The article “Video network security” by Brad Gilmer in the June issue of Broadcast Engineering prompted this question from a reader.

Dear Brad Gilmer:

Do broadcast customers have specific issues for security when they develop video network or file-based workflow? According to your article, I understand that the existing corporate security policy does not always meet with real-time video network infrastructure, so I'd like to know the specific issues in detail.

What is the current trend of security when the broadcast customers move to a file-based workflow in the United States?

Brad Gilmer responds:

You ask, “Do broadcast customers have specific issues for security when they develop video network or file-based workflow?”

Yes, they do. The issues depend upon whether the networks are within a facility on a LAN or between facilities on a WAN.

In the case of LANs, the security issues are:

  • Is the video content protected from unauthorized viewing, duplication or editing?
  • Is the network designed so that the very heavy bandwidth requirements of the video traffic do not affect business workflows?
  • Is the network designed so that one user of the video network does not stop another user of the video network because the first user is consuming all of the bandwidth?

In the case of WANs, the No. 1 concern is to carefully provide the Internet connectivity required by the business and to absolutely guarantee that someone out on the Internet is unable to access content.

Sometimes this concern is so great that physical connections from video networks to WANs are absolutely prohibited.

As I note in the article, there can also be a conflict between a corporate IT security policy which, perhaps, forbids the use of UDP, when the video network relies upon UDP for video transport. Some people think UDP is a security risk, but some video transport protocols require the use of UDP. This is a problem that must be resolved between the video department and the IT department.

The current trend of security for broadcast customers who move to file-based workflows in the United States is to use traditional IT-based security solutions wrapped around broadcast functions. For example, a broadcaster may use a commercially available security product to establish a VPN between two facilities rather than buy a broadcast-specific VPN from a traditional broadcast manufacturer. The same may go for a file authentication scheme. They are more likely to implement CRC64 or SHA-256 to verify that a file has not been tampered with rather than purchasing a broadcast-specific tool for this purpose.

Free versus paid

Broadcast Engineering's editorial director Brad Dick's Sept. 3 blog post “Free cannot replace pay” pondered whether Internet delivery would replace broadcast, satellite or cable delivery. The post received this response from a reader.

Dear editor:

Americans may love their big screens, but they also love convenience. Hence the time when cassette sales could beat out vinyl sales, and file sharing replaced CDs.

There have been trends that show quality comes behind convenience. Online video also allows for more channels, easier distribution, and smaller but more dedicated and loyal audiences, which content developers and advertisers should be drawn to because they know more about their target audience. Along with this convenience factor, it does not mean audiences will leave the big screen for computer screens, but rather merging the current computers and network capabilities involved in a home theater system with those of a standard computer allowing a multipurpose system rather than several independent systems.

I think there will be a growing trend in which the subscribers will want a means to create their own playlist or channel of programs, so that they can have instant access to the content that fits their moods and interests. It will be similar to the trend in which the music industry was turned upside down during the Napster era. It will happen in a way where the television industry will have to adapt its structure away from dependence on affiliate fees.
Edmund Curley