Are there any "ethical" video or music streaming options? (Probably not.)

All commercial video streaming services, and I imagine music streaming services, employ DRM, of course. That horse is already out of the barn.

Until recently, I hadn’t realized that the default for DRM implementation these days is apparently Google’s Widevine, in browsers (including Firefox), and probably within every video disc player and streaming box.

I never enable DRM in Firefox or its forks, choosing instead to forego video of any sort, unless it can be played through a privacy-respecting platform. I do use a Roku device, appropriately locked down with Pi-hole, of course, but it bothers me that streaming devices and their channels/apps, including Netflix, Prime Video, MHz Choice, etc., are using Widevine in most cases.

So Google has its hooks even in DRM, and in most streaming services and browsers. Are they able to collect data on usage and users this way?

I’m guessing there are no good options here, when it comes to privacy.

1 Like

I read this as “are the services providing the content able to tell whom they’re providing service to?” Which seems self-evident to me.

If it’s just a question of if the creator of the DRM solution used can track everything that uses the DRM solution, not directly. There may be a sharing agreement between the service and the DRM provider but the DRM technology doesn’t do that in and of itself.

As far as ethical streaming services. There’s a balance to be sought there, there’s the ethics of protecting the rights holders rights and their content as well as the ethics of limiting user data collection to the minimum required to provide the service.

Your best bet for unpaid and as anonymous as is feasible would be internet radio sites that just stream/restream broadcasts as there’s generally no need to protect the stream from being intercepted. Even these sites might want to make money from other advertising on their sites so they may still use drm etc to try and force using their site instead of just tuning into the broadcast, but this is still where I would focus my search.

There’s also which I believe will allow streaming of drm free music that is in the public domain, though it’s not like pandora or Spotify etc, and rather select song stream song select next song …

The other solution is, of course, to self host and stream your own paid for DRM free music to yourself. This is the path I personally choose.

1 Like

No, I meant “Is Google able to collect data on users when they stream media on any platform, thanks to Widevine.”

Agreed. I support the content owners’ rights to protection; I just don’t want to be tracked (apart from account verification) and marketed to, especially if it involves the likes of Google. They already have too much power.

Yep. I use these a lot, while blocking as many trackers as possible. (Yet, am I still supporting the “wrong” DRM usage?)

I just copy my purchased music to all the devices where I need it.

I had been looking into setting up a DIY internet video streaming device, but then I realized this would still promote Google’s Widevine marketshare, if I loaded any commercial channels. Even buying DVDs and commercial DVD players probably advances Widevine, too.

Apparently a post is “empty” if it’s only quotes… good to know.

1 Like

Generally no. Dvd/blue ray use different DRM solutions and generally aren’t using widevine. Also when you rip the video to your self hosting solution you can remove the DRM (and this can be done offline so no need to worry about this being reported back to Google nor anyone else) so there would be no DRM for the video you’re streaming.

1 Like

Good to know. Thanks for the clarification.

1 Like

See this (scroll down):


Hi amarok,

i think the issue is sharing with Family and Friends, when they use that main Stream Software. Because it will check and filter new Stuff also.

Yes the new Ways of using Netflix, Spotify is nice… but.

I do not. If i want to stream my stuff, i do it the old way. Streaming my transcoded mp3/ogg/Opus Stream, or Videos using VP9 and Webm. Think if you use only open Source, and a direct VPN Connection to a Computer with firewall and kind of 2FA, you have nearly no tracking (if you have Linux or Custom Google Free Android ROMS).

However its bad if you like to stream to Apple Devices, Microsoft Windows Computers or Android ones too. Even if its E2E encrypted cause it got indexed on the receiver devices.

However i think its even more worse, like Apple Tracking Airtags if the Phone is Off, its about Information is more worth than the file, so in future the new devices spy on each other and about us as humans and what we hear, even if its the Radio or the neighbor…

DRM is only a security for Money Investors and like https for us, to be sure to have good quality of a source and less corruption in the data/algorithms/computers you want to believe to.

What we see here at our devices. That a less minor Group is not worth to spend something for free, cause we try to get it without tracking and for privacy.
And all other can share the Account for Month… and got in some way payed later in a second step… like Netflix in Europe say: “Sharing was not fine in the first place, but now we know that you shared with friends in different households” (and you have to pay extra from now on).

The technology is far more precise, but the monetization keep a step behind cause it was a known free boost, if someone share the account, and you have free telemetry and behavior Data of potential new customers. Like young kids in parenthood, use the it-Stuff.

I do not use streaming stuff. Have an old HDTV Card for Linux recording Freetv, or using tracking free media pages from the german tv, not in the browser directly collected by a Script. Most new Films i watch on the Cinema or Buy/Library a dvd and watch it traditionally. Some Blurays i watch on my for 6 Month offline Playstation. And yes i have more then one to be sure it was not offline for about some Month.




What kind of video?

There’s always Free-To-Air (FTA) TV. It’s commercial but there is no DRM as far as I know, and no use of Widevine, again as far as I know.

In Firefox, from time to time it asks me to enable DRM (which I assume means “Widevine”) and I always say “no”. So if it works having said “no”, I will view the content, and if it doesn’t work when I said “no” then I will pass on viewing the content.

It’s blackbox so there is no way to know but self-evidently you are running blackbox code that is accessing the internet, so it’s a fairly toxic combination.

1 Like

For me, this would consist of films - some “popular” releases, but mostly foreign cinema - documentaries, and maybe a few TV series, especially foreign ones, or productions from the likes of HBO, Starz, even Netflix, or :face_vomiting: Amazon.

I subscribe to DVDs-by-mail from Netflix (its catalog is dwindling), as well as MHz Choice (streaming). I did stream Amazon Prime Video until recently, but I canceled due to the difficulty of browsing for quality content and because it became apparent to me that Amazon isn’t interested in finding what you want to see; it just throws a bunch of crap selections at you, rearranges and repeats them endlessly in its various carousels, and tries to upsell you toward its paid content. I refuse to be manipulated like that.

I like to think that I don’t watch a lot of trash programming, useless internet videos, and certainly no broadcast TV, not even “news.” :rofl:

So, privacy-protected options are somewhat limited. I wouldn’t want to have to purchase everything outright, although I do buy some titles occasionally.

Same here. And yes, it is Google’s Widevine.

P.S. I haven’t been to an actual movie theater in years! :rofl:

Well um I think your choices are increasingly at odds with your desire for privacy. :wink:

Pay cash to buy a DVD and “no one” knows you bought it, nor when and whether you watch it, how many times you watch it, nothing is sent online. Unfortunately even this is becoming difficult. My local DVD store closed down some years ago. So now it’s either order online or a car journey to a more distant store. (If you don’t like collecting a stack of optical disks, it should be possible to rip the DVD onto hard disk and then archive the DVD.)

At the risk of digressing, I wonder whether BluRay is actually private. What online communication occurs when you watch a BluRay? (In principle it should be possible to control this but I think that no such controls actually exist within my BluRay player i.e. the player lets the BluRay disk do whatever it wants - or maybe I have just never seen a BluRay disk that tries to access online content and if the disk did do that then the player would ask me for permission.)


DVDs, yep; easy. (I stopped buying blu ray discs years ago due to the “control-freakishness.”)

Don’t think they haven’t considered such a “benefit!”

A quote from (follow the link to the original text on

More about internet connections: the MPAA originally wanted that to be a requirement just to play these movies. They have since changed their mind.

1 Like

FWIW my Blu-ray’s play just fine on my offline player… a player with no communications link connected will have a hard time communicating anything to anything :wink:

I’ve also had no problems ripping the Blu-ray’s that I have, though I’m sure ymmv on that front.

1 Like

For streaming music, have you looked at ShortWave radio?

It allows you to stream from a ton of different radio stations, and you can save any recognized songs.

I use that on the L5, and like it a lot. Unfortunately, it can’t help with my TV+OTT streaming concerns. (Unless I set up a different way to OTT, such as a device with Kodi loaded plus a browser. But then if I use that for video streams, too, I would have to consent to the use of Widevine, apparently.)

The problem is not that there are no alternatives. The problem is, that there is no platform that connects all the spread uploaded videos. For example you have many public video platforms beside YouTube like many instances of PeerTube, but without a platform that connects all videos together (like a search engine, video-watching-UI and commentary section combined), they will never be a strong alternative to Googles platform.

The decentralization of PeerTube for example is also it’s weakness as long as you have no central website to visit all of those videos as easy as it is on YouTube.

For me personally, that’s not a problem at all, as I don’t give a #^(% about any Google product, including/especially YouTube. :wink:

I only care to stream films and TV from platforms specializing in cinema. (And internet radio stations, but that’s not difficult, anyway.)

It doesn’t neccessarily be a web platform that aggregates the contents. It could simply be a client program which let’s you add sources of your choice or curated sets of sources.

In Germany we have public law broadcast which is relative uncommercial and relative independend from the gouverment, once inspired by BBC. Live streams and a mediathek can be accessed via the websites of the channels. I think there is relativeley small extend of tracking going on. There are also third parties which offer more direct access like and Zapp for android. I think both are open source.

There is really much content. Part of it are movies produced for TV or cinema and series like e.g. Sherlock. Some cinema movies can be downloaded (at least for a limited period). There is also plenty of journalistic material, documentary, reports, educational, entertainment and scientific contents. There is also the claim in debate that every production payed by citicen’s fees should be free to use and public good. Most contents are in German of course but some foreign productions can be accessed with original audio. Also there might be geoblocking in action around germany or EU.

There is even another claim in debate to move social media activity to mustodon. The channels announced that they are going to think about how an independent social network could look like.

I had a playlist for VLC with the live streams of all of the channels. Unfortunately VLC UX is not good for that use case. I want a player with VLC’s plenty features plus a better playlist UX and management and access of mediatheks/archives.

The problem is that great content often only gets uploaded on YouTube, because it will never be found on any other platform. YouTube is the only Google service I use (without account) for that reason - with script and ad blocker of course. Also part of your target (films and TV) will be legally uploaded on YouTube, but nobody else.

However, everything else is like people said above … like

I have more control about my data on Firefox than on dedicated applications. But even a perfekt open source solution should not just give the possibility to “add sources of your choice”, it should give low level access to find new sources … like if you want to find a channel on YouTube.

I didn’t know about this third parties. doesn’t seem to track, but they just give links to the videos. Problem here: websites of Germany’s public law broadcasts are even much worse compared to YouTube. Tracking, bad websites in general. Those are the only websites I prefer YouTube as alternative (else I prefer everything that is not YouTube).

Also another problem: It is public payed content, but there is still not much creative commons licenses (no public rights). That makes it impossible to upload great content to better websites. And some Content of public law broadcasts is YouTube only content.