All you need is UPnP?
Colin Crawford, marketing manager for the UK radio manufacturer Pure takes the same view. Pure uses the core UPnP technology to allow its internet-connected radios to play music customers already have stored on their network.
”As far as DLNA’s concerned,” he says, “we don’t see quite enough value for us to be spending what is a fair amount of money annually.” To sign up with DLNA, companies like Humax and Pure would be expected to pay an annual membership fee of around $10,000. That's a lot just to formally state you support technology that you already do.
Sony’s PS3 is an excellent, if quirky DLNA client. The Pinkitude server seen here is tuned to work with consoles - with the result that it doesn’t work with any of the other DLNA devices on my LAN
To be DLNA certified, a product is tested to show that it meets the defined standards. But there’s no requirement to demonstrate that your DLNA-compliant devices actually work together with anyone else's. Practical tests of this kind are left to the informal DNLA “plugfests” the Alliance hosts around the globe at regular intervals.
So this leaves DLNA in a curious place. With the exception of Apple, a notable non-member with its own quite different home networking technology, large manufacturers endorse DLNA, build it into their products, but often don't mention it, or put it out under their own proprietary name - a marketing ploy that seems intended to encourage brand loyalty rather than offering hope for interoperation between brands.
DLNA: A developer's view
Open source coder Benjamin Zores, who has worked extensively with UPnP and DLNA, sees DLNA as an attempt by a consortium of industry heavy-hitters to “harden” the geeky flexibility of UPnP AV, mostly by imposing severe restrictions on the formats it will handle, to the extent that “99 per cent of video files are not DLNA compliant”.
This explains the dreaded error messages that DLNA users seem to see too often: "Unsupported Format" and, worse still, "Data is Corrupted" - which it almost always isn't. In summary, says Zores: “DLNA is truly broken by design”.
Next page: Interoperability issues
I didn't vote you down, but I expect this comment may have had something to do with it..
"because your TV won't play your pirated videos."
bit of an assumption there, b'aint?
Half right, I'd say
It's true that many TVs (and other playback devices) are decidedly lacking in format support. But I do think it's still appropriate to blame DLNA for at least part of that.
Most of us here are technical, and understand all the complexities and interactions involved. But ordinary punters are not. And if DLNA is to mean anything useful, then it should surely be some guarantee of compatibility beyond just "yep, I can probably show you there's a server on your network."
The point of marks such as these, from the view of the novice consumer, is to make things simple and to make it easy to make purchasing decisions. DLNA ought to guarantee that when you buy a TV with the DLNA logo, and connect it to a network on which you have a DLNA server, you can access if not all, then certainly the vasty majority of your media.
You can lay the blame at the door of the TV makers, or the software, or wherever you like.
But ultimately, as far as the consumer is concerned, it is the fault of DLNA, which paints an image on its own website - just look at http://www.dlna.org/digital_living/possibilities/ - that is far removed from the reality experienced by many consumers.
If an organisation say "DLNA Certified® products are built to work together, even though they come from many different companies" and that turns out not to be the case, then I think it's pretty fair game to blame the organisation.
OK, not really, but seriously how can you have an article mentioning Boxee but not the much more popular system it's derived from (XBMC)?
Does Boxee have significant DLNA functionality that doesn't exist in XBMC? I haven't seen anything to indicate that. Boxee's selling points vs. XBMC, as far as I can tell, are the social/Web 2.0 aspects of its interface, the new/forthcoming release of the Boxee Box (or whatever it's called) which means you can put it in without building your own HTPC or hacking an Apple TV, and *maybe* integration with Hulu (but not, AFAIK, Netflix). Everything else XBMC does just as good if not better.
Not trying to knock Boxee or rake El Reg over the coals too much here, but AFAIK XBMC is significantly more popular and if you're going to mention one you should probably mention the other too.
That said, TY for the article - this is an obscure but increasingly important subject now that just about everything AV is coming with an ethernet jack in the back these days.
DLNA is for geeks only
DLNA is in no way ready for the mainstream. I've been posting on AVForums for years both giving and getting help with DLNA, and the best conclusion that I can make is that you will always end up hitting at least one hurdle, but more than likely several.
My best advice would be - find out what formats your renderer supports and encode/transcode to those formats from the outset. This is especially true for NAS devices that don't have the muscle to transcode on the fly.
What's particularly annoying is that a lot of renderers will play back media from a USB device, but will not play it back over DLNA (e.g avi files on Bravia TVs).
UPnP in AV equipment still requires you to enable UPnP on your router's firewall which means your DNLA equipment can happily go punch massive holes through your firewall without your knowledge. Once you've enabled UPnP just to get your AV services to work, you're open to vulnerabilities on your PC from malicious web sites and apps that can punch holes in the firewall.
No chance UPnP is getting enabled on my network.