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

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:

(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).


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.

I assume your definition of “ethical” means DRM-free, in which case, here is a relevant resource you may be interested in.

I mainly use Shortwave and listen to Internet radio without ads, but sometimes I also use SafeTwitch as background noise. I avoid ad rolls/commercial breaks there by watching VODs instead.

I was actually referring to that and commercial surveillance through innumerable and continuous tracking scripts that those video streaming services employ. In this topic I had posited that DRM might be used for tracking as well, especially as it’s Google’s Widevine that is implemented so often, but I don’t know that to be the case for certain. (If Google built it, they must have had a reason, though, right?)

DRM is bad for all the other reasons we know, of course. Thanks for the link; I was already aware of it, but it’s good to repost it.


I find video streaming services in general incredibly unproductive, so most of my time is spent reading documentation and articles instead. I would not be surprised whatsoever if tracking is used by platforms towards those consuming video streaming content, in order for it to deliver further content suggestions.

To me, an “ethical” video or music streaming service respects my attention.

I like my foreign programs (via MHZ Choice), though. Pi-hole reveals all kinds of analytics and other tracking scripts, but fortunately blocks them all. I don’t subscribe to any other service at the moment.

I’ve switched from Roku (which is full of its own trackers, as well) to computer+browser+privacy-extensions+Pi-hole for a better experience. [EDIT: +VPN, of course!]

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