back to article WTF is... DLNA?

DVD and Blu-ray Disc players, internet radios, sound systems and projectors, TV set-top boxes and the TVs themselves have traditionally been a motley crew, arguing among themselves in so far as they communicate at all, about who should do what and to whom. The noble aim of the DLNA - the Digital Living Network Alliance - is to …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Thumb Down

Yep..

Yep.. thought DLNA was the answer when I bought a new tv.. thought I found a good combo, but coulnt verify it.. a Samsung 'Allshare' tv annd twonky on a dns 313 nas... all seems fine with audio and avi.. but all the mkv files I created from my home media refuses to work.. twonky supports it (streams to my pc) and the tv will play mkv from a usb drive.. but never fromt he NAS after lots of tinkering with configs etc... a real pain.. plus, the FF & rewind is broken for all files...

0
0

Try renaming to .avi

It's a problem I've seen on other implementations - no guarantee's but you might get lucky. I believe the phrase used where I read the fix was "inelegant but easy".

0
0
Thumb Up

PMS

Playstation Media Server also works (and has for some time) on xbox 360s. Despite it's name its not just for the playstation. This, and others I assume, support on-the-fly transcoding from numerous DNLA unfriendly formats to those that will play. I find this to be a an incredibly useful feature and maybe one that could have been mentioned in the "Some software options" section.

0
0
Silver badge

Sir

Any chance of a link to show how that's set up please?

0
0

It just seems to work...

Sorry I don't have a link for that I'm afraid. Mine was setup for a playstation but then I randomly tried it on the xbox and it seemed to work. I do know it's been unofficially supported since v.1.10.1 and I guess that's why there is little (no) documentation. If you are interested I can see exactly what config I have later.

0
0
Silver badge

Sir

I was kind of wondering how you got it onto the 360 in the first place, unless it's in the download center :)

0
0
Silver badge
FAIL

Sir

Ignore me, I'm being a div. Just realised that the server software is on a remote server, we're not talking client software here are we.

I'll just go make some more complex changes to this banks' firewalls :)

0
0

Crossed wires

Ahh i now see what you are asking. I meant that PMS can provide content to the xbox _client_ in a format it was happy to play.

0
1
Stop

Only TwonkyMedia is DLNA certified.

Which is why it works flawlessly with other DLNA products like the PS3.

I trued TVersity and PS3Mediaserver, they worked, sort of, but were mammoth in their resource usage and rather flakey.

1
0
Alert

If I recall correctly

Twonky doesn't do transcoding. If your content is dlna friendly then yes, Twonky rules... but if your content is outside the box (mkv's in particular) then you either need transcoding on the server-side or a more flixible player on the other end (htpc running xbmc, wd tv, popcorn hour, etc).

With dlna-capable tv's or blu ray players, and transcoding with something like tversity, you at least stand a chance (with enough luck and elbow grease) of being able to play content without a dedicated player or htpc.

0
0

Wrong

Newer versions of Twonky do transcode, how well I don't know as I've not needed to use this option, but it is now there

1
0
Silver badge
Unhappy

Transcode == happy

Transcoding is usually the only way to guarantee success. I've seen Twonky and TVersity et al do transcoding, and it works well as I believe the DLNA protocols mean the client declares what it is to the server, so it know what formats will work. The problem is when you're using a relatively dumb NAS that has no CPU ability to transcode on the fly - at this point you may as well be utilising SMB style folder browsing.

The AV format also seems to vary hugely. My PS3 will play some DIVX/MP3 in an AVI container just fine, and other seemingly identical ones will fail for no reason. What's equally frustrating is that it will play them both, when plugged in as a USB drive.

UPNP/DLNA will continue to be a bodge for the forseeable future is my unhappy guess.

0
0
Thumb Up

@Dapprman,

Dapprman,

Thanks for clearing that up - it's been a while since I've looked into Twonky and so much changes so quickly with this stuff it's hard to determine what info is current vs. old and out of date.

Annihilator,

Again, as I understand it, transcoding relies on having a proper profile for the device you're trying to stream to... so if you're trying to setup DLNA streaming from a server (lets say Tversity) and a Sony DLNA Blu Ray player, you have to find a compatible player profile or maybe even cobble one together if none exist. Ultimately, IMO, the problem is that the player-side of the equation isn't well documented and changes based on firmware versions.

While I don't have much experience yet with DLNA, I have seen similar problems with video ripping/encoding and playing direct. You pretty much have to home-brew your combination of encoder and settings to get it right for what you're trying to play it on (with the exception of VLC and XBMC which will play pretty much anything you throw at it that's not corrupt/damaged) and that process can be extremely frustrating.

0
0
FAIL

In summary

In summary: DLNA = Total Crap?

2
1
Gold badge
FAIL

Steaming pile of *%&*

DLNA is a marketing cartel, and therefore is evil squared!

You have barely touched on how bad it is. I have tried several products to get a simple working system. My (DLNA) Sony TV will not play files from a (DLNA) Iomega NAS. An MPEG2 file will not play from the MS DLNA server, but will play from the PSP server (with no transcoding). My Denon will play FLAC files by DLNA, but the DLNA servers will not serve them to it.

And that is before the whole issue of what is a movie file or a sound file. It is supposed to make things easier for the general public, but to get it to work, you have to find out all about different containers, different codecs, even if the original encoder uses motion estimation coding or not. And with the dumbing down of things, if it doesn't work, there is no way on earth to find out why, or to change settings to make it work.

Calling DLNA a steaming pile of shit is an insult to shit.

3
2

It's quite good. The Xbox 360 never did play nice with others though

I've used a variety of FOSS and commercial DLNA servers and clients. They all work to varying degrees.

I think the best combination would probably be a playstation 3 setup to play against a good, powerful server that ran mediatomb, where mediatomb was set up to transcode all the unsupported stuff. It's annoying as hell that the playstation just refuses to play a lot of things. My Samsung Tv can do more formats but for some reason lacks the ability to pause.

And the Xbox 360 refuses to play with most FOSS servers other than ushare. And then ushare has to be built with xbox protocol extensions.

Despite DLNA being nothing new, it seems we're still quite a way from the seemless "plug into network, play all media" scenario that they were hoping for. Or maybe they weren't, what with the tightly controlled format specs.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

A long way to go indeed.

Maybe one day someone in the Alliance will have the brilliant idea to add support for subtitles.

If UPNP was offered up as a final year project from a computer science undergrad I'd say well done, but coming from an industry alliance, it just makes me cringe.

1
0
FAIL

DLNA Totally Flawed

If DLNA do not specify formats that end devices must support it will never work, and the consumer experience will be terrible.

I used DLNA in the early days of Xbox and PS3. At first they did not support DivX but then they did. Neither publish which Profiles they supported, so some content just did not play. There was no clue to which files would play and which wouldn't.

Support for subtitles is woeful, although MKV container has much better support for this. Once again the end device needs to support it.

Given DLNA is supposed to work over a network there are no specifications for buffering. The PS3 DLNA implementation broke buffering back in 2.5. With a bit of buffering it is possible to play SD content over WiFi G.

If you look at the new generation of media players, WD TV Live, and AC Ryan PlayOn, while they support DLNA, best results are achieved using a windows/samba share. You can even play a ripped DVD with full menus and subtitles over a share.

1
0
Silver badge
Thumb Down

DNLA not even a good start

The only device I've ever managed to get acceptable DLNA playback on is my PC. Completely pointless since the same PC will play the same files across a share and do it better - I can find the files faster, trick play actually works and the underpowered CPU in the NAS server doesn't melt down in the process.

DNLA. Not even a good start.

0
0
Bronze badge

Been working with two new DLNA setups just last week...

A good summary of the capabilities of XBox 360 and PS3 is here (http://bit.ly/bSKcz9 - google cache link, original removed for some reason). By all accounts the PS3 stutters when streaming MP4 over DLNA, but I'm told the latest firmware fixes that - will be checking that later this week.

MKV is a nice container but support by any of the major hardware manufacturers is non-existant, and the only (likely useful) features it has that MP4 doesn't is soft subtitles and AC3 audio.

If you're using a DLNA renderer that's in hardware, I'd suggest ripping as MP4 with AVC1 video and AAC 6-channel audio. This will work on PS3 and the C-series Samsung LED TV's at least (sadly not the XBox 360, which can't handle 5+1 AAC) and it's about as close to a standard as you're going to get.

Overall, however, I agree it's a shambles, and I can see why the manufacturers aren't trumpeting DLNA: it's just the comms protocol, and most the battle is in file-formats and codecs.

1
0
Thumb Up

"best results are achieved using a windows/samba share"

QFT

Unfortunately this requires an HTPC or capable player (which is always an additional external box IME) to accomplish, but no doubt... this runs significantly better and is light years easier to get running.

0
0
Silver badge

uPNP and SSD

I disable both of these as it is the PC waving a flag "Infect me" (uPnP allows a device on the network to install its driver on your PC).

If you need to connect something to Cat5e ethernet or WiFi you need to know something about networking. It's not much more to figure or set IP of a file serving device.

DLNA is a failure.

3
5
MnM
Welcome

The Overqualified for Currys Blues

Where will you work?

This is about UPnP AV, not UPnP.

0
1
Bod
Alert

UPnP

UPnP in AV equipment still requires you to enable UPnP on your router's firewall which means your DNLA equipment can happily go punch massive holes through your firewall without your knowledge. Once you've enabled UPnP just to get your AV services to work, you're open to vulnerabilities on your PC from malicious web sites and apps that can punch holes in the firewall.

No chance UPnP is getting enabled on my network.

1
0

Huh, my DLNA worked without UPnP ...

... well ... at least until I got to Hong Kong ... now it just kinda works.

0
0
Silver badge
Flame

Wasted so much time

trying to get things to work, and have just given up.

I could, on the odd occasion, get audio to work, but I have never managed to get my Buffalo Linkstation Live, that is suppose to to be DLNA compliant, actually server any video, even that encoded to one of the supposed supported formats. This was to a number of clients including Xbox 360, Windows clients, and open source clients.

The whole concept of specifying the container and codecs required in the standard is just a cynical attempt at building in obsolescence into consumer electronic devices to guarantee future sales! It sucks, and anybody who says otherwise is either a marketing shill, or just does not understand.

Nowadays, where possible, I stream stdout to stdin using SSH as the transport and mplayer as the player. Not got the gloss of a nice GUI, but just works anywhere you have knocked a known port through the network. Don't even need to share anything. And I get to avoid running the hacker friendly protocol uPnP, which will advertise the complete capabilities of the systems on your network to anybody who can get snoop it.

1
0
Silver badge
WTF?

All wrapped up and ready?

It just seems to me to be a poor attempt at locking down -rather than freeing up - devices that belong to a manufacturers club.

"Other formats - MP3 and Flac, for instance - are optional and may not necessarily be accepted by some DLNA-compliant devices" Optional? MP3 (for devices) and FLAC (for people with ears) should be standard. It almost smells of ' trying to do something about protection' by restricting file formats but, as usual with these manufacturers clubs, they will all argue and go thier own ways.

So, no downloading audio torrents as they may not work ? Or trying to tie it all up so devices refuse to download popular file formats?

No MKV? pah! and thrice pah!

1
0

stop gap

I am glad someone has finally written an article about this. At best I would describe DLNA as adequate, but really only a stop gap to something better. Windows 7 works, but the quality of video streamed via DLNA is appalling. I mainly use Wild Media Server to stream from a Revo to my bedroom Bravia with good results as the software is highly configurable, will transcode and will even fast forward and rewind, but the interface on the TV is so primitive. It is better than having an external box, but only just.

1
0
Paris Hilton

Blame the politics of FOSS and proprietary formats in the past (present?)

From the sidelines you wonder how hard it could be to make one standard for AV streaming and control. However, Sony Apple MS et al worked hard in the early noughties to create their own 'standards' in the hope of inflated licensing revenues, and since loosely apply standards like DLNA and Bluetooth (inc AVRCP).

Something like DLNA should be industry managed and funded, not requiring annual fees that prohibit all but the biggest or most dedicated players to participate. And it should be rigorous enough that it supports a small number of publicly available unlicensed codecs and a simple control mechanism. Microsoft/Apple/Sony would inevitably create their own extensions, but if those extensions were in the form of an XML schema, the DTD would be publically available to allow 3rd party control of some functionality or other that was outside the bounds of normal usage.

But normal usage surely should include the basic ff rw pause controls and the streaming of videos and audio in an agreed format, so you know that any phone that implemented DLNA could stream to any other DLNA device.

Is it too late now to recover from this - where do you go now? *Another* standard?

I had a proper geeky triumph moment the other day when I finally got, after well over an hour, PS3MediaServer to stream to my Bravia TV. God knows how a muggle could have got that to work.

Paris, because we more about how she works(*) than DLNA

(*) edited from what I originally wrote so this could get past Miss Bee

1
0
Happy

The muggle comment

I lol'd - for realz!

Never seen anyone use it outside its original context but very appropriate for this conversation.

1
0
Linux

That may explain a few things

My PS3 accepts DLNA stuff from both my Netgear ReadyNAS and the Mac running Twonky (and before my Win PC running TVersity). Overall am very happy there.

On a slightly less happy note, the Pure radio will happily accept stuff from Mac/Twonky but won't pick up anything from the ReadyNAS.

0
0

Pure Evoke Flow and O2 Jogglers

I found with Coherence (Python-based DNLA server) that I had to set the DNLA/UPnP version to Version 1 for my O2 Joggler to work with my content. My Pure Evoke Flow, on the other hand, seems to work flawlessly with both Coherence and MediaTomb - however, you might get some joy just by changing the version your server provides.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

mkv files

I have a DLNA setup with a netgear stora + some chinese hd player over a network setup. It also did not play my mkv files, even though it supported them. Renamed the files to .avi and they play fine- bizarre fix, but it worked for me :)

0
0
Bronze badge

Use a PC and have done with it

For the last 6 years or so my television has been a PC with plasma display, AV amp, and Gyration wireless keyboard and mouse. It plays all the media I have from anywhere on my network.

1
0
Go

Just the one TV then?

What happens when you want to watch your media somewhere else in the house? I just want a low profile TV that will play online/offline/digital content with a standard interface. I am personally looking forward to the LG /Plex integrated TVs next year.

0
0
Pint

Indeed

I use a knackered old original XBOX running XBMC, must be getting on for 5-6 years old now, streaming from ReadyNAS. It still streams all my DivX 70's and 80's comedy shows and 1930/40 B&W white films, which being pretty shite analogue tape-2-DVD conversions originally don't need to be 720p. I can suffer the very occasional pixelation on my HD TV screen. Simply download VLC for the iPad and XBMC for my PCs and I can still stream anywhere in the house when the TV is in use for the kids 360.

Need to live on the bleeding edge all the time with absolutely everything, still mystifies me a little and only seems to serve to line the pockets of the tech manufacturers. They want to try out some new standard they're not so sure of, they push out some half-baked thing into the market to see if it will stick. Some poor sods then get stiffed when the standard gets ignored. I know I've been burnt too many times before, so I am happy to wait for some other poor saps to get the ball rolling, before I buy in.

1
0

Blame your playback devices not DLNA

If you want to playback your streamed media then it's easy enough to check in advance that your hardware can cope. Certainly the common DLNA servers, such as Twonky will pass anything on and this works, so please don't say that the standard is broken because your TV won't play your pirated videos.

If you want easy streaming of any file type then you'll need a dedicated device in between your streamer and TV - such as as Asus O!Play (the one I use), but then beware as format standards such as mkv also keep changing and this too results in streaming being broken.

I use Twonky on my QNAP NAS with little problem. The only playback issues have been either down to the mkv format being changed yet again or my player (as it's my Asus O!Play that can't do FF and RW properly). On mp3 streaming I have no problems there.

1
3

Oooh I've upset some one

By not targeting DLNA and saying it works for me and that people ought to look at where their setups are really broken, people are marking me down.

I feel like I've said some thing against Apple of Linux :)

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Not sure what you said either...

I've spent more hours looking at this stuff than I really care to admit, and what you said definitely rings true to me. Hell, most of the transcoding profiles that are out there for various players have come from insane amounts of trial and error because the player vendors haven't properly defined what formats they will/won't accept. They're also shooting at a moving target as player behavior changes with firmware updates.

I can't understand why anyone would call that a server problem.

Maybe you've upset the people who tried to get this stuff working and couldn't with one of the transcoding servers. I can imagine that would be very frustrating, but at the end of the day if there's not a transcode profile for the player you're using *and* someone out there saying "works for me"... it's probably not going to work.

0
0
Silver badge

Sir

I didn't vote you down, but I expect this comment may have had something to do with it..

"because your TV won't play your pirated videos."

bit of an assumption there, b'aint?

3
0
Bronze badge

Half right, I'd say

It's true that many TVs (and other playback devices) are decidedly lacking in format support. But I do think it's still appropriate to blame DLNA for at least part of that.

Most of us here are technical, and understand all the complexities and interactions involved. But ordinary punters are not. And if DLNA is to mean anything useful, then it should surely be some guarantee of compatibility beyond just "yep, I can probably show you there's a server on your network."

The point of marks such as these, from the view of the novice consumer, is to make things simple and to make it easy to make purchasing decisions. DLNA ought to guarantee that when you buy a TV with the DLNA logo, and connect it to a network on which you have a DLNA server, you can access if not all, then certainly the vasty majority of your media.

You can lay the blame at the door of the TV makers, or the software, or wherever you like.

But ultimately, as far as the consumer is concerned, it is the fault of DLNA, which paints an image on its own website - just look at http://www.dlna.org/digital_living/possibilities/ - that is far removed from the reality experienced by many consumers.

If an organisation say "DLNA Certified® products are built to work together, even though they come from many different companies" and that turns out not to be the case, then I think it's pretty fair game to blame the organisation.

2
0

@ Sir Runcible Spoon

You sir may be correct.

0
0
Rob
Bronze badge
Thumb Up

They all play nicely in my playground

I have a couple of Netgear ReadyNAS products, samsung TV and Blu-ray player and 3 PC's with windows 7 and they all play nicely. The samsung kit took a number of OTA updates before it got there though, but now I can watch movies and pictures and play music through the Blu-ray home cinema all with great quality, especially the .mts files from the camcorder, they all come across in their glorious HD quality.

It's hassle free at the moment, so much so that my wife can use it which is glowing thumbs up in itself (plus it only took me 10mins to explain it to her). So I can see how this (if marketed properly) would definately appeal to joe public.

P.S. The samsung stuff is doing it all via WiFi as well at the moment until I get round to doing a bit of wiring, so another plus point for that as I would have thought the WiFi would definately be a point of failure.

0
0
Silver badge
Happy

Hardly 'consumer ready' is it?

Not just this post but others have said how well it all works ---- eventually. Some of us have niether the time nor the nous to arse aruond with kit just to play movies and audio. It should either work on not.

"It's hassle free at the moment" Yeah, 'at the moment' which is not exactly reassuring, is it?

Like another poster who change the MKV file extension to AVI to get it to work -- why the hell should we have to fart around when the major companies can't agree with each other nor implement something that actually works.

(plus it only took me 10mins to explain it to her)

again, ' yeah?' how long did it take to get it all working? how much time was spent with yu fiddling about with all the kit unavailable to others and all the coffee and cussing that goes with it? How much is your time worth to get thier kit working? I'd guess possibly more than you paid for all the bits. It's not bloody Meccano - it's supposed to work out of the box. It'd be interesting to find out what your missus thought of it - 'Oh god, not another week of swearing and no telly. Another expensive hobby that's supposed to be state of the art and revolutionary and it was easier just to get up and put a DVD on'?

(smiley 'cos it ain't a rant)

1
0
Coat

DLNA

Isn't that one of the benefits being abolished by the coalition?

0
0

Tversity to xbox360 works great

Albeit with some tweaking of transcoding and resolutions needed every time you update the software. Still, its the easiest and most reliable way I've found to get around the connecting pc to tv issue especially over a network.

I would like a way of streaming a ripped DVD though, my setup will only play individual Vob files, rather than letting you load the dvd as a whole.

0
0
Silver badge

Sir

Try using anyDVD and rip to a single .vob file, works for me.

0
0

its a little flakey but...

its easier than the alternative. I have a PS3 and a samsung tv wired to my router, and the 2 laptops in the house stream wirelessly, and it all works great. Sometimes i need to reboot the laptops, but most of the time it "just works" Having MKV support for the ps3 is a god send, and being able to watch anything anywhere is liberating.

Yes DNLA could be better, but for a microsoft licence based tool, its not bad.

0
0
Thumb Down

I'm glad it's not just me

I quite quite excited about it when I read about it on the specs of my new wifi enabled Sony TV. Elgato EyeConnect works fine as a DLNA service on MacOS, but same, pretty much no files could be decoded by the TV.

The way forward is possibly some FOSS thing that can transcode in realtime on the server side and understands various client profiles.

This shit is what sells Apple products really, stay in the walled garden and you don't lose hours and hours trying to finding a compatible set of stuff. I honestly can't be arsed any more (I'm even selling the NetApp Filers that live in the garage....)

So, yes, IMHO, DLNA = toss. Back to Apple to keep sanity intact.

0
0
FAIL

DLNA is for geeks only

DLNA is in no way ready for the mainstream. I've been posting on AVForums for years both giving and getting help with DLNA, and the best conclusion that I can make is that you will always end up hitting at least one hurdle, but more than likely several.

My best advice would be - find out what formats your renderer supports and encode/transcode to those formats from the outset. This is especially true for NAS devices that don't have the muscle to transcode on the fly.

What's particularly annoying is that a lot of renderers will play back media from a USB device, but will not play it back over DLNA (e.g avi files on Bravia TVs).

2
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.

Forums