The following guide will provide you with an analysis of the Fastest Streaming Device for a VPN.
We receive thousands of questions on the TROYPOINT site regarding VPN Speed and how to improve it.
Running a VPN on any device will decrease the download speed for a couple of reasons.
All streaming machines perform differently when the VPN is on. I have tested the download speed of the most popular streaming devices on the market today, which you will see below.
This research has been conducted in an effort to find the fastest streaming device for a VPN.
Why do download speeds decrease when a VPN is being used?
The first reason is due to the fact that Internet traffic is being tunneled through the VPN server. You can think of the VPN server as the middle-man.
When this happens, a reduction in download speed is unavoidable.
Running a VPN on any device requires processing power due to the encryption that is being performed. This also diminishes download speed as well.
You will usually notice better Internet speed on streaming devices with strong processors.
Download Speed Overkill
People get too hung up on download speed. They may notice that their speed is 80 Mbps with VPN off but once it is turned on, they complain about getting 35 Mbps.
In theory, you only need 8 Mbps download speed to stream 1080p HD video. You would need 6 Mbps to stream 720p HD video.
If you would like to stream Ultra HD 4K video, that would require approximately 25 Mbps.
It is important to note that most servers aren’t capable of providing enough bandwidth for you to download at your max rate anyway.
When determining what type of Internet speed you would like to purchase from your ISP, also take into account how many people will be using it simultaneously.
If you have 3 people streaming a 1080p HD video at the same time, you will have approximately 24 Mbps used in that scenario.
I highly recommend viewing our Internet Speed Guide for more information on reliable Internet speed and how to troubleshoot network issues.
For the device tests, I used IPVanish as the VPN on each device due to its fast download speeds.
When I tested the top VPN providers, IPVanish stood head and shoulders above the rest in regards to download speed.
I performed the download speed tests on each device with the following constants.
- World’s Fastest VPN Provider: IPVanish VPN
- Used most recent application offered by IPVanish on each device
- Speed test application used was Speakeasy Internet test
- Conducted speed tests with VPN on and off
- Tested both wireless and Ethernet-connected
- All tests performed in the same location which is 10 feet from the wireless router
- Used fastest IPVanish server for my location on each streaming device
- Performed test three times for both VPN On and VPN Off and averaged the three speeds
- Asus AC3200 Router with stock firmware & wireless tests conducted on 5.0GHz band
- Mediacom Internet Service 150 Ultra Plus plan
Fastest Streaming Device for VPN
The following devices have been tested by TROYPOINT for speed when connected to a VPN.
Winner – NVIDIA Shield
TROYPOINT declares the NVIDIA Shield as the winner.
While the NVIDIA Shield is lightning fast, even when connected to a VPN, there is one drawback. Currently, there are two versions of the NVIDIA Shield.
The NVIDIA Shield TV is priced at $149 and the NVIDIA Shield TV Pro is listed at $199.
NVIDIA Shield Review (2017)
NVIDIA Shield TV Review (2019)
NVIDIA Shield TV Pro Review (2019)
For those who want power, speed, and efficiency when streaming with a VPN, the NVIDIA Shield is a fabulous choice.
However, there are alternatives that are much lighter on the wallet that will also provide an enjoyable streaming experience.
Wireless Download Speed: 166.6 Mbps
Ethernet Download Speed: 266.8 Mbps
Wireless Download Speed: 98.6 Mbps
Ethernet Download Speed: 101.7 Mbps
Below, you will find the other streaming devices that were tested. This page will be updated on a regular basis when new media boxes are released.
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K
The Fire TV Stick 4k is arguably the most popular streaming device on the market today. This device works great with IPVanish VPN and any subsequent applications you wish to install.
One of the biggest draws for consumers is the price point of the Amazon Firestick. The Fire TV Stick 4k is currently listed $49.99 and readily available online and at numerous retail stores.
Many purchase the Firestick in order to “jailbreak” the device and install apps not available in the Amazon App Store.
Wireless Download Speed: 255.1 Mbps
Ethernet Download Speed (used OTG cable to attach Ethernet adapter since device doesn’t come equipped with one): 96.2 Mbps
Wireless Download Speed: 32.5 Mbps
Ethernet Download Speed: 47.0 Mbps
Note: The Ethernet adapter that I used is only capable 100 Mbps max speeds. The wireless chip in the Fire TV Stick 4K performs better than this hence the better download speeds.
Amazon Fire TV Cube
Another Amazon device that works fabulously when paired with a VPN is the Amazon Fire TV Cube.
For those who want to enjoy a completely hands-free experience, the Fire TV Cube is a perfect choice.
With Alexa integrated into the device, users can sync and command tons of apps and devices right to their Fire Cube.
When testing with a VPN, speeds on the Fire TV Cube were a bit slower, however, still enough to stream High Definition content.
Wireless Download Speed: 124.9 Mbps
Ethernet Download Speed (used OTG cable to attach Ethernet adapter since device doesn’t come equipped with one): 98.1 Mbps
Wireless Download Speed: 18.6 Mbps
Ethernet Download Speed: 22.6 Mbps
Note: The Ethernet adapter that I used is only capable 100 Mbps max speeds. The wireless chip in the Fire TV Cube performs better than this hence the better download speeds.
Mi Box S
The Mi Box is an Android-powered streaming device that is popular among cord-cutters and more. It is available with 4k capabilities and works fabulously with streaming apps and APK’s.
Even with a VPN on, the Mi Box is fast enough to stream 4k videos when tested with a wireless connection. Currently, the Mi Box S is available for $49.99.
Wireless Download Speed: 141.12 Mbps
Ethernet Download Speed: NA No Ethernet Port
Wireless Download Speed: 35.69 Mbps
Ethernet Download Speed: NA No Ethernet Port
X96 Max Android TV Box
Wireless Download Speed: 181.8 Mbps
Ethernet Download Speed: 98.1 Mbps
Wireless Download Speed: 45.7 Mbps
Ethernet Download Speed: 49.1 Mbps
Overall, there are several popular streaming devices that work well with a VPN installed.
For more detailed information on VPNs, installation guides, and more I suggest viewing our in-depth guide below.
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