Streaming media without the trackers


Often streaming sites are filled with adverts and trackers, and the videos can be problematic or just inconvenient to play in a web browser.
It is possible to stream many media sources with a separate desktop player in most Operating Systems and avoid the trackers and advertising.

First up is the easiest options.
Media Player Classic – Black Edition comes with Youtube support built in, and can use youtube-dl.exe for more sites.
https://sourceforge.net/projects/mpcbe/
WACUP comes with support for Youtube, Vimeo, Soundcloud and Mixcloud
https://getwacup.com
Video LAN Client – VLC supports Youtube and lots more with addons.
https://www.videolan.org/vlc/

Not as easy but very worth the effort, you can add Youtube decoding to Windows as Direct Show filters, so most players that can use URLs and system CoDecs can play them. inc. Windows Media Player and VLC.
It requires manual installation so I recommend copying the files to a memorable location such as;
C:\Program Files\Common Files\youtube_source
Then run the batch file in the folder to register the decoder in Windows.
3DYD Youtube Source
https://www.3dyd.com
Used with youtube-dl.exe it supports many other sites.

Exponentially expand the amount of sites supported by 3DYD Youtube Source & MPC-BE with youtube-dl.exe
https://ytdl-org.github.io/youtube-dl/ – [Huge list of supported sites]

Browser integration

You can also use an open source Send-to-player extension to send the media in your browser to your desktop player.
https://add0n.com/send-to.html
Supports:
Media Player Classic – Home Cinemahttps://mpc-hc.org
VLChttps://www.videolan.org/vlc/
MPlayerhttps://mplayerhq.hu/
MPVhttps://mpv.io
NOTE: It requires a helper tool (nodeJS) for the browser to control your media player. This will be downloaded from github if not installed.
You can update the file node.exe from the latest official builds.

Android

For Android, NewPipe is an open source Youtube player with many useful features inc. the ability to save video or audio files and work as an audio only player.
It can also use alternative decoding engines such as VLC.
https://newpipe.schabi.org

EXTRAS

Using Cytu.be you can watch synchronised media from many sites but with other people in your own private or public virtual cinema. Includes chat and customisation, and can be self-hosted.
https://cytu.be (open source)

3DYD Youtube Source can also use FFMPEG if it is installed.
https://ffmpeg.org/download.html#build-windows
This is generally used for splitting, joining or re-coding media content.

If you have youtube-dl and FFMPEG you may as well have a handy interface to use the download capability. There are a few tools called youtube-dl gui but I chose this one because of its small size and ease of use.
https://github.com/murrty/youtube-dl-gui
For convenience I keep all 3 of these together in the FFMPEG folder I made in my Programs Folder.

The manual install instructions for FFMPEG include adding the location to your System Environment Variables. If you do not know what this is or how to find it you may prefer a convenient tool for editing this info.
Windows Environment Variables Editor
http://eveditor.com/tour/
Even if you do know how to edit the ENV variables you may appreciate the functionality of this tool.

…stay tuned for more tips, such as using game streaming sites coming up.

Ageing techno-hippy armed with a radio show and not afraid to use it.

4 comments Write a comment

    • Dr.Flay™

      Yeah I did think about including it, but I need to pick a few suitable front ends first.
      I use Chatty + MPC for my main twitch experience, which also uses the new branch of livestreamer
      This blog will get updates anyway as things change, but will remain fairly simple as I want it to be as widely usable as possible.
      Handy GUI tips and recommendations will help.

  1. +1 for NewPipe on Android. It’s lightweight and works just like Youtube did last time I used a device that had the Youtube app.

    I also favour invidio.us – I even have the extension “invidition” in my browsers so that typing youtube’s address in the url bar, or clicking on a youtube link redirects you to the video as served by invidio.us. I think it also replaces embedded YT videos with the invidio version too. I seem to remember (but could be wrong), that invidio also still works if the visitor is using LibreJS, which is a nice little added bonus.

    As for actual media players, I’ve been a VLC user since about 2002 or 2003, but I also like Clementine (I’ve never tried to stream anything other than internet-radio to Clementine though). Both are free (as in speech) software projects (i.e. a specific case of “open source”).

    • Dr.Flay™

      I haven’t used invidio for a few years, I’ll have to check it out again.
      Clementine looks good especially for Mac users but the project stalled a few years ago.
      Thankfully WACUP picked up where Winamp stopped so I have all my radio and podcasts in that.

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