1
  • Limiting traffic and speed
  • Disadvantages: Low efficiency and 10 GB monthly traffic limit.

The next VPN with a free plan with no time limit is hide.me. This highly technological service offers Android TV apps with a bandwidth limit and no guarantee to support streaming sites.

I tested it with major sites and found that it only supports Netflix occasionally, does not work well for American Hulu, HBO and ESPN, but works well with less popular streaming platforms such as Twitch, Shudder, and Sling TV.

Hide.me limits cover both traffic volume (10 GB per month) and country selection. Only 5 locations are available for free - DE, CA, NL, and 2 in the US.

Average data transfer rate is 4-8Mbps.

Also read:

4. ProtonVPN – perfect non-steaming free service

Free ProtonVPN for Android TV

  • Streaming efficiency (out of 10): 4
  • Ease of installation (out of 10): 8
  • Video quality: HD
  • TV technologies: Dedicated app, Smart DNS
  • Number of devices simultaneously: 1
  • Disadvantage: Popular sites are blocked

This free service is interesting in that it does not limit traffic. This is very rare for free plans. One would expect too low a speed, but everything is in order here. It is quite normal when the speed is kept at 8-12 Mbps.

Why then is ProtonVPN in the penultimate place?

The thing is, it blocks the use of the main-streaming sites for free. This is to prevent people from overloading free servers and to make them subscribe to paid plans that have no Android TV restrictions.

ProtonVPN limits apply to the number of countries (3) and the availability of Netflix.com, hulu.com, and some others.

Also read:

5. Hotspot Shield – most popular free VPN

  • Streaming efficiency (out of 10): 2
  • Ease of installation (out of 10): 5
  • Video quality: SD
  • TV technology: Dedicated app
  • Number of devices simultaneously: 1
  • Disadvantage: Popular sites are blocked, only NL

The last free VPN for Android TV on my list is Hotspot Shield. This is a very popular service that allows you to use a VPN absolutely free of charge without registration.

On Android TV, it is only effective for unblocking non-stream apps and sites.

Hotspot Shield limits are very substantial: only one location is available, low speed, and no more than 500 MB per day.

The service's website indicated that 1 location in the US is available, but during testing, a Dutch IP address was determined.

Also read:


Alternative way to start a VPN  

If for some reason you cannot run the VPN app on Android TV, then you can turn a regular router into a VPN router.

You can turn a regular Wi-Fi network into a secure VPN network in 10 minutes.

To do this, you need to configure your Wi-Fi router using the configuration obtained from the VPN provider.

All VPNs presented in this article support routers.


Conclusion

Android TV is considered the most user-friendly TV platform to use with a VPN. The Google Play Store contains dozens of VPN apps that are compatible with this platform. All you need to do is choose the right service, subscribe, and download its app.

The VPNs listed in this article have been tested with all major streaming platforms. They support both entertainment and sports broadcasts.

In some cases, connection failures are possible since the server's IP address was included in the blacklist. But I specially selected those providers that have many working IP addresses and it won’t be difficult for you to simply reconnect to the VPN to unblock the streaming app for the selected country again.


I would be glad if you expressed your thoughts on the topic of the article or asked me questions. I will be happy to answer them in the comments.

Dean Chester.

Senior Researcher
Dean Chester
Cybersecurity and online privacy expert and researcher. He's been published on OpenVPN, EC-Council Blog, DevSecOps, AT-T Business, SAP Community, etc. Dean has been testing VPNs for 8 years.

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