With CloudFront you can not only stream your own videos, you can make streaming videos private on top of that! In other words, you can have paid videos on your site or membership area without the fear of copying the video. You can do the same thing with expiring URLs but private streaming has other advantages explained below. For those of you who do not know CloudFront yet: CloudFront is an Amazon service which works in conjunction with your S3 Amazon account (S3 AWS).
Streaming video, as opposed to progressive download, does not need to be downloaded before it plays. It almost plays immediately(5-8sec.) and you can jump further up in the time line, which is difficult with progressive downloads. Think about YouTube not so long ago, before they used streaming. When you tried to jump to half of a movie, you had to wait for quite a long time, that is because progressive download and it cannot display something that isn’t downloaded yet. With streaming, this is lots faster, although it will not play instantly but let’s say within 5 to 8 seconds depending on the size of the video and your connection.
Stronger protection for videos and customizable too
So far, CloudFront streaming videos had to be public in order to play. The good news is: that problem is history now. As from today, you can make your streaming videos private. You can even restrict media to be played only from one IP address and ignore all others.
In plain English:
- You can have streaming videos that are only meant for your employees at your office, thus they only play at your office, literally! Not at your home, not anywhere else.
- You can also set up more locations the videos can play from (up to 5).
- Or, you do the same thing as with expiring URLs with S3, you distribute them in a membership area while they cannot be downloaded to share and since the URL expires as well.
In short, you can control who exactly can watch your media and who is excluded. Stealing the video becomes harder to accomplish and makes this technique even more interesting for paid videos.
How to do this in practice?
Luckily, there are applications to do the heavy work for you. After all, you must have some way to get the video, embedded on your site, make it private, etc… There are quite a few extra steps to take in order to get this to work. But thanks to clients like CloudBerry S3 Explorer, this becomes much easier. CloudBerryLab is very fast at implementing new features of S3 and in this case they are probably one of the first to have full functionality to make private streaming media possible. Here is a tutorial how to implement private streaming.
I am a reseller of CloudBerry Explorer because it is excellent software and easy to use. You can buy it here if you like, or first test it at www.cloudberrylabs.com. See also the related articles on this subject (here below).
S3Media Stream™ and JW Player Pro
JW Player Pro from Jeroen Wijering has removed all private streaming bugs in their latest version 5.2 in the meantime, so if you work with Joomla!, you can check out our brand new extension S3Media Stream™, which has all the features of S3Media Pro + streaming, private streaming and a couple of other enhancements: http://www.joomla21century.com/product-details/s3media-stream
The WordPress version is ready in the meanwhile as well.