If you’ve been reading about various gadgets for some time, one frequently used term that you’ve come across has to be DLNA. An abbreviation for Digital Living Network Alliance, DLNA connects various DLNA Certified products over a network. It’s all about having a digital home and coordinating various devices to work together.
What does DLNA do?
In a nutshell, DLNA allows digital devices to talk to each other over a wired or wireless network. It lets you access content from your PC on your TV, play music from your phone through your Hi-Fi speakers, all with out having to plug anything in! It eliminates unnecessary adapters for interfacing two devices so now you can do a lot without a hassle. Very importantly, DLNA doesn’t mean that you’re supposed to have Wi-Fi enabled devices. You can very well connect them with wires.
Streaming media at your convenience!
To start off with, you need DLNA devices for sure. However, you cannot just have two random DLNA devices, the requirements are listed below.
Requirements to use DLNA
The support for DLNA needs to be built into the software of the device, so you cannot buy a special DLNA adapter to use in your current device. What you can do is, while you buy a device, look for a DLNA logo.
A home network (wired or wireless)
Most of us by now already have networks in place at home for accessing the internet, so you should easily be able to expand your network to incorporate more devices with minimal hassle. Some devices will only be able to connect wirelessly, and others will need to connect to your network using a cable. For e.g Buffalo Link Station Pro Duo (http://tech2.in.com/news/hard-drives/buffalo-introduces-the-link-station-pro-duo/182912/0)
You need a NAS server
Home media server software
DLNA certified stuff needs a software component to act as the interface between devices. So there are several different media servers available, but these are becoming a standard part of PC operating systems, and most new PC’s should have one built in. For e.g. Nero MediaHome, XMBA, Windows Media Player 12 (bundled with Windows 7)
DLNA Certified products
Certified products include mobile phones, PC’s, TV’s, Network Storage Devices, Digital Video Recorders, Audio Systems, Printers & Digital Media Players. You’ll need more than one obviously in order to really do anything, but no doubt over time most devices in your house will support DLNA. For e.g. Samsung Galaxy Tab, Sony Blu-Ray Player, Samsung Galaxy Ace, LG Optimus 3D, PS3 and X-Box 360. That's not all there are other devices like Sony Speakers, LG LED TV and there are Sony netbooks as well.
A neat DLNA device, this
How does it work?
So now that you know what DLNA is all about, you might want to understand how does it work? Here are a few examples of how things work out in your digital home.
Your network attached storage (NAS) acts as a digital media server (DMS). If you have a movie collection stored on the NAS, instead of watching movies on your PC monitor, you can do so using a TV in your living room. Your DLNA Certified TV is certified as a digital media player (DMP) which has certain capabilities through which you can find the movies on your NAS, and then play them on the TV.
If there are photos stored on your digital camera which is a certified digital media controller (DMC), you can check them out on your TV. If your DLNA certified TV acts as a digital media renderer (DMR), you can view these photos on the big screen!
Suppose you’ve loaded all your favorite music onto your PC, a certified digital media server (DMS). Using your DLNA Certified personal digital assistant (PDA), which may be certified as a mobile digital media controller (M-DMC), you can find songs you want on your PC and send them to play on your DLNA Certified wireless speakers. In this case, the speakers deliver the capabilities of a certified Digital Media Renderer (DMR).
The logo your next device should have
So as you can see, there are different capabilities that your DLNA certified devices can have. While an NAS is the DMS in the first case, it is your PC that can also be a DMS as you saw in the third scenario. To sum it up, different devices have different certified capabilities that let a user access media seamlessly across various gadgets.
Connecting devices with each other has not been a new thing. Internet is a big example of how we have been connecting with each other. We also have many instances of sharing media files but DLNA - which is a set of interoperability guidelines, is an easy way of connecting devices that are not computers. Examples include mobile phones, TVs, speakers, printers and more. It certainly helps a great deal if a user can access all the media from a single server at his/her own convenience. Plus, manufacturing of DLNA certified devices are only seeing a positive growth, so even though you might not have one now, your next purchase could (or should) include a DLNA device. The only flipside is that one shouldn’t end up spending too much for DLNA capabilities.