The Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) is a nonprofit collaborative trade organization established by Sony in June 2003, that is responsible for defining interoperability guidelines to enable sharing of digital media between multimedia devices. These guidelines are built upon existing public standards, but the guidelines themselves are private (available for a fee). These guidelines specify a set of restricted ways of using the standards to achieve interoperability and include almost no free audio formats and only the most common (free or otherwise) video formats, meaning that DLNA servers generally have to support transcoding in order to produce a useful service.
DLNA uses Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) for media management, discovery and control. UPnP defines the type of device that DLNA supports ("server", "renderer", "controller") and the mechanisms for accessing media over a network. The DLNA guidelines then apply a layer of restrictions over the types of media file format, encodings and resolutions that a device must support.
As of February 2013, over 18,000 different device models have obtained "DLNA Certified" status, indicated by a logo on their packaging and confirming their interoperability with other devices. It was estimated that by 2010 more than 440 million DLNA-certified devices, from digital cameras to game consoles and TVs, were installed in users' homes.
Sony established the DLNA in June 2003 as the Digital Home Working Group, changing its name 12 months later, when the first set of guidelines for DLNA was published. Home Networked Device Interoperability Guidelines v1.5 was published in March 2006 and expanded in October of the same year; the changes included the addition of two new product categories — printers, and mobile devices — as well as an "increase of DLNA Device Classes from two to twelve" and an increase in supported user scenarios related to the new product categories.
The DLNA Certified Device Classes are separated as follows:
Home Network Devices
Digital Media Server (DMS): store content and make it available to networked digital media players (DMP) and digital media renderers (DMR). Examples include PCs and network-attached storage (NAS) devices.
Digital Media Player (DMP): find content on digital media servers (DMS) and provide playback and rendering capabilities. Examples include TVs, stereos and home theaters, wireless monitors and game consoles.
Digital Media Renderer (DMR): play content as instructed by a digital media controller (DMC), which will find content from a digital media server (DMS). Examples include TVs, audio/video receivers, video displays and remote speakers for music. It is possible for a single device (e.g. TV, A/V receiver, etc.) to function both as a DMR (receives "pushed" content from DMS) and DMP ("pulls" content from DMS)
Digital Media Controller (DMC): find content on digital media servers (DMS) and instruct digital media renderers (DMR) to play the content. Content doesn't stream from or through the DMC. Examples include Internet tablets, Wi-Fi enabled digital cameras and smartphones.
Digital Media Printer (DMPr): provide printing services to the DLNA home network. Generally, digital media players (DMP) and digital media controllers (DMC) with print capability can print to DMPr. Examples include networked photo printers and networked all-in-one printers
Mobile Handheld Devices
Mobile Digital Media Server (M-DMS): store content and make it available to wired/wireless networked mobile digital media players (M-DMP), digital media renderers (DMR) and digital media printers (DMPr). Examples include mobile phones and portable music players.
Mobile Digital Media Player (M-DMP): find and play content on a digital media server (DMS) or mobile digital media server (M-DMS). Examples include mobile phones and mobile media tablets designed for viewing multimedia content.
Mobile Digital Media Uploader (M-DMU): send (upload) content to a digital media server (DMS) or mobile digital media server (M-DMS). Examples include digital cameras and mobile phones.
Mobile Digital Media Downloader (M-DMD): find and store (download) content from a digital media server (DMS) or mobile digital media server (M-DMS). Examples include portable music players and mobile phones.
Mobile Digital Media Controller (M-DMC): find content on a digital media server (DMS) or mobile digital media server (M-DMS) and send it to digital media renderers (DMR). Examples include personal digital assistants (PDAs) and mobile phones.
Home Infrastructure Devices
Mobile Network Connectivity Function (M-NCF): provide a bridge between mobile handheld device network connectivity and home network connectivity.
Media Interoperability Unit (MIU): provide content transformation between required media formats for home network and mobile handheld devices.
The specification uses Digital Transmission Content Protection|DTCP-IP as "link protection" for copyright-protected commercial content between one device to another.
As of February 2014, there are 17 promoter members and 215 contributor members. The promoter members are:
There are over nine thousand products on the market that are DLNA Certified. This includes TVs, DVD and Blu-ray players, games consoles, digital media players, photo frames, cameras, NAS devices, PCs, mobile handsets, and more. “According to a study from ABI Research, nearly 200 million such products shipped in 2008; that number will rise to more than 300 million in 2012, and the growth curve accelerates even faster in the years that follow.” Consumers can see if their product is certified by looking for a DLNA logo on the device or by verifying certification through the DLNA Product Search.
Manufacturers can seek certification testing from a DLNA Accredited Independent Certification Vendor such as the UNH InterOperabiliy Laboratory, Digital TV Labs, or Testronic.
DLNA technology components
As the past president of DLNA pointed out to the Register in March 2009:
The vendors of software are allowed to claim that their software is a DLNA Technology Component if the software has gone through certification testing on a device and the device has been granted DLNA Certification. DLNA Technology Components are not marketed to the consumer but only to industry.
DLNA Interoperability Guidelines allow manufacturers to participate in the growing marketplace of networked devices and are separated into the below sections of key technology components.
In 2005, DLNA began a Software Certification program in order to make it easier for consumers to share their digital media across a broader range of products. DLNA is certifying software that is sold directly to consumers through retailers, websites and mobile application stores. With DLNA Certified software, consumers can upgrade products from within their home networks that may not be DLNA Certified and bring them into their personal DLNA ecosystems. This helps in bringing content such as videos, photos and music stored on DLNA Certified devices to a larger selection of consumer electronics, mobile and PC products.
Asset UPnP/DLNA, Audio specific UPnP/DLNA server for Windows & Windows Home Server. Features album art, audio WAVE/LPCM transcoding from a huge range of audio codecs, ReplayGain support for streamed audio. Customizable browse tree.
Mezzmo is a feature-packed UPnP/DLNA media server with on-the-fly transcoding and media organizing features.
PlayOn from MediaMall appears to be a DMS, also capable of serving streamed internet media such as Netflix, Hulu, Google YouTube, CNN, ESPN.
PS3 Media Server, an open source (GPLv2) DLNA compliant UPnP Media Server for the Sony PS3, written in Java, with the purpose of streaming or transcoding any kind of media files, with minimum configuration.
Serviio is a DLNA media server and works with any DLNA compliant device with the purpose of streaming or transcoding any kind of media files (TV, Sony PlayStation 3, etc.) and some other (MS Xbox 360). Frequently updated, has a good support community.
TwonkyMedia server runs on Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and Android and enables media sharing of local and online media among a large variety of devices.
TVMOBiLi – A shareware DLNA/UPnP Media Server for MS Windows, Apple Mac OS X and GNU/Linux. Appears to be just a DMS.
TVersity, a UPnP MediaServer with strong device support and on-the-fly transcoding. Appears to be just a DMS.
Wild Media Server (UPnP, DLNA, HTTP), a media server for MS Windows, Wine (GNU/Linux), Wineskin on MacOS, featuring individual device settings, transcoding, external and internal subtitles, restricted device access to folders, uploading files, Internet-Radio, Internet-Television, Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB), DMR-control and "Play To", Music (Visualization), Photo (Slideshow), support for 3D-subtitles, support for music fingerprints.
Coherence is a framework written in Python to enable applications access to digital living network resources. As a stand alone application it can act as a UPnP/DLNA media server, in combination with a supported client as a media renderer.
AllShare (UPnP, DLNA), a Samsung branded media server for MS Windows. Clients are also available for mobile Android devices. Effective for streaming content over a local network to Samsung devices, notably televisions.
KooRaRoo Media (UPnP, DLNA, HTTP), a multimedia organizer and a media server for Windows. On-the-fly transcoding, supports multiple video/audio streams in files, includes a DMS (server) and a DMC (controller) with "play to" functionality. Works with all DLNA-compatible devices.
Pixel Media Server is a DLNA compliant Digital Media Server on Android platform. It makes your android Phone/Tablet to DLNA Media Server and publish your media contents (Image/Song/Video) from your Tablet/Phone to the DLNA home network.
Nero Media Home is a UPnP/DLNA Media Server on the Windows platform, streaming music, videos, photos, and TV shows, It allows to play back your media files on most popular devices including Xbox and PlayStation.