There are many third party video player alternatives that you can download from the Internet instead of using the built-in Windows Media Player. Some of the popular ones such as the free VLC media player and KM Player are widely being used due to the built-in codecs that allows you to play most if not all video files without installing a codec pack. A few days ago I got to know a media player called GreenForce-Player that is not quite like any other another media players. What makes GreenForce-Player unique is the ability to protect the video file by so that only authorized people with the correct password can view the it. Other than that, it comes with its own cache system designed to reduce the hard drive access to extend battery life on laptops for small video files.
First of all, GreenForce-Player support standard features found in media players such as playlist creation, support for subtitles, DVD playback, video snapshots, and coverflow display. The file size is pretty small with less than 3MB because it doesn’t come with built-in codecs and will depend on the installed DirectShow codecs on the computer to play the video file. GreenForce-Player program interface is very simple with a few control buttons at the bottom. To play a video file with GreenForce-Player, you can either drag and drop the video file to the program or File > Load.
Now let’s take a look at the Digital Rights Management (DRM) feature found in GreenForce-Player. To protect a video file, go to DRM from the menu bar and select Protect video. First you will need to specify the location of the video file that you want to protect and then the location you want to save the encrypted video file. Then enter a password followed by a tip (hint) and clicking the Save button will create an encrypted video file with a .gfp extension. The .gfp file cannot be ran independently because it must be opened with GreenForce-Player. Fortunately you can create a standalone EXE player together with the encrypted video file by checking the “Add player to the media file” option so you can conveniently run it on any computer without download and installing the GreenForce-Player.
The tags tab allows you to embed searchable information for the video while the Others tab is where you can choose the cover file for the video file. It is also possible to specify the codecs required to play the video file together with the download link.
The Protection tab in protect video window allows you to enable or disable the screenshot protection with an expire date. There’s also a copy protection option where you can restrict the video to be played on a specific computer by specifying the Machine ID. Problem is I have no idea where GreenForce-Player calculates the Machine ID from because it is not stated anywhere on the official website or the readme/help files. I tried entering the MAC address and Volume ID which both didn’t work. I will update this information once I have more information about the Machine ID used in GreenForce-Player copy protection.
I tried capturing a screenshot of a playing video with screenshot protection activated using HyperSnap 7 and all I got was an empty black colored screenshot. Capturing screenshot from a video file normally requires a more advanced method due to the fast frame refresh rate so I used the special capture function. GreenForce-Player detects the special capture function, terminates the player and display a fatal error window with the message “It is not allowed to capture this video!”
So how secure is GreenForce-Player’s gfp container format? They’ve offered a challenge to decrypt the media file that they’ve created but so far without any success. When the gfp container format is cracked, they will release the complete source code of GreenForce-Player to public and send you a full game via Steam. Although the screenshot protection is pretty strong, bypassing this restriction is actually quite easy by simply playing the video file in a virtual machine and then take the screenshot from the host computer. They may want to consider implementing an option to disable playing the video file in virtual machines for stronger protection.
GreenForce-Player is free and runs on Windows XP/Vista/7.