Apple TV is an excellent home multimedia center allowing streaming of video and music from your home computer. Virtual Private Networks (VPN) are an excellent way of protecting your browsing activity from the prying eyes of government and online threats. Services such as Netflix or Hulu tend to restrict viewing from countries outside the US. Using a VPN with a US based IP address; you can stream on demand TV shows and movies from these services. Most VPN companies provide multiple country support, including HideMyAss and VyprVPN services, although you will need to pay a monthly subscription to sign up and transfer data through their servers.
How to Set Up a VPN for Apple TV
One of the frustrating things you may find is that Apple TV doesn’t offer VPN support. However, there are two main ways of connecting your Apple TV to a VPN service. The first option is to use a flash router or install special software on your router. The other option is to share your VPN connection via your computer device.
Flash routers are supercharged routers with added functionality such as signal boosting and port forwarding. You will need to install Linux based firmware onto your router, usually DD-WRT or Tomato. This does require some technical knowledge but it is easy to implement. The most important thing is to check whether your router is supported by checking their product website (see references). Then you need to download the package and connect to your router via your LAN line. The process of installation is done offline as the router cannot transmit any information. You begin by logging onto your router’s web GUI interface and then upload the firmware. Alternatively, if you are skilled you can use the command line or TFTP for the program transfer.
The process of installation does vary between different types of routers. Make sure you read through the whole installation guide for the firmware before you start. Once you have flashed the router, you can configure it to use OpenVPN or other encryption protocols. It is simply a matter of opening up the router interface and it should detect your VPN network. The advantage of using a flash router is that it supplies not just your Apple TV but all your other devices such as gaming consoles and iOS devices. It also reduces clutter because everything can be done via a WiFi network.
Sharing a VPN Network
This option is probably the easier out of the two. This method shares your VPN connection to your Apple TV via WiFi or LAN cable. If you have an Ethernet cable, connect it to your Apple TV to start. The process depends on what operating system you use. On Windows, you need to open up “Network and Sharing Center” on the Control Panel, then you go to “Change Adapter Settings”. Once you have found your VPN network, right click and select “Properties”. Click on the “Sharing” tab and then tick the allow other users to connect option. You will find a drop down menu. Make sure to select the Ethernet connection for your Apple TV device then reboot your Apple TV for changes to appear.
For a Mac device the process is quite similar. Connect the Ethernet cable to your Mac computer and open “System Preferences” on your desktop. Click on the “Sharing” icon and ensure that internet sharing is enabled. Configure this by selecting your Ethernet connection and then “USB Ethernet” in the computers to connect option. Restart your Apple TV to make sure the changes take place. Mac OSX supports both PPTP and L2TP, but unfortunately if you wish to use OpenVPN you need to install Tunnelblick. It is an OpenVPN client with support for multiple connections.
Before you purchase your VPN package, make sure that it supports multiple encryption methods and allows you to connect to US based servers. We recommend trying out HideMyAss (click here for discount code). Similarly, ensure that the router is compatible with the firmware before you buy it. If you are not technically minded, there are companies that supply flash routers with firmware already installed (http://www.flashrouters.com). If you have an Ethernet cable on hand, then it is probably easier to go for the second option instead. You may have noticed that both these options required an element of tweaking and may put people off from setting this up. However, there are major advantages to be gained and you may be missing out on some great TV or movies.
Router Compatibility List