What is a Smart TV VPN and why you need one? | Advantages of using VPN
Many of us heard about a Smart TV and some of us even had the chance to use it. And lately, we started hearing about VPN and its use in connection with Smart TV. So, what is a Smart TV VPN? How is related to a Smart TV? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a VPN? This article demystifies all the above questions.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is a Smart TV?
- 2 Smart TV usage Statistics
- 3 What is VPN
- 4 Why you need Smart TV VPN
- 5 Advantages of using VPN for Smart TV
- 5.1 Unblock Geo-blocked Content
- 5.2 Securing your usage
- 5.3 Security from Cyber-Criminals and Hackers
- 5.4 Security from Malware
- 5.5 Protects online identity
- 5.6 Enjoy native content in native language
- 5.7 Access Movies online
- 5.8 Access Audio and Sports Channels online
- 5.9 Improve your Streaming Experience
- 5.10 Defeat Data Retention
- 5.11 Save Money on Travel
- 5.12 Access Games online
- 5.13 Improve Streaming Access and Speed
- 5.14 Conduct Business Securely
- 6 Conclusion
Let’s start with a brief intro to Smart TV. It is a “Smarter” version of your regular TV. It lets you do a lot more than what a regular TV would allow you to do. It can let you view different TV channels, play audio and video streams, play games, browse internet, interact with various apps like Facebook, Twitter, access online streams via websites such as YouTube, etc. and lot more!
With the advantages of a Smart TV being manifold, many people in the recent years have switched to Smart TVs. As per the statistics revealed by Statista, it is seen that in the year 2017, the annual sales of Smart TV was 193.7 million and is expected to rise to 249.9 by the year 2023. That would be an increase of almost 30% as opposed to the sales in the year 2017 i.e. just within a time span of 6 years.
VPN is an abbreviation for Virtual Private Network (VPN). It is a software that is used to encrypt all the data which your Smart TV sends over the internet. This encrypted data is then sent to a server owned by your VPN provider. Once the data arrives at the server, it is decrypted and then sent to the source (the content provider) and then the response i.e. digital data is sent back to you.
The beauty of the entire process of communicating using a VPN, is that your VPN provider could be located anywhere in the world and so you don’t have to worry about the physical location of your VPN provider.
The need for a Smart TV VPN, stems from the fact that when your Smart TV is connected to the Internet, it may pose risks to your privacy like your computer does. Some of the common risks include hacking attempts by hackers to control your Smart TV and/or viewing your activity. It is also possible for your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to collect information about your viewing habits or behavior, in the absence of VPN.
There are multiple advantages of using VPN and we will cover them below.
Most of us love TV shows and we also plan to get to our favorite shows on time. But did you know that our geographical location can prevent us from accessing some of the shows on TV? Or maybe you are on a trip outside of USA and you try to access Netflix or Hulu, but it simply does not work. It is impossible to access them as you see an error, such as this: “Sorry! This program is not available in your country.” This type of content that is blocked outside of a certain physical region is called “Geo-blocked content“.
Thankfully, we have a neat solution to access the “Geo-blocked content”. Here is where we can use a streaming VPN to gain access to unlimited content such as shows, movies, animations and much more.
VPN software works by simply blocking your IP address and then rerouting your connection through an alternative server before it accesses online shows, websites and apps. Your current IP is replaced by a new IP address and the initial data tunnel is encrypted, so that you are able to access the blocked content. This is the reason why using a VPN service will definitely benefit you in the long run.
As Smart TV has the capability of connecting to the internet, it is possible that when you are scanning for resources that you like, such as TV shows or movies, you may come across websites that stream copyrighted content such as music, movies, TV shows and more. It can be helpful to note that websites that stream copyrighted content are considered illegal by law and you are not allowed to use them.
Let’s assume that by chance you happen to visit these websites that stream copyrighted content (illegally) and use their services. Unfortunately, if you are caught using that content, it may lead to legal problems. The copyright holders or law enforcement agencies can possibly investigate your internet use and if you have been using an unencrypted internet connection i.e. without a VPN, your actual IP will be revealed to them. Using your IP address, your physical location could be tracked and you may be taken into custody, fined or even prosecuted.
How is anyone supposed to know that they are streaming content from a website that claims itself to be a valid and legal supplier of copyrighted content, but distributes content illegally? Wouldn’t it be totally wrong to get into a legal problem, without actually knowing about it and doing it unknowingly?
Fortunately, to combat this issue, a VPN is a highly useful tool. Using a VPN masks your actual IP address and a different IP address is used to access the content. This means that neither the content owners/law enforcement officials nor your ISP provider will be able to see what data you are sending along your internet connection. They would be able to see the amount of data you are using, but not the actual contents of this data. You are protected if you use a VPN, so make sure you use one.
Note: If you do know in some way that a website is actually streaming content illegally, then I highly recommend you stay away from using that website altogether, even though you use VPN. Better safe than sorry!
Just like any other device that is connected to the internet carries the security risk of being hacked and snooped upon, a Smart TV is no exception. If sufficient care is not taken, then it is possible for Cyber-Criminals and hackers to hack your Smart TV and/or monitor your usage.
To avoid this, make sure that you use a VPN so that your actual IP address is masked and an alternate IP is used in its place, thereby adding a level of protection to your security.
Virtually every Smart TV has a built-in web browser that is used to connect to the internet. As such, it becomes a target for people with malicious intent to hack the device and actually download and execute malicious code/malware on the device. Due to the hardware and software restrictions in Smart TV, we can’t just straight away install and run anti-malware, anti-virus and anti-spyware tools.
Having a VPN ensures that your real IP address is not revealed to the outside world. Any remote attempts to install malware on the device would fail and thus, offer better protection.
In today’s world, there are multiple reports of online identity theft, wherein a person with malicious intent could actually steal your identity, portray themselves as you and then carry out either business transactions and do even worse. This could land you in legal trouble! For such reason, it becomes vital to protect the real online identity.
Using a VPN ensures that your IP address, physical location, visited websites and personal communications are all kept private, thereby offering additional peace of mind.
Are you a frequent traveler who needs to stay away from home for a longer period of time? If yes, then you might find this one even more interesting.
Back in the days, if you were away from home, you could no longer access your favorite content in your native language. But today, watching any content from back home is definitely possible by the use of a streaming VPN.
Your VPN provider can actually deploy multiple servers in different places/countries and route your request through them and provide you with the content you need. Use a VPN and enjoy your home channels in your own native language.
If you are a die-hard fan of movies just like me, then you will love this. Watching a movie can be a great way to spend your leisure time, but how can you ensure that you get to watch a movie that you love or has always been wanting to see? Especially when you are on the move? Some online video streaming services such as Hulu and Netflix block your access, depending upon your location. What do you do then?
Your ultimate solution would be to use a VPN in order to access the restricted content. A VPN masks your real IP and also gives you the option to select a server of your choice. There could be multiple servers located in different parts of the globe. So, when travelling, if you select a server that resides in the same country as your home town, you will be able to bypass the geo-location blocking and access the movies.
Similar to the geo-block that is experienced when trying to access movies online, the same can happen when you try to access certain audio and sports channels. Depending upon the location, the content provider can actually restrict your access, even though you have paid for the subscription.
Under such conditions, using a VPN will allow you to effectively bypass the block and let you access the content of your choice without any restrictions, thereby letting you make the most value out of it.
Based on your location, your ISP can choose to slow down, or throttle, your internet connection. Yes, this wrong, but the ISPs generally tend to do this so that leech your connection speed and transfer it to a new customer, thereby making the most profit. Overwhelming the network by multiple congestions can severely slow down the connection speed thus leading to congestion of traffic over the internet.
A VPN lets you increase your streaming performance and achieve relatively faster speeds on services such as YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, and other web services.
“Data Retention” refers to the simple act of storing customer information for the purposes of repeated billing or invoicing. This is a good thing if used positively i.e. it saves time from having to enter the same details each time the billing needs to be done. But at the same time, it increases the risk of misuse of that data, should a malicious user get their hands on it.
In an unfortunate event the data is compromised, it becomes very easy to steal someone’s identity, misuse it and take things to a whole new level on a negative aspect. Without a VPN, your network activities are subject to data collection performed by your ISP and other service providers, under government surveillance and in worse cases, misuse by hackers.
A VPN helps by encrypting your internet connection, thereby encrypting the data that you send over the internet. This means that our ISP or others can’t see the websites you visit, thereby safeguarding your data.
Did you know that travel agency companies can actually increase your fare charges based upon your location? Shocking, but true! Companies generally use your computer cookies and most importantly, your IP address to determine your location and if you are non-local to them, they simply hike up the prices and charge you more for the same trip.
A VPN lets you change the location of your server thereby letting you fake the request coming from a local place, so that you can get cheaper booking rates for your travel needs.
Once again, depending upon your location, your online game provider can actually restrict or even block your access to the game. This is true in most cases, even if you have paid a subscription.
Using a VPN connection lets you bypass those restrictions on the games and let you enjoy the game of your choice. In addition to that, you may also experience higher connectivity speeds when using a VPN, thus letting you make the most out of your gaming experience.
Many ISPs actually place a limitation when you are not in their vicinity or away from your home area. This can drastically reduce the speed of access of the websites and other apps that you generally use and thereby reduce the overall performance.
A VPN is effective in projecting your location as in your home-town location, thereby making your ISP think that you are accessing the content from your home location and provide you with the maximum speed possible.
When you are online, you are under a constant threat of being snooped upon or your data being stolen by malicious users. If you are a business person, then you know how important your every day transactions are and you can’t risk compromising it.
Fortunately, a VPN helps you in your venture by masking your IP address, thereby deflecting all malicious attacks on your network and ensuring that you carry on your everyday business activities worry-free.
From all the above, we can conclude that a VPN is a software that can be used with your Smart TV to safeguard your identity online, from theft and malicious users. It is also a very effective tool in protecting your privacy. There are many advantages of using VPN with a Smart TV, as discussed above.
So now that we have covered what is a Smart TV VPN and why you need one, what are your thoughts on this topic? Share them by leaving a comment below.