ExpressVPN brings its VPN app to the Apple TV

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in tvOS

ExpressVPN has released an app for tvOS 17, enabling customers to take advantage of the traffic-rerouting service on their Apple TV.




Before the introduction of tvOS 17, Apple TV users couldn't directly set up a VPN app on their set-top streaming devices, and instead had to rely on configuring their router to use that functionality. In a Monday release, ExpressVPN has introduced one that can be installed directly onto the Apple TV.

Apple added third-party VPN support to tvOS 17, with the change framed as one to benefit education and enterprise users wanting to access private networks. Though Apple didn't outright offer that it could be used by consumers, ExpressVPN decided to go that route anyway.

When used on an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, a VPN can allow users to divert their internet traffic through servers in other countries. As streaming services can often geo-lock content to be accessible within specific countries for licensing purposes, a VPN can allow users to see content viewable in other countries, expanding the content library.

By adding third-party VPN support, Apple allowed users to potentially connect to a VPN service with it configured at the Apple TV, without needing to change things at the router. Such a change therefore means only the Apple TV's web traffic is affected, leaving other devices accessing the internet as usual.

ExpressVPN's app appears in the Apple TV version of the App Store, with users able to sign in to the account using a QR code scan on their iPhone or entered in manually. Once set up, users can select from servers in 105 countries to connect through.

The service uses ExpressVPN's Lightway VPN protocol for reliability and consistent speeds, the company claims. Further improvements are said to be on the way in the coming months, with ExpressVPN also offering access to a beta program.

ExpressVPN wasn't the first to offer its own app on tvOS, with smaller outfits including PureVPN and IPVanish doing so earlier. However, its presence it may open other major VPN apps to offer something similar. According to The Verge, NordVPN now has ambitions to roll out its own app.

Read on AppleInsider

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 5
    I get that people WANT VPNs to get around restrictions, but isn't that pretty similar to having an app that lets you pirate videos?  You don't want to follow the rules and pay what's needed where it's needed, so who cares about the TOS that you agreed to, right?
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 5
    jimh2jimh2 Posts: 576member
    More importantly to keep your ISP and DNS servers from developing and potentially reselling your viewing habits and other usages. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 5
    S12S12 Posts: 25member
    @brianjo I'm a US citizen with a US address and US bank accounts, but I am working often in Europe. I cannot access the channels I subscribe to on the Apple TV without using a VPN. So, things like Acorn, Britbox, and PBS are blocked without a VPN. I need to use a VPN to access services I am paying for.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 5
    davidwdavidw Posts: 2,024member
    brianjo said:
    I get that people WANT VPNs to get around restrictions, but isn't that pretty similar to having an app that lets you pirate videos?  You don't want to follow the rules and pay what's needed where it's needed, so who cares about the TOS that you agreed to, right?

    Not even close. In most countries, there is nothing illegal about bypassing geo-blocking. While in nearly all countries, pirating movies is illegal. About the only reason why geo-blocking exist is because the streaming service you might be subscribing to, made a licensing deal with some other entity to allow them exclusive rights to steam certain contents, for certain areas. Or due to different movie rating standards, in different countries.

    For instance, when you subscribe to the NBA League Pass for a certain NBA team, you do not get the home games if you live in certain area codes close to the home team arena. You only get the away games. That's because the NBA sold the licensing rights to NBA homes games to another service (Regional Sport Network (RSN) ), that are usually available (for a premium) on local cable or satellite dish networks in the area. (or it might be broadcast live on a local network.) Thus the NBA can not infringe upon that license. But nothing stops a subscriber from logging into their NBA League Pass account from an area code that is streaming the home games by driving there or by using a VPN. Thus being able to watch the home games. You are basically watching contents that everyone in the World that's not logging into their NBA League Pass account from certain area codes that are close the home team arena, can watch. You are actually infringing upon the license of the company with the rights to broadcast the home games but you didn't sign off on any EULA with them or accessing their service illegally. The rules only exist between the NBA and the service (RSN) that acquired the license to the home games. 

    Another example of geo-blocking is that the UK have different censorship standards for movies, so often there are certain scenes in movies that are censored for the UK only and not in the US (or anywhere else). The Matrix is one example. In the UK, headbutts in fight scenes are not allowed in "15" rated movies. So in the UK, the scenes where Morpheus and Neo headbutts with Agent Smith (in their respective fight scenes) are deleted on the UK version, so to keep a UK "15" rating. There is nothing illegal about any UK citizen getting a hold of the US version of The Matrix and seeing the headbutts. Streaming service like Netflix might only be allowed to stream the UK censored version in the UK. Even the UK version of the DVD disc release have the headbutts deleted. But there's nothing illegal about a UK citizen buying the US DVD disc release (in the UK) from Amazon or watching a streamed US version by using a VPN to log onto to their Netflix account. The rules only exist between the movie producers (or Netflix) and the UK government. Not between the movie producers (or Netflix) and the UK citizens or between the UK government and its citizens.

    Using a VPN to avoid geo-blocking is more like using an ad-blocker when surfing the internet or even with older technology, recording an OTA TV show and using a feature on the remote that allows you to skip (FF) the commercials. You are not doing anything illegal.
    williamlondonwatto_cobramuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 5 of 5
    y2any2an Posts: 181member
    brianjo said:
    I get that people WANT VPNs to get around restrictions, but isn't that pretty similar to having an app that lets you pirate videos?  You don't want to follow the rules and pay what's needed where it's needed, so who cares about the TOS that you agreed to, right?
    Additionally to other responses here… streamers do little to help subscribers have continued access to their home country libraries while they are traveling. I guess it’s a minority use case that doesn’t justify the investment in features. I have a Prime account in the US but when I’m in Germany for example I’m redirected to the German site so I can’t watch the series I’m already watching or the movies and shows available in my account at home. They are using a simple IP restriction rather than identifying me correctly. Of course, if I planned in advance I could download the content I might watch for offline viewing, but c’mon, y’all this is 2023, why should I have to be so 1980?
    edited December 2023 williamlondonwatto_cobra
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