What is DLNA and what does it consist of?

If you have a collection of music, videos and family photographs and movies stored on your computer or on a hard drive, you can continue to consume them in any of the devices that you have at home, do you know what DLNA is and what is it? We tell you

The last few years have accustomed us to consume movies, music, series and almost all kinds of audiovisual content on streaming platforms, but many of us still have a large number of movies or music stored on devices and forgotten from that time when there was than download them to consume them.

Those contents are still ours, for example, movies or music discs, and even family photographs or videos. Thanks to the DLNA networks we can see this multimedia content in our SmartTV without having to pass it to a pendrive and connect it to the TV.

DLNA technology is on your TV, your laptop, your smartphone, your PlayStation, Xbox One, even on NAS hard drives. It is a standard created by the commercial association DLNA in 2003, whose main objective is to communicate all these devices in a simple, fast and wireless way to share files between them.

This organization was dissolved in 2017 when it was considered that they had already met their objectives. However, at present the certification of these devices and their technology continues in force and SpireSpark International is in charge of that.

To give you an idea of how widespread this technology is. In 2018, more than seven billion compatible devices were already commercialized, so you have to choose.

How does it work?

To create a DLNA network in your house you will need a device that acts as a server where the content is, such as your laptop or a NAS hard disk and the rest, mobiles, televisions, consoles, will act as receivers. But let's see it in depth.

Domestic network devices

  • Digital media server (DMS). It is the nerve center of the DLNA network. Your PC or a NAS storage device is responsible for storing the content and making it available to digital media players (DMP) and digital media processors (DMR).
  • Digital media player (DMP). Televisions, sound equipment and home cinema, consoles or monitors are able to find content in the DMS and reproduce it.
  • Digital media controller (DMC). This type of device locates content in the DMS and instructs the digital media renderers (DMR) to reproduce it. For example, tablets, digital cameras with WiFi or mobile phones can function as DMC.
  • Digital media renderer (DMR). It is responsible for reproducing the content according to the instructions of the DMC. Examples of this type of device are televisions, audio or video receivers, screens or loudspeakers.

Mobile devices

  • Mobile digital media server (M-DMS). The same functions of the DMS, but in this case in mobile format. Examples of this type of devices are smartphones or portable music players.
  • Digital media mobile player (M-DMP). Like the non-mobile version, it locates and plays content from a server. For example, smartphones or tablets.
  • Mobile digital media charger (M-DMU). This device uploads content to a DMS or M-DMS. For example, a digital camera.
  • Mobile digital media unloader (M-DMD). Apparatus that locates and downloads content from a DMS or M-DMS. For example, a portable music player or a mobile phone.
  • Mobile digital media controller (M-DMC). Same functions as the DMC, but mobile. For example, a smartphone.

Infrastructure devices for the home

  • Mobile network connectivity function (M-NCF). This type of device provides a bridge of network connectivity between a mobile device and the home network connectivity.
  • Media Interoperability Unit (MIU). It offers content transformation between the media formats required for the home network and mobile devices.
All must be compatible with DLNA technology and be connected to the WiFi network and an Ethernet subnet. In addition, one of the main advantages offered by this option is that you will not need to install anything on the receiving devices because they automatically detect the files that are shared by the network.

For the device that acts as a server if you might need to install a tool such as Plex or Kodi, however, if your laptop is Windows you do not have to worry. The Microsoft operating system has a built-in DLNA server and even allows you to select the folders of the computer you want to share with the receivers and thus move all the files you want to see on TV to those folders.

However, you may encounter a problem and that DLNA technology uses DRM (Digital Rights Management), that is, the management of digital rights, so it is possible that some content cannot be played on other devices.