If you use a service via ip there will be data collected about you. An option I came across that is somehow a compromise is using tor to connect to something like the offers of public tv in Germany. I guess I have been protected somehow against the sites collecting information about what I watch and when I watch it.
Tor hasn’t been a performance problem as it is possible from these sites to download first and watch later. Tor has been a great help while travelling, because it allowed me to set the exit to a german server which circumvented the protection the servers have build in against everybody worldwide watching content on a license (the one the server side needs to offer the content) that does only allow broadcast to Germany.
This didn’t work with e.g. bbc, because they obviously know about tor (they offer a tor site for their content public to the rest of the world) and they block exit sites located in England.
From my point of view all of this is just a compromise.
What I’d like to promote is the following: use an antenna - a dish or a classic one. Whatever works in your region. It is a one-way communication and nobody on the broadcast side can (as far as I know) tell whether you receive the signal, use the signal and what channel from the signal your watching.
Downside is that you need to rely on their schedule and you can’t just watch on-demand. Can you?
Theoretically you can: most of the signals I know are digital already and even if not there’s hardware to digitalize whatever is still analogue. You can save that stuff to your very large disc. You can then stream it for yourself.
Sound all very vague and like you couldn’t do it with whatever tools you have? Not so.
Since years we have a satellite dish receiving digital signals for tv and radio. It’s unbelievable what amount of data is send down to earth.
The satellite dish is connected to a 8 channel converter that converts (silently and without any problems) the signals of our dish to iptv. The iptv signal can be received directly from that device (based on open source).
Still that would leave you with the problem of the time schedule. But there’s an Synology NAS with a few terabyte of storage running in the network. Beside all the other stuff its offering it runs a software called TVHeadend which offers functionality like:
- organizing channel lists (important when you receive about 2000 channels at the same time)
- offering a backend service for frontends running on linux, evil mobile systems, open source tv platform kodi
- offering to receive epg - program informations you can search
- offering an option to record by defining searches for epg (electronic program guide) or just like in the old times by channel and time programmed
Than there’s LibreElec - as much linux as you need to run kodi. A perfect multimedia platform that make up our TV. At the time of writing we use Rock64 and RockPro64 as active platforms. A RaspberryPi works perfect, too and seems to be somehow the reference platform. But there’s also integration ongoing for imx6 and imx8 platforms. SBC+LibreElec+Display/Projector=OpenSource TV and maybe OpenHardware, too, soonish.
By having the option to record whatever you like and in amounts (because of lots of storage in your NAS) you can stream content you’re interested in for yourself later. You can copy it to your mobile device and carry it arround. You can watch OFFLINE - imagine that.
You’re not being tracked, you have control over the setup, you own those devices.
In the next iteration I guess I’ll drop off the Synology NAS for something I build myself based on some non-Intel technology including only as much closed source firmware as needed at that times. I’m already running a Rock64Pro based Device in the Pine NAS case which I like a lot.
Like with all the freedom technology you need to take the disadvantages of owning the service you use: maintenance, investing into the initial hardware and the social disadvantages:
There seem to be a lot of people who psychological really need to be able to talk about the latest stuff. The latest serial on Netflix, the latest block buster on Amazon TV, the latest whatever. I can’t.
I don’t know whether I really miss out, but when conversations move into that direction and I get quiet sometimes someone asks and I can answer. I can tell them a tale about surveillance, about us being the product, about the services spying on us and I can tell them that I might watch what they’re talking about in a few month when in comes down on free TV (I don’t pay any subscription for encrypted content as long as there’s enough free stuff) from satellite, because I set my TV to record it automatically.
Sometimes others envy me, because I have the freedom to drop commercials on my content - actually there’s a simple plugin to set cut marks in videos where commercials are detected and they are left out by kodi/tvheadend automatically and can be skipped in VLC. If this wouldn’t be there, maybe I would have add it myself sometimes, because I could, because I have the source code and it uses licenses that explicitly allow me to do that.
If you need more details and background information about such a solution I could answer questions.