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 …
Exactly (play on usb not DLNA).. I mean wtf is that all about.. why bother with it at all if its done half @rsed..
Out of interest - Has anyone managed to get a mkv file play via DLNA/Twonky on a Samsung TV (new 'C' 5 series LCD).. grrrr...
Serviio is worth mentioning for being a very competent completely free DLNA server. It's currently the only non-commercial thing that really works for Sony Bluray players for instance.
Hmm, I think perhaps your experience is limited, but then how much time do any of us have?
miniDLNA is open source, and definitely non-commercial and it works with Sony Blu-ray players.
Nice....6 months ago!
You say that "only this month, LG announced that its debut Windows Phone 7 handset, the Optimus 7, will support DLNA-streamed playback." Well, that's nice, but you make it sound like something new.
I'm sitting here with my Sony Ericsson Vivaz (yes, I wish I'd got an X10, but it was too expensive then - my Vivaz was free) and if you go into apps, Media serv. then you see the DLNA server already installed on my phone out of the box.
Since the Vivaz is a Symbian device, I assume that it's on, or at least available to, many Nokia handsets too.
All of the E Series have both client and server
As the title says all of the E Series Symbian handsets have both client and server DLNA apps installed at delivery. Mind you the SIM free versions have SIP services integrated into "Contacts" at delivery too, so no idea if these features make it to the subsidised versions.
I have had a DLNA setup since 2005 and have generally had few problems except for format support. I agree that the client vendors could be a bit more forthcoming about what formats are actually supported. Currently I'm using a few cheap ZyXel clients and Buffalo NAS to play my DVDs, ripped to XviD. Everything is Ethernet, no wifi, wifi never worked.
Sony Dont make me laugh
the don't actualy specify the minimum set of formats that must be supported.
so you can have a DLNA player that is complient, and a client that is complient, but don't have a common protocole they can use.
Look at Sony TV's, they don;t support anything apart from their own formats,
and even if you do get audio working, then video is another game.
It's not that bad.
The minimum DLNA formats a device must support to be approved is specified though. It's hardly all that useful admittedly since it's pretty much just JPG, MP3 and MPEG2 video. However, you'd be surprised how many formats devices do support when they are officially 'qualified' by DLNA to support a much smaller subset.
Sony TVs for instance don't do DivX, but they will play H.264 in an MPEGTS container, meaning many MKVs can simply be remuxed on the fly by DLNA servers such as PS3MS or Serviio. I do this on a 7 year old P4 with no significant CPU burden. What's irritating is picky renderers like the 2009 Sony Bravia's which only like certain resolutions of H.264 streams. The 2010 Sony bluray players are far less fussy though, and support MKV with subs and alternate audio tracks, DivX and more.
Some misinformation there
Wow, that's a whole lot of misinformation in just one post!
1) DLNA certification *does* require minimum format support
-- I'm not for a minute stating that DLNA certification works as it should, but your statement is wrong.
2) Sony TVs do not only support their own formats.
I own two Sony TVs, both of which support over DLNA...
PCM - also known as WAV - not owned by Sony
MP3 - Not owned by Sony
JPEG - Not owned by Sony
MPEG2 - not owned by Sony
AVCHD* - specified by, but not (AFAIK) owned by Sony
* - AVCHD == MPEG2-TS container (not owned by Sony); H264 video (not owned by Sony); AC3 audio (not owned by Sony)
-- And here I will state that the formats that they support over DLNA are the ones that their other devices use, but they are *not* Sony's own formats. I think it can be agreed that the above list is more than the minimal number of formats needed to get DLNA certification.
The information is available on their website:
I hasten to add that I do not work for Sony, I think that DLNA is in a mess as far as end users are concerned and I agree that Sony's support for formats over DLNA could be a lot better - especially as I have previously mentioned given that they support formats via USB that they do not support via DLNA.
Just doesn't work...
As a fairly competant technical bod, I can get most things working after a bit of tinkering, but still can't get it working properly/reliably. I've been looking for a long time to be able to stream from my Linux file server to my Xbox360. TVersity works OK, but you need a decent Windows machine to run it on to do transcoding in real-time for the various devices that only support formats a,b,f and h, but not c,d, or e that your video's are in.
There doesn't appear to be a decent & reliable linux DLNA/UPNP server, unless someone can suggest here. Mediatomb runs OK, but doesn't seem to handle large media playlists well, nor show up on the Xbox. Twonky isn't well documented in Linux, and seems to be unstable, crashing after a short amount of time.
If you can get them to show up, MP3's & WMAs are OK on the 360, but forget ogg/flac et al. XBMC, Boxee & MythTV seem to act as UPNP clients quite well, but if I'm having to have a media-pc by my telly, I'm as well ensuring compatibility by accessing the media files from the local disk, or streaming them from file shares on the network using SAMBA than I am relying on UPNP to do the job. Promises so much, delivers very very little. In fact, I've resorted to sneakernet before now when I've wanted to get a film playing, because its easier to copy it onto a USB stick than it is to trust that UPNP/DLNA will do its job.
Try Playstation Media Server
I'm starting to sound like a broken record. But give it a go, I use it on my Linux machine to stream to both PS3 and XBOX.
bad choice of renderer
The 360 is a pretty bad media player. It has extremely limited format support, heavily biased on Windows Media formats naturally, and it's not actually DLNA compliant - only uPnP. Any server that does support it usually has had to implement specific hacky workarounds.
If you can manage without transcoding then miniDLNA is worth a shot. It's available from Sourceforge either as source or precompiled binaries. I'm not sure on the 360 support though.
ps3 media server on mac
is the way to go. i run it on late 09 13" macbook pro - no problems at all - just make sure to download snow leo edition. it transcodes everything on the fly so no problems with 'exotic' formats
UPnP AV works for music
No need for DLNA at all for music. UPnP AV is attracting a following in mid/high-end hi-fi, which is remarkable. The video market isn't quite so diverse - I don't know of any good, independent screen makers who can talk down this DLNA crap. I saw encryption mentioned as something DLNA supports - presumably that's somehow the main attraction.
Meanwhile I don't get the point of DLNA for video. Anyone who wants to serve a video collection will rip their DVDs/BluRays, or download them for ease. They'll get a NAS, install UPnP AV server software on it, and get the screens they want because decoder boxes now will fit behind an LCD screen. Most things have HDMI ports so can plug straight into TVs. Who does DLNA serve? It's for neither geek nor pleb.
I run MiniDLNA to Bravia
http://sourceforge.net/projects/minidlna/ . This server works most of the time with a limited range of media formats. It took a bit of hacking to get it installed and working on Ubuntu (doesn't have an Ubuntu package and had to hack init.d scripts and a cronjob to restart it if that fails).
In practice the main issue is having to convert Video prior to streaming to support the limited formats accepted on the Bravia TV (Mpeg2 works OK but uses lots of disk space). So might be OK for hackers, definitely not workable for those without computing skills. Works OK with photos and music, but I store these in .jpg and .mp3 formats.
Works ok for me
Ancient PC in a cupboard with loads of storage, wired ethernet to router. PS3 is the playback device also wired to the router.
Using TVersity (Mediatomb on linux worked fine for me also).
For SD it will play XVID/DIVX, VOB, MPG etc all no problems
For HD it will play anything in a M2TS (with ac3), MP4 (with aac)
If you have a MKV, run it through MKV2VOB or TSMuxer (setting output format as M2TS) - no video transcoding so no loss of quality, DTS sound will be transcoded to AC3 unless you have a seperate DTS receiver then you can keep it.
FLAC I believe doesn't work but I don't use it so neither here nor there for me.
I think the key is to remux the files into a supported container in the first place. Letting the DLNA server do transcoding will result in playback issues somewhere down the line.
Some useful tools are: TSMuxer, MKV2VOB, eac3to
OK, not really, but seriously how can you have an article mentioning Boxee but not the much more popular system it's derived from (XBMC)?
Does Boxee have significant DLNA functionality that doesn't exist in XBMC? I haven't seen anything to indicate that. Boxee's selling points vs. XBMC, as far as I can tell, are the social/Web 2.0 aspects of its interface, the new/forthcoming release of the Boxee Box (or whatever it's called) which means you can put it in without building your own HTPC or hacking an Apple TV, and *maybe* integration with Hulu (but not, AFAIK, Netflix). Everything else XBMC does just as good if not better.
Not trying to knock Boxee or rake El Reg over the coals too much here, but AFAIK XBMC is significantly more popular and if you're going to mention one you should probably mention the other too.
That said, TY for the article - this is an obscure but increasingly important subject now that just about everything AV is coming with an ethernet jack in the back these days.
DLNA is typical microsoft
@Dapperman, no I blame DLNA. Several people have commented on videos that DO play directly off a USB stick, a share, etc, but *not* over DLNA. This is not people trying to play like 1080p videos on some old box, this is the fail of DLNA falling right on it's ass if the file isn't in just a handful of formats, instead of doing what a server should do and serve.
"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 :)"
This sums up the fail of DLNA -- what SHOULD happen is, the server serves up the file. *IF* the player can't handle it, it can request some kind of transcode from the server if the server supports it.
The reason this works the way it does is basically Microsoft -- this is just another system where they wanted to make it handle Microsoft's formats and only Microsoft's formats. What better way to do that then hardcode a list of just a few containers and codecs into the specifications? What a fail. Of course, you have hit on the solution too -- if I were going to set up a DLNA server, I think I would hack it up to lie and claim ALL my videos are (foo)MPEG container, MPEG4 video, MP3 audio -- this bypasses the fail, I would guess once the fail is bypased the video file is just thrown directly at a player (and none of the file type info), so anything the box physically can play will play.
Oh regarding the lack of support for .AVI -- AVI files put the header at the END of the file, so I think this makes it rather incompatible with streaming compared to the other file formats that ARE supported -- this may not be a direct fail of DLNA.
DLNA sucks as well as the implementation by manufacturers
I just read on the twonky forums that the issue with the tv players is down to 2 different media players being implemented (one for DLNA, one for USB). I have also tried renaming the files etc as well as fixing twonky settings to send mkv as mpeg etc and still no joy.
DLNA - move along, nothing to see here
I have a media collection on a server I can share by NFS/SMB and DLNA.
Unlike the members of the DLNA consortium I also have kids!
There is no way in the DLNA world to segregate media to different users, now I really don't want my under 12 child watching 18 rated films.
I'll stick to XBMC for now until there is any other hardware player that will work with pin protection for specified directories.
So glad it's not just me
I spent weeks trying to faff about with a Hisense 1080p video player and MediaTomb because the SMB browsing was clunky (if I'm generous). It was soul-destroying trying to get the thing to work. And then it'd play music but not videos, or some videos but not others (despite the fact that it'd play the whole lot via SMB). Tossed the thing onto eBay, got an AppleTV off eBay almost by return, cracked XMBC onto it, and I now have 1080p playback on a nice little box that just plays everything I chuck at it. And I can retire my old XBox that's been doing exactly the same job only without HD support for years!
I want DNLA to work, but whilst there are so many standards it's just unlikely. If they could make the formats used on DVDs and BluRays a mandatory part of the spec it'd be a start. Then they can spend years arguing over the containers...
Just another unfulfilled promise...
Why should something promising like DLNA fall short of the mark? I don't anticipate that every device can play every format ever devised, but why aren't all the common ones covered? Most of the decoder/processor chips that power these devices are off the shelf parts that support and provide reference firmware for many if not *all* of the popular formats to start with!
It certainly should Just Work. Interestingly, it seems like the open source solutions are the ones that do, mainly because they appear to bend over backwards to deal with all the breakage in the proprietary solutions.
I'd better stop there, otherwise I'll have to sit down and take my pills again...
DLNA Sony and Buffallo NAS link station
I havebeen using the above setup for 6 months now. It's running perfectly. I just encode al files to .MPG and they all play perfectly. Plus my 1TB NAS only cost about €130