What is DLNA, What does DLNA do, How to setup DLNA on Windows 7

Firstly you may ask, What the heck is DLNA?

DLNA is all about the Digital Home and getting those devices you use everyday to work together. Chances are you’ve got a digital camera, but are restricted to watching your photos back on the screen of your PC, or you’ve got video footage on your camcorder that you have to stop and burn to disc, and then hope it will play on your DVD player. You’ve got a big screen TV in the hall, but can only use it for TV and DVD’s. Getting them all to work now normally involves lots of cables, lots of patience and a fair bit of time too, but DLNA changes the scenario altogether. This is possible already due to Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) which is a set of networking protocols bringing us one step closer to convergence of home electronics.


Basics about UPnP:
UPnP standards are defined by the UPnP forum which has more than 889 members which include companies like Microsoft, Cisco, Samsung, Nokia, IBM, Intel and many more. UPnP forum aims to create an open environment for interoperable device services using common technologies such as TCP, UDP, SOAP and XML.

DLNA stands for Digital Living Network Alliance, and is basically a set of rules that electronics companies are all following in order for devices to talk to each other. I struggled to get to grips with it to start with, but if you look less at what it is and look more at what it does, you’ll soon see how its going to change how we use our devices.


What does DLNA do?

In a nutshell, DLNA allows digital devices to talk to each other over a wired or wireless computer network. It lets you access content from your PC on your TV, play music from your phone through your Hi-Fi, play video from your camcorder, smartphone to your large Screen LCD in your house lounge, all without having to plug anything in! Brilliant, isn’t it?

What can I do with it?

There are loads of different things you can do with DLNA devices, it can help make your life a little bit easier, reduce the complexity here’s a couple of examples.

You’ve been on a day out, you get home and want to look back at the photos on your phone. With DLNA devices, you can play your photo slideshow back on your widescreen TV, and when you’re finished you can send all your photos to your network storage device for safe keeping.

Without DLNA, you’d have been restricted to watching them back on your phone screen or messing around with cables to transfer them to your PC to watch on your computer screen.

Or say, You’ve filmed your recent holiday and downloaded it to your PC, and you sent it to your networked storage device for safe keeping. When the family come round, you can all sit and watch it together, watching it back on your TV using just your TV remote to play it back – its that simple. Without DLNA, you’d have been restricted to watching them back on your computer screen, burning the film to DVD or messing around with cables to connect the camcorder to your TV.

I’m sure you’re probably thinking this all sounds good, but does it really work? Honestly, Yes. To give you a better idea of what a simple DLNA network set-up would be, this is my current set up at home:

  • Windows PC running Home Media Server (XP, Vista, 7), connected to Wi-Fi network,
  • DLNA enabled TV/LCD connected to my wireless router using an ethernet cable,
  • Smartphone having DLNA, connected to Wi-Fi network.
I am sure you are seeing a pattern here, that’s right, they all are connected to one networks, THAT my friend is the magic.

Here are the steps to Setup DLNA on Windows 7

Media Streaming
There is a new “Stream” menu prominently displayed in the Window Media Player user interface (see figure below) that exposes simple scenario-based configuration options. These options allow you to:

1. Set up your home PC so you can access your media libraries while away from home
2. Allow other Windows 7 PCs and devices to push media to your Player and control it
3. Quickly authorize all home PCs and devices to access your media collection

Each of these scenarios will be discussed throughout this post.

HomeGroup introduces the concept of “shared libraries” for music, pictures, and video. These shared libraries are accessible from within the navigation pane of Windows Explorer and Windows Media Player, and from the “shared” view of each media category within Windows Media Center (see figures below). The scope of these libraries is the same from each of these views.

Windows Explorer will automatically discover and provide access to shared media libraries on other HomeGroup PCs. In addition, Windows Media Player and Windows Media Center will automatically discover shared libraries from:

1. Windows Media Player 11 and 12
2. Windows Home Server
3. All DLNA compliant media servers (Samsung AllShare devices)

Who Can Access My Shared Media Libraries?

A HomeGroup is a secured set of Windows 7 PCs that can view and consume each other’s media seamlessly. Sharing is automatically set up among HomeGroup PCs and HomeGroup settings allow you to choose what types of media you would like to share; for example, you may choose to only share your music library and not your video or pictures.

In addition to all HomeGroup PCs being able to access your media, it is easy to allow devices to access shared media libraries on Windows 7 PCs. This can be done conveniently from either HomeGroup settings or within Windows Media Player:


After this you just need to make sure the folder that has your videos in it shows up in Windows Media Player. This is a simple Drag and drop procedure. I find that I sometimes have to manually add some new content.

At this point you just go into your AllShare on your Captivate and you should be able to navigate through to your videos.

Let me know if you have any questions on any of this and I’ll be happy to answer them. Also, if someone wants to post details on how to do this with Windows XP, Mac OSX, or Linux, I’ll be happy to add it to the post.


How do it make an Android or a Windows Mobile phone the Media server

As of June 2011, there are 26 promoter members and 199 contributor members. The promoter members are: ACCESS, AT&T Labs, Awox, Broadcom, Cisco Systems, Comcast,DIRECTV, Dolby Laboratories, Ericsson, Hewlett-Packard, Huawei, Intel, LG Electronics, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia, Panasonic, Promise Technology, Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics,Sharp Corporation, Sony Electronics, Technicolor, and Verizon. As of March 2011, Apple Inc. is notably absent; Apple uses its Digital Audio Access Protocol instead of DLNA’s UPnPprotocols.  – Wikipedia
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The DNetWorks Team