What is DLNA?

The Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) is a large coalition of the world’s best known digital companies with the goal of making your home media networks a reality. Stream music from your phone to your TV? No problem. Watch HD movies on the move? Easy. But the surprise is, the future of DLNA has already arrived.

The history of introducing fancy new tech has been wrought with bloody inter-company tribal warfare (Blu-ray vs HD-DVD) or do technology companies want us to use more often than not. (3G video calls anyone?)

But one technology has been ubiquitously seeping into our gadgets and homes without consumers giving much thought. And that’s DLNA. Introduced as early as 2003, DLNA was ahead of its time but slowly, but surely, gadgets from TVs, Hi-Fis, computers, cameras, MP3 players to game consoles are sporting the DLNA logo. And now with a critical mass of DLNA certified gadgets and fast home networks, DLNA has he appearance of exploding onto the scene like a new scarlet.

There are now millions of gadgets that adhere to the strict DLNA certification which means you and I can stream our media anywhere in our homes without needing a geek’s knowledge of how to connect them all.


What is this DLNA and how is it different from Wifi?

DLNA is an alliance of over 250 companies that cover several fields. From Sony, Panasonic, Pioneer to computer companies like HP Toshiba and Lenovo. Even software making companies like Microsoft , chip companies like Intel, mobile phone companies like Nokia. So it’s a large set of all the industries of what we call convergence of consumer electronics, telecommunications and IT.
Wifi only bringing a medium to communicate digital data. DLNA is about facilitating and certifying the media in the home network, to provide a simple way to discover media in your home without having a specific procedure. Everything is straightforward. You cannot connect your device and it is automatically discovered. If you have a DLNA mobile phone, just by answering into the network you would just discover the media on the network. The devices would discover the server of the content on your mobile phone. In a typical hom environment having a DLNA phone, gaming console and PC, you can easily find every media on the network. WiFi is just the medium whereas DLNA is about accessing media on the home network.

What do we need to make a home truly DLNA networked?

You just need to have a router or wireless router and to connect each device between each other using this router. In this ecosystem you don’t need anything more than that.

In terms of a HDTV, can you stream that wirelessly?

TVS are made to last a long time and manufacturers are quite slow in adopting new technology especially WiFi. So most TVs supporting DLNA are using DLNA through wired Ethernet. Some have WiFi but they don’t’ use it for DLNA. TV makers don’t want to use the older WiFi g wireless standard but prefer to jump straight to the faster WiFi n standard that has got sufficient bandwidth for HD content.

What does the DLNA logo sticker mean to the products we buy and how rigorous is this process?

DLNA requires companies to send their devices to an independent lab where the devices are tested. The certification is done in 2 parts. One involves several hundred automatic tests. Each lab also conducts tests to reference devices to be able to produce what each customer will go through, testing and checking each device as if in the home.