Many a times we are affluent enough to buy anything from the market but lack the required insight on how to use that equipment. The article is to impart a handful of information about the technology most of us are unaware of till today. Digital entertainment has been an important part of our day to day lives and it has come a long way through and progressed tremendously over these years. DLNA is one of such technologies which has evolved from the world of digital entertainment. Let’s find out all about.

What is DLNA?

DLNA is an acronym stands for Digital Living Network Alliance, a non-profit industry wide standard created by Sony way back in 2003 for sharing of digital media over the home network. DLNA technology is a newer form of Universal Plug and Play system for managing media. To put it simple, the technology allows us to enable various devices be it televisions, smartphones, tablets, PCs and Laptops, etc. to find and share photos, music, videos with each other no matter which brand device you have. DLNA is actually a large group of consumer electronics organization all that has created a universal standard for enabling devices to share digital content to and fro. DLNA products are mainly consists of two types: DLNA servers and DLNA clients. DLNA servers are your PCs, Laptops and network storage devices (NAS) while the DLNA client consists of the device which would receive or play the content such as smart televisions, home theaters, stereo systems and game consoles etc.

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How does DLNA work?

Does it mean anything related to internet? No, that has nothing to do with internet. For instance, if we want to share some video clipping from our smartphone to DLNA enabled television, how one should do that? That’s very simple though. If you have router in your home, you can easily link DLNA devices to share content over the network. Newer HD televisions have inbuilt wireless Ethernet, so no need to wiring your router to televisions.

Supported Devices for DLNA?

That’s a major concern but we don’t have to worry much about. As far as your device has DLNA certification, it means you can share content over the network. Modern PCs and Laptops comes equipped with DLNA, most of the Android smartphones are now coming up with DLNA certification. Actually post to Android 4.0, you will not find any devices that won’t work with this technology. Non DLNA devices such as old PCs can be made DLNA compatible by updating Windows Media Player software. Almost all the major consumer electronics manufacturers like Microsoft, Sony, Nokia, Samsung, LG, Panasonic and HTC etc. have made devices that can communicate with each other without any issues. Unfortunately right from the beginning, Apple has stayed away to join DLNA community; hence Apple devices are not compatible with this technology. Instead of Apple has its own separate AirPlay technology which serves this purpose but this is limited to its own products. But this is the official limitation, you can use other third party apps to perform AirPlay streaming to Android devices while on the other hand media:connect software offers DLNA services to iOS.

Some common problems with DLNA

The concept is no doubt admirable but still there are some limitations which are mentioned as follows:

  • Sometimes file formats doesn’t work on devices. For example, some DLNA compliant devices may unable to recognize MP4 or MKV video formats while other might play these videos without any issues.
  • Digital Rights Management (DRM) might be another bottleneck when it comes to sharing digital content. In order to protect copyright infringement, a new technology has been added which is known as DLNA Premium Video which restricts the copy-protected digital content to be played via DLNA. This technology has been jointly developed by tech giants Microsoft, Sony and Broadcom etc.

Some popular DLNA compliant media servers (softwares)

  1. Serviio: The software has a large community to support and is compatible with thousands of DLNA devices like Smart TVs, PlayStation 3, NAS drives etc.
  2. Twonky Media Server: The server is compatible with variety of operating systems like Windows, Mac, Linux and Android to share and play local and online digital content.
  3. AllShare (Samsung Link): Samsung has also devised its own DLNA compliant application which is interoperable between Samsung devices.
  4. Bubble UPnP: A popular media server made especially for Android devices allow the user to share content with a touch of a button. YouTube contents can be shared easily through this application.

Conclusion

The DLNA technology is still progressing and till February 2013, more than 18,000 different devices have obtained “DLNA Certification” that is indicated by a logo on their packaging and more and more are getting certified regularly. And we never know we could see this interoperability in our other home appliances like fridge, washing machines, and air conditioners in coming years.