Whenever content is delivered online; be it a video, a picture, a blog or something else entirely, you’ll always need to consider how that material is secured. Security allows you to manage who can access your content, providing a potential means of keeping sensitive information out of the public domain, monetising your content, or ensuring that it isn’t distributed elsewhere.
However, whenever something is made more secure, it also becomes less accessible. Imagine you have a simple login system, which controls who accesses your page. The benefit is you can now sell subscriptions, *but* you’re undoubtedly going to encounter a situation where a member of your audience cannot login.
This trade-off also carries over into the world of video delivery, where video piracy and playback performance are hot issues. The trick is to make things as secure as possible, without hindering your audience….but how?
Well, at vzaar we give you as much control and choice as possible – it’s up to you which you prefer; greater security, or more accessible content. The decision often depends on how you are using video within your business.
Video Delivery Options
RTMPe video streaming
Our secure video delivery method is called RTMPe. It is an encrypted variant of Adobe’s RTMP (Real Time Messaging Protocol) protocol. RTMPe works by breaking your video up into many smaller fragments, each of which is only sent to the viewer as playback requires it. This is commonly referred to as video streaming.
The advantage of streaming is that your viewers never have that whole video file. This makes it much harder for the video to be copied, because the whole file’s never present on the viewer’s computer.
Here’s a quick video from Terry, which illustrates
Now, remember that trade-off I mentioned earlier? By making the video more secure, we have made it less accessible. As the file is secured by fragmenting it and delivering it at the point of use, the viewer’s connection needs to maintain a constant reliable speed. Most of the time that won’t be much of an issue but (just like some people forget passwords) some viewer’s connections will be more problematic than others.
HTTP Progressive Download
The more accessible alternative, which vzaar offers, is delivering video content via HTTP. HTTP is the standard delivery method for the majority of content on the web. Whenever you view a picture, open an article, or view your Facebook feed, it’s delivered via HTTP.
What HTTP does really well is downloading as much information, as quickly as possible. That can be really great for online video because the video downloads ahead of playback, so the content’s ready before you are. If your connection slows down, or drops entirely, the next few minutes of your video are already ready and waiting.
Also, because HTTP is the standard protocol for web content, it operates over a port which is almost always open (port 80). If you’re working on a secure network, you may find your company has blocked off some ports for security purpose (yet another instance of our trade-off). However, because port 80 is so universally required, it is very rarely closed.
So Which Video Delivery Method Should You Choose?
Horses for courses: the right tools for the right job
Let’s imagine for a second that you’re a marketer, whose prime objective is getting your content out to as many people as possible. In this situation your principal concern will be ensuring that everyone hears your message. There’s nothing worse than a willing viewer with technical difficulties.
Accessibility is key here and HTTP delivery is the perfect tool for the job.
By contrast, let’s say you’re running a course of lectures and charging students a fee to sign up. The last thing you want is someone downloading the video and sending it to all their friends. After all, those people are your potential customers.
In this scenario, use RTMPe streaming. It ensures that your content cannot be downloaded and is only accessible from one source. You.
These two scenarios highlight something important. Whilst there is, and will always be, a trade-off between security and accessibility, there’s no correct balance. You’ll always find some methods more secure and others more open.
The solution is dependant upon your own objective. Our goal here is to be flexible and give you two of the best tools. One that’s very secure and another, which is open as things get.
Thanks for reading and a happy new year!