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Iomega muffs hard drive DLNA testing

Home Media Network not compliant

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Iomega's Home Media Network Hard Drive is not DLNA-certified.

Although Iomega says device users can "play back...pictures, videos and music from digital media adapters such as game consoles, digital picture frames or networked TVs," the HM NHD has a problem playing MP3s on DLNA-compliant Sony Bravia TVs.

DLNA is the Digital Living Network Alliance, a trade and standards organisation that has developed a protocol for digital media file storage and playback devices to send, receive, and play media files in a reliable way. Products can be tested in independent laboratories and certified DLNA-compliant, meaning that they meet DLNA guidelines and should interoperate with other DLNA-compliant products.

Reg reader Alastair Morrison found that his Sony Bravia TV did not properly play MP3 files delivered by his Iomega Home Media Network Hard Drive (HM NHD). Both devices are represented by their manufacturers as being able to exchange digital media files, although the Iomega device is not actually said to be DLNA-compliant.

Nevertheless, Iomega says it contains a UPnP AV Media Server "compatible with DLNA-certified media players, able to stream photos, audio content and videos to a variety of media devices like game consoles, audio bridges, DMAs (digital media adapters), picture frames and more."

The Sony Bravia device Morrison is using is DLNA-certified.

Tory Holmes, a Sony UK spokesperson, said: "We have checked one of the Iomega products with a Sony TV and can confirm that there is a problem when the Iomega device is used with our TV. According to the manufacturer of the product it is 'compatible' with DLNA devices such as our TV. However, the Iomega product does not carry the DLNA logo nor is this product listed as being DLNA-compliant on www.dlna.org where all DLNA devices are listed...We have reported this issue to FTVE (Flat TV EUrope) and await their response."

The HM NHD includes Packet Video software called TwonkyMedia, which is a digital media server and is said to make "finding media and playing it back on compatible home devices as simple as drag and drop."

PacketVIdeo is a DLNA member, and PacketVIdeo states that the "TwonkyMedia server utilizes the three-box server/control point/renderer model outlined by DLNA guidelines, meaning the software can serve and store files, while also acting as a remote control dictating how media is played. Within the last year, the world’s leading CE (consumer electronics) brands, including HP, LaCie, Fujitsu Siemens, Cisco-Linksys and others, have adopted TwonkyMedia server to be deployed in their products."

TwonkyMedia 4.4 is listed on the DLNA website in its search and match section and is certified (PDF).

DLNA Corporation president Scott Smyers, said: "DLNA does not certify software at this time, only complete devices." But, as we have seen, there is a certificate for TwonkyMedia's media server.

He goes on to say: "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."

Concerning devices that use TwonkyMedia and similar software he said: "Vendors of software that adds DLNA functionality to a PC, such as the PacketVideo product, are permitted to make statements about the functioning of their software and are expected to state minimum system requirements for their product to operate properly. The vendor of the device is still responsible for certifying the device that the software is included on and may not say that the device is certified just by including software that has been certified on the software vendor's device. The device must still go through the extensive testing of the DLNA Certification process."

This means that when DLNA-certified software such as TwonkyMedia 4.4 is used in a media storage device such as Iomega's HM NHD that device does not inherit DLNA certification and cannot be regarded as being effectively DLNA-compliant. In fact, it is not. The DLNA will not get involved if the device fails to inter-operate with DLNA-certified products, even though it contains a DLNA-certified media server software component.

It is Iomega's responsibility to test the DLNA-compliance of the device, and in this case, it has not. Reg reader Alastair Morrison is still suffering the problem reported here nine days ago, because Iomega has failed to ensure that its Home Media Network Hard Drive is DLNA-compliant.

Morrison is getting active involvement from Iomega, saying that the firm recently "sent me an IX2 StorCenter to try, received it today, doesn't work either."

Two thoughts. Firstly, it is a pity that Iomega did not test its HM NHD product for DLNA-compliance before shipping it. Secondly, how many of the other TwonkyMedia-using CE manufacturers have tested their products with that media server software inside for DLNA-compliance?

Neither Cisco nor Cisco-Linksys are listed as DLNA members. HP is listed as a DLNA member. Fujitsu is, but Fujitsu Siemens is not. LaCie is not listed as a DLNA member either.

It's best to assume that if a product is not described and listed as DLNA certified, then it is not. It may well work with DLNA-compliant devices, but it may not. And then you will find that it can be an involved struggle to get the issue resolved - as Morrison is still experiencing. ®

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