It is really not an easy life for the internet based OTT services providers, be it for the pay TV cable operators or the new internet players. Users have become used to having all of their entertainment sources in all their devices all the time, from their e-books to digital music with no compromise in videos. In the meantime, there has been a rise in the expectations, from the entertainment studios, to get their content protected from any illegal use.
Generally, the technological complication of constructing, sustaining and streamlining of these multiscreen OTT services is not going down. OTT players require a variety of skills that includes video streaming, data protection, application support and other technical infrastructures. However, no single parameter, fully stacked with all these competencies, has come up in front of the OTT operators so they could depend on, to create their services that are accessible, inter-operable and automated.
Digital Rights Management (DRM)
Digital Rights Management is a digital authorizing system allowing the content administrators to monitor the “how” and by “whom” parameters of the content consumption.
DRM is often misunderstood with encryption. As it goes, that encryption is the method of complicating the digital info, while DRM is the comprehensive process of managing the content access. It includes the delegation of the locking and unlocking keys, backend authorizing systems with various features such as policy adherence and downloaded playback control.
The content authorities need personalised marketable DRMs to safeguard their content. In order to get access to any kind of content from the content authors, broadcasters, OTT operators or the network distributors, there is a compliance to using the few chosen DRM systems.
Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure is a method of ensuring safe live streaming solutions and video communication over the internet. Netscape, initially, developed this to secure the online traffic using Secure Socket Layer (SSL). Since then Transport Layer Security (TSL) support has also been added to its aid. HTTP is not actively linked to streaming of videos; however, it has become a custom to use for actual HTTP applications and so for HTTP video streaming. Now we shall see how HTTP works in OTT.
Recently, HTTPs has been more commonly used for streaming. Some of the major video streaming players like Facebook, Netflix etc require HTTPs for streaming videos on their platforms. When the online traffic is sent in clear, means it is streamed over unsecure HTTP and the metadata for the video streaming session is at risk. Randomly, anyone can copy any data about the browsing session like video title, user id details etc. On a higher level, anyone can record and study the info related to Netflix traffic and what all content titles are being majorly streamed and by whom.
Using HTTPS, the transaction and the metadata info with the OTT streaming platforms and the users are safeguarded by establishing a secure channel between the two. Hence, HTTPs ensures full confidentiality of the users and their video streaming history.
AES – Advanced Encryption Standard aids in protecting the video content when it is paused or is at transmission phase. It is implemented as a symmetric block cipher that can be skillfully applied on software, hardware or any other process to protect or encrypt the overall amount of the sensitive content. AES is the newest version of DES (Data Encryption Standard) which was developed in early 1970s by IBM.
The content protection in AES is very much similar to as explained in HTTPs. AES encrypts the content in a way that it will need the user to use special keys while requiring access over HTTPs.
In a nutshell, AES encrypts the video streaming in such a way that it gets nearly impossible for the frauds to steal the confidential data from your account, even if they could access the video sessions, they still cannot watch the videos.
Authorization and Verification of Users
Essentially, there are three levels of accessing to videos, which are:
- Obtainable videos
- Membership videos
- Protected videos
In general, any user who has access to a streaming network can view both obtainable and membership videos, depending on the type of access granted to them.
There are exceptions to access, like sometimes the user can access the protected video libraries but is unable to watch the videos, it is because when they have not been authorized to access the protected video content. To have that access, users need to hold a special key that is sent to them over emails, after placing a special request (regarding the upgradation of their memberships) or via mails in some cases.
In order to have the special access, the user needs to get himself verified and validated with their ID proofs and payment card details, so as to ensure complete user authenticity. These details are stored on servers against each user IDs and a full activity log is maintained with a clear status of their access level. Every time any member logs into their account, a complete security check is done to cross-verify all minute details.
HTML5 Video Players
Few countable videos have limited viewing rights across the network. With IP based locational restrictions you can protect your video content from being watched by any random user across geographies, except the ones who are allowed. This encrypts your content from global video piracy. Having geographical restriction on your video sessions ensures protection from being downloaded and watched from far off locations. Even if it happens, you have the option to blacklist the whole location to break the access. However, it is not recommended as it is not safe, but still provides a twin layer of protection.
The process by which every time a video is uploaded through live streaming services gets stored in a data centre, which is administered by the Content Delivery Network (CDN). It is a decentralized network of cloud servers that uses complex software-based procedures to stream videos globally. A CDN minimizes the possibilities of encountering shaky videos, buffering issues and content delay. CDN protects your video streaming from any kind of online attacks known as DDoS attacking technique.
Author Bio: Colleen Sylvia is a technology enthusiast and an avid travel writer. Her work has been praised by various CXOs, CIOs of several technology giants and has also been a guest contributor to leading websites. She does her best writing on technology trends, OTT platform providers like Phando, entertainment, healthcare and travel beats. Colleen Sylvia loves to cook when she is not writing.
Colleen is a guest blogger, all opinions are his own.