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DLNA compliance testing: It ain't working

Iomega NAS not talking to Sony TV - whose fault is that?

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Iomega's Home Media Network Hard Drive apparently uses PacketVideo's media serving software, as do other NAS (network-attached storage) devices, and the problem has apparently been encountered with other home NAS devices serving media files to playback products. PacketVideo states: "The PVConnect media server is DLNA-certified, and interoperable with hundreds of DLNA-certified home electronic and mobile devices."

PacketVideo produces the TwonkyMedia code for manufacturers to include in their consumer electronics devices. TwonkyMedia firmware revisions have been shipped by Iomega to Morrison, so far to no avail. PacketVideo was unable to immediately comment on this.

For Morrison there was no problem with displaying JPEG images; it was an MP3 playback issue. Initially he endured a bout of finger-pointing between Iomega and Sony, but now Iomega is looking closely into the problem.

Iomega's EMEA product manager, George Mellissargos, said: "It is important for us that our devices play well with other DLNA devices and not only DLNA ones, since we also test against other UPnP devices that are not DLNA certified." (UPnP stands for Universal Plug 'n Play, which is a different device interconnection method.)

"The Home Media AV Streaming market is just starting to happen (at least for the simple consumers at home) and we definitely, all of us (vendors) have to be careful not to disappoint customers."

Morrison is getting good support from Iomega as it tries to diagnose and fix the problem, but one thing is clear - at present DLNA-certification is no guarantee DLNA-compliant devices will interoperate correctly.

The stakes here are high as DLNA promises to be the protocol enabling different suppliers' products - storage products, games consoles, smart phones, iPods, digital TVs etc - to play nice together and store, receive and play correctly the various standard digital media files.

DLNA-compliant devices should work together as simply and as surely as a 3-pin plug fits into an electricity socket or USB connector into USB socket. The compliance testing should screen out problems like the one Morrison has encountered before products hit the shops.

The DLNA organisation did not reply to emailed questions about this and Sony was also unable to respond. ®

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