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Why Encrypted Video Streaming is Crucial

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Encrypted Video Streaming

Video content surrounds us nowadays and it has become a very effective marketing strategy but it has been primarily used for entertainment and training purposes. The information or entailed in videos could be for public consumption, which begs the question, do I need encrypted video streaming?  

Developers of video streaming services must have encryption for the videos uploaded on their content library. Since some video hosting and streaming services are free, why would you need to encrypt them? To answer that question, here are some solid reasons why encrypted video streaming is crucial:

1.  What is Video Encryption?

Video encryption is a crucial step that needs to be taken up by video hosting and streaming platforms as it serves multi-fold benefits. Some of those benefits include securing the videos from interception or rather just limiting the content to a certain region.

Video Encryption

Using an encrypted video codec makes it harder for individuals to intercept the video and view it if they are not the intended audience. How is this possible?

Securing videos interception

Undoubtedly, as a content developer, you would not like to see the video content you’re providing be posted on other platforms for viewing. Therefore, encrypting the videos you upload makes it relatively hard to easily download the video to their local storage.  

That could make your content less original and not exclusive anymore, which could impact viewing rates. This is why encrypting the video just makes sense for video streaming services. When content is shared, it will send a link directly leading to your platform, which is an encrypted video sharing system. 

Limiting the video content to a specific demographic

For one reason or another, you might like to limit the video content you’ve got to a particular demographic, especially in terms of location. Perhaps, some content is prohibited in a certain country, and to avoid infringing those laws, encrypting the video might be the best option.  

It is true. You can’t completely prevent users from certain countries since there are VPNs but you’ll have done your part and the rest is out of your control.

Example of different encrypted video content providers

The vast majority of video content providers use encrypted video hosting for one reason or another. For example, Netflix has encrypted its video with the sole intention of not allowing intruders to view it without paying.  

At the same, each region has different kinds of content. So encryption has also been implemented to try and segregate the content according to regions. YouTube has some data encryption to try and prevent easily decoding the videos and saving them on your local drive. 

2.  Why do you need to encrypt videos?

Shifting back the focus to your business in specific, why do you need to encrypt videos posted on the platform you’ve developed? There are multiple valid reasons why it is very important to encrypt videos. Some of them are very similar to those of preexisting video streaming services. 

For example, they might be the same as Netflix or YouTube. Here are three reasons why you might need to encrypt videos specifically on the platform you’ve developed:

Monetizing your content

While you stream videos, your offerings might not be open-source, which means people have to pay for them. To monetize this service, you can encrypt the videos you’ve uploaded on the platform. For example, the monetization strategy could be a monthly premium paid to gain full access to the platform.  

Alternatively, even if the goal is making money through ads, you need more traffic and to achieve that objective, the content needs to be exclusive. If the video can be uploaded on any platform, this could create a bottleneck in the profit margins made from advertising. 

Enforcing copyright laws

Since a streaming service might not be the producer of the content posted on their platform, these platforms might be vulnerable to digital attacks and can harm the integrity of your content. As a result, one must look for highly secure video hosting and streaming platforms that enforce copyright laws made to safeguard your content and prevent it from unauthorized usage.

Those copyright laws may entail not sharing content without crediting its rightful owner and prohibit sharing and distributing the video. To enforce these copyright laws, video streaming services should do all they can to prevent users from saving the video on their local storage. 

Maintaining legal rights obtained

Video streaming services are under certain strict legal rights and bylaws about their content. To maintain legal rights, video hosting services need to implement an encrypted video player into the system. For example, if the content is only allowed in certain countries, they have to restrict individuals from a different region.  

Alternatively, the producers of some of your video content might stipulate that its rights apply in the U.S only. In that case, to respect the wishes of stakeholders you are in business with, you must not share the content with other countries. Instead, find alternative content and if an alternative is also limited to a few countries, use the relevant encryption.

3.  Video Encryption Technology and how does it work

There are different types of encryption technologies that you can use to encrypt video file content you’ve got the rights to publish. They work differently since some might be better equipped to deal with streaming services. 

Encrypted technology

These include RTMFP as well as AES. These are the most commonly used video encryption technologies available for video streaming. They are very effective and here is how each one works: 

Encrypting videos using the RTMFP and RTMFP(E) standard

RTMFP is short for Real-Time Media Flow Protocol and it is a DRM video encryption technology brought to life by Adobe systems. As the name suggests, this is one of the most suitable encryption protocols for content streaming.  

It offers encryption for the videos as they play, which can be considered “in the minute” security to safeguard the content. This encrypts the video player mostly instead of the entire platform so it might not be suitable for access control to the entire app or website.

Using Google Widevine

Google Widevine is also a very effective DRM video encryption technology that prevents users from illegally distributing the video content and protects your video from unauthorized people. It secures the content and helps protect the copyright laws from being infringed. The Google Widevine encryption model also protects the playback of videos and is not suitable to be used for access control. 

Implementing this encryption system can make the playback of videos similar to YouTube. Users would not be able to download the content easily since it will strictly be playback only. Therefore, users will not save a copy of the video to their local storage units.

Encrypting video streaming using the Advanced Encryption Standard

One of the most universal and common security options available to websites and apps is AES encryption. This kind of security was established by the U.S National Institute of Standards with the intention of protecting sensitive information. It has been widely used since, including on different digital platforms.  

By encrypting the whole app, you can prevent unwanted access and therefore monetize your media the way you see fit. For example, you can ask users to pay a monthly subscription. Alternatively, you can encrypt a certain part of the app and make it a special zone accessible with a subscription plan only.  

4.  AES Video Encryption (Deep Dive)

Apart from securing the entire app, AES does have video encryption specifically. If you are wondering how to encrypt video files using AES, the answer is – using the “man in the middle strategy.” 

Aes - Advanced Encryption Standard

That means it can act as a buffer between browsers and servers. If you are in a restricted mode, an AES 128 encrypted video will not play. At the same time, this technology uses an advanced security measure of tokenized security.

Who uses AES Video Encryption?

One of the major users of AES Video Encryption includes those in the video streaming industry and a couple of sectors. For example, AES video encryption method has become very useful in e-learning as access to classes needs to be restricted.  

Therefore, online schools have been using this security protocol to protect online classes and other uploaded videos.

How easy is it to implement the AES Video encryption protocol?

AES video encryption is not hard to implement. If you are using a dashboard to control the video content, it is as easy as clicking a button on the screen. This kind of video encryption is very effective but very simple to implement depending on the system you are running. It does not require intensive experience in computer programming or coding as it can be used as it is because it’s ingrained into most systems.

Final Thoughts

To abide by copyright laws and protecting yourself from legal issues, you need to ensure your streaming service is encrypted. Encrypting videos will also allow you greater control over who gets to view your content. Encrypted video streaming is not hard to set up but it can mean great benefits such as increased safety for viewers and content creators alike.


Originally published on March 18th, 2021, updated on March 20th, 2021
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Why Encrypted Video Streaming is Crucial

by Simi time to read: 6 min