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Streaming Media & Media Resources at the Addlestone Library: Common CofC scenarios


Within this page are examples of questions and situations in which a faculty member might find themselves visa vie using (or wanting to use) streaming media (films) in their classes and the corresponding answers/solutions.

What about streaming Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime et al.?

Though Netflix does offer a limited number of Netflix documentaries for your classroom, due to copyright and licensing restrictions, the library is unable to provide access to commercial streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime, etc.  Indeed, none of these personal streaming vendors neither offer nor grant rights for institutional, educational, or public performance purposes.  Also, the Netflix End User License Agreement, which you agreed to when you created an account, specifies that the account is "only for your personal, non-commercial use," so showing a Netflix video in class (in person or online) is technically a violation of this agreement and is, alas, illegal.  

Exception: Netflix does grant permission for a few Netflix Original documentaries for classroom use.  See details in the box at the bottom of this page.

I want to show my class a show I usually screen in the classroom on DVD.

Open Access Streaming Sites
There are many sites such as PBS Frontline, PBS Nova, American Experience, and WGBH Open Vault that offer open access streaming of video content.  The guide linked below links to over 30 such sites that offer access to streaming videos. These sites may host content or merely point to content hosted elsewhere. Advertising supports some of these sites. Others are the official site for a producer, distributor, series, or festival. Searching functions on these sites vary widely, and content can change or be removed without notice.

Streaming Video: Open Access Streaming Sites

I want to share a DVD on Zoom, but it turns gray when I share my screen.

This is usually an operating system (OS) player thing that is a technical issue coupled with a copyright issue. The reason Zoom turns gray is that it is programmed to do that in order to not violate copyright laws. In techno-speak: the DVD uses HDCP protection. HDCP is a type of Digital Rights Management encoding intended to prevent piracy by providing an encrypted tunnel between an output device (Blu-ray player) and the receiving end (a computer screen).  

PIRATE HACK: Since Zoom generally only recognizes the players of standard OP (such as Mac and Windows), try playing the DVD using a third party player such as VLC Player instead of the media player provided by your operating system.  Don't be a real pirate.  Note the legal ramifications of playing a video via Zoom. 

Remember that sharing media over Zoom is not the best way to watch something longer than 5 minutes. If your class requires students watch an entire film:

  • Consider flipping the assignment and having students watch for homework and use class time for a discussion.
    • Plan ahead. Contact Jared Seay to see he if can access it in one of our library databases. 
    • Check YouTube and Vimeo for free versions of the film, but note: free films often "go the way of the Dodo Bird" because they are often violating copyright. Always have a back-up plan.
    • Put the title it on your syllabus and have students rent it. They can often access from Amazon, YouTube, Vimeo, Netflix, Hulu, etc.

I want to check out a DVD from the library.

Our DVD collection is currently unavailable for in-person reserves due to our inability to maintain an adequate decontamination system for circulating items.  So, faculty are unable to put a DVD on reserve for their students. We are therefore putting all of our efforts into providing streaming access to video titles that faculty need for their courses. 

I want better sound and audio quality when I stream videos from YouTube

This is a pure technical issue and is affected by multiple factors including one’s internet connection rate and that of the streaming server involved.  However, the biggest variable is the quality of the streaming video and audio itself.  Though the video usually defaults to the highest quality (1080p), a user can mitigate these quality variables by manually selecting the desired video quality (360p, 480p, 720p, 1080p).  The lower video quality means smaller file size, which means faster download (which is helpful if your internet connection is not so good),  but of course lower quality picture.  Audio quality, which is a separate un-adjustable stream, remains the same for all video quality settings (126 kbps).  BTW, for a comparison the audio bitrate for Spotify is 320 kbps, for iTunes its 256 kbps,  a music CD is 14ll kbps.

My streaming title is unavailable!

Unavailable Streaming Titles

Video Titles Not Available in a Streaming Database:  Unfortunately, not every video title that a faculty member requires for their course is available in one of our streaming databases.  In such a case, you can request that we try to find it from another source.  Please use this form to request streaming media that are not currently available on one of our streaming databases.  This includes titles that we may already have in DVD format.  There is no guarantee that we will be able to locate a streaming version of the requested title.  However, we will use all of our powers of searching and investigation to locate it.  If it is available out there, we will find it.

Library Resource Order Request Form

Netflix and Educational Screening

Netflix and Educational Screening (taken from their website):

Some Original educational documentaries are available for one-time educational screenings. To find out which titles are available for educational screenings, go to the "Only On Netflix" section of From here, navigate to "All Alphabetical." Titles that are available for educational screenings will display the following grant of permission on their details page:


Netflix is proud to present original documentaries that speak to our users in a meaningful way. We know that many of you are as excited about these films as we are; and because of their informational aspects, you'd like to show them in an educational setting -- e.g., in the classroom, at the next meeting of your community group, with your book club, etc. Consequently, we will permit one-time educational screenings of any of the documentaries noted with this information, on the following terms:

  • The documentary may only be accessed via the Netflix service, by a Netflix account holder. We don't sell DVDs, nor can we provide other ways for you to exhibit the film.
  • The screening must be non-profit and non-commercial. That means you can’t charge admission, or solicit donations, or accept advertising or commercial sponsorships in connection with the screening.
  • Please don’t use Netflix’s logos in any promotion for the screening, or do anything else that indicates that the screening is “official” or endorsed by Netflix.

We trust our users to respect these guidelines, which are intended to help you share and discuss our documentary content in your community.‚Äč