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

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.

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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.)

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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 https://www.fsf.org/news/blu-ray (follow the link to the original text on archive.org):

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

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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.

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For streaming music, have you looked at ShortWave radio?

https://flathub.org/apps/details/de.haeckerfelix.Shortwave

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 mediathekviewweb.de 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 archive.org.

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. mediathekviewweb.de 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.

Use piped(.)kavin(.)rocks

For sure but that doesn’t fully answer the question.

If you have your BluRay player off the network permanently, always, forever then there won’t be any leakage but even then you might find that some BluRay disks will fail to play i.e. ones with online content. It may be that you and I have simply never tried to play the right BluRay disk.

@amarok did say that MPAA changed their mind about requiring a permanent internet connection for BluRay players.

But that leaves open a mass of questions, like:

  • if you do have it connected to the internet, does any communication occur?
  • if you don’t have it connected to the internet but later on connect it, does some batched up communication occur?

My guess is that the world has moved on from physical disks, and the opportunities for surveillance capitalism are sooooo much better with online streaming - so no one is bothered to surveil whether you watch a BluRay or not - but I would need to snoop on my network to investigate that.

My BluRay players can also access and make available local content so I do want them on the local network. I just don’t want them randomly leaking information to the internet, which is easily achieved by blocking at the firewall (unless they are super evil).

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My point was simply that there’s a relatively simple way around the problem and the level of inconvenience is lower that the current threshold based on the previous statements made.

Thus allowing for the higher image quality if desired which can be ripped then streamed ethically via self hosting.

This made me curious, so I plugged my 2013 Panasonic multi-system (i.e. international) DVD/BluRay player into my network (ethernet cable), set it manually in my router interface to route through Pi-hole, and then watched for connections in Pi-hole.

  • Simply powering up the player didn’t trigger any connections.
  • Looking for firmware updates triggered connections to the following:
    icosfw.s3.amazonaws.com
    www.bombaydawgz.in
    bd-m-us.vieraconnect.tv

(I attempted a firmware update several times, but it failed each time. Maybe because my device is too old…? Or India is asleep right now. :smile: )

  • I inserted a DVD and started playing it, then ejected it; no further connections were made to anywhere.

  • I did the same with a Blu Ray disc (I still own a couple of those), and also accessed the “Extras” content; same result - no connections made.

  • Pi-hole didn’t find anything to block throughout all of this.

This is just one brand, and one model number, of course. AND two specific discs; it’s not a given that all discs contain no spying functionality.

P.S. I think I might have updated the firmware at least once before, probably right after purchase (I bought it several years later than 2013, if I recall).

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Or the dawgz are out cruisin’ :wink:

(Yes, I think your unit is way too old to be getting firmware updates, which is a problem in its own right but perhaps a problem for another topic.)

Does your unit also support Gracenote if you insert a music CD, which I imagine (guess?) would also cause internet activity?

To be clear … by using Pi-hole, you are only looking for DNS lookups sent to the Pi - so a sneaky capitalism spy could bypass that in any one of various ways. Right? I mean it’s a fair test but it’s not 100%?

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I had to look up Gracenote to see what it is…

I’ll check a CD sometime soon.

EDIT: OK, I’m checking a recent CD now, and there appear to be no connections going on.

Using FreetuxTV (desktop/laptop, RaspberryPi, and L5): List of Apps that fit and function well [Post them here.]

The apps are only half the problem… I envision an open API that all the media services (audio, print, video, whatever) use. Client of choice connects to the services and downloads and files that content on user-designated storage. The client authenticates a user account if necessary – free or subscription. Basically, a super podcast catcher for all sorts of media.

I sometimes feel like William Wallace being disemboweled… FREEDOM!!

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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.