Video Encryption

Protect-Photos-iOS-PasswordVideo encryption is simply the process of hiding your video from prying eyes. There are two major reasons to do this:

Digital Rights Management (DRM)

Personal encryption is when you create a video and want to share it with your clients, friends, family, etc., or just store it for archival purposes – but don’t want any unauthorized person to see it. It’s a simple concept. Most of us understand personal privacy.

Digital Rights Management is the same thing, except you have layers of complexity for:

Different video streams (qualitative and quantitative) for different price brackets
Region-specific video
Media/Device-specific video
Software-specific video
Adaptive streaming

What’s the fundamental difference between the two? In simple words, personal encryption blocks out everyone, except the intended recipient; while DRM blocks out people temporarily or permanently, in a fluid situation, unaided by humans, based on a set of rules. Let’s take a brief look at some of these rules.

Different qualitative and quantitative streams for different price brackets

If you pay more, you get 4K. Pay the lowest, and you might only get SD. This affects the physical data rate of the stream, which affects resolution, hence ‘quality’, therefore I call it qualitative.

On the other hand, if you pay more, you get more channels (or more videos), and this is quantitative. The idea is to ensure people only get what they pay for, and nothing more.

Region-specific video

Premiering in one place exclusively? Then you don’t want any other country to see it first. Want to control the market and distribution (like they tried for DVD and failed)? Or, are you barred by law to show certain videos in certain places? Then, you need region-specific management of your video.


You can’t play Blu-rays on a DVD or CD-ROM reader. The point is, create a media or system that is exclusive by itself (Apple TV, Amazon Kindle, iTunes, etc.), so that devices that don’t conform to it can’t play it.

Software-specific video

Some NLEs refuse to play certain codecs, either because the Operating System doesn’t support it or because they have to pay a license for it. Licensing of codecs is one instance of how manufacturers control its usage.