[vlc-devel] Video encryption/decryption using VLC

Edward Wong furrbie at hotmail.com
Wed Nov 1 08:48:57 CET 2006


First off, let me just say that I am new to VLC and to streaming media 
technologies in general so I apologize if some of what I say below seems 

I am trying to create a system whereby I have a server that broadcasts 
encrypted videos to a number of clients. The clients will have their own 
personal keys for decryption.

This is how I envision the system to look like.


The server will take the video file and encrypt it using some publicly 
available cipher and with a pre-generated cryptographic key. It would then 
stream it just like any other video file.

The problem I see here is that if I simply do the encryption on the entire 
video file, it would result in an invalid format. Would it still be possible 
to stream it?

Is it feasible to just encrypt the contents of the video file such that the 
overall structure is still preserved and the file will still be valid?

If there is such a way, can it be applied generically to any type of 
container format? (e.g. AVI, MOV etc).


The client would receive the encrypted stream. Before playing it, the client 
will decrypt it using a key previously provided (perhaps as a file stored in 
the hard drive). Once the stream has been decrypted, playback will proceed 
as usual.

I am trying to implement this system by modifying the VLC player to perform 
encryption/decryption at the necessary points.

To do that, I would first need to have a thorough understanding of the flow 
of control of the program in order to know where to insert the 
encryption/decrypt modules. Any pointers in that direction would be greatly 


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