Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA)
DLNA is group effort of over 200 companies working to create a home entertainment ecosystem with seamless interoperability
between digital devices.
The ecosystem for digital living is based on and builds around the concept of home networking. The home network can be a
wired and/or wireless topology, with a mix of wired and/or wireless devices that can discover and communicate with each other
over the network. The device types are not limited to just the traditional PC, printer and broadband router that may first
come to mind, but can include HDTVs, DVRs, Stereo Systems, Gaming Consoles, Blu-ray Players/ Recorders, Digital Camera,
Mobile Phones and other mobile devices. If you have ever experienced the misfortune of trying to get digital content stored
on your laptop to display on someone else’s TV (so that more than 2 or 3 people can view it) , the benefits of
seamless integration between different devices is obvious.
DLNA devices simplify enjoying digital content; for example: you want to present a slide show of digital pictures of
your child at his second birthday party on your HDTV. The digital pictures are stored on your home computer. If your
HDTV has a USB port you may be able to store the images on a USB memory stick and plug that into your HDTV. If your HDTV
doesn’t have a USB port, then your options are to burn it to a DVD and play it from your DVD player, or move the computer
from its current location and connect it directly to your HDTV, (provided that your computer and HDTV have the appropriate
connection types, and you have the correct interconnection cables on hand). With a DLNA HDTV you could summon the slide
show directly to the HDTV across the home network as easily as you get content front an internet server. You get the
content you want displayed on your HDTV without rearranging your house. You can even stream the content to more than
one DNLA HDTV just as easily.
To meet the guidelines for DLNA and achieve certification, devices must be able facilitate transparent connectivity
to other devices inside the home network, either directly or by use of bridging and routing technologies. The goal
is to enable endpoint-to endpoint information exchange between all devices in the network. Devices must be able to
discover, configure and control other devices and services on the network. DLNA devices must also use common media
formats and media streaming protocol so there is the easy exchange of content. Interoperable media management across
all devices is also a requirement, so that any device can be used to search, browse and select the content to be consumed.
Devices must also use compatible authorization and authentication mechanisms so that the various devices on the network
can grant or/and request access to the content.
DLNA devices are broken in to 3 categories with each category containing classes of devices:
Home Network Devices
Digital Media Server (DMS)
These are devices like PCs and Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices that enable the storage and serve-up digital
content to other network devices.
Digital Media Player (DMP)
Devices like HDTV, stereos and game consoles, that find content stored on Digital Media servers, and provide playback.
Digital Media Renderer (DMR)
These devices can receive and play content from digital media controllers (DMC). HDTV, AV receivers,
remote speakers and video display units are examples of DMRs.
Digital Media Controllers (DMR)
Devices that can find content on digital media servers and facilitate forwarding of the content to digital media renders.
Digital Media Printer (DMPr)
Networked printers that provide printing services to the rest of the network.
Mobile Handheld Devices
Mobile Digital Media Server (M-DMS)
Wireless devices that store content and make it available as a service to wired and/or wireless digital
media players, digital media printers and digital media renderers. Examples of this class of device are mobile
phones and portable music players.
Mobile Digital Media Players (M-DMP)
Like their wired counter parts, these devices find content stored on digital media servers, and provide playback.
Examples of these devices would be mobile phones, and mobile video players.
Mobile Digital Media Uploader (M-DMU)
These devices like mobile phones and digital cameras, are wireless devices that can upload content onto digital
Mobile Digital Media Downloader (M-DMD)
Wireless devices like portable music players and mobile phones that can find, download and store content from
digital media servers.
Mobile Digital Media Controllers (M-DMC)
Wireless devices like PDAs and mobile phones that can find content stored on digital media servers and forward
it on to digital media renderers.
Home Infrastructure Devices
Mobile Network Connectivity Function (M-NCF)
Devices that support Bluetooth to IP bridging, or Wi-Fi access points that provide a bridge between wireless and
wired home networks.
Media Interoperability Unit (MIU)
Devices that provide content conversion between the various DLNA media formats.
Who is involved?
It seem, just about everyone who manufactures consumer electronics and computers is involved with DLNA, the big 3 computer
processor manufacturers; AMD, Intel and Motorola. The top tier CE companies; Kenwood, LG, Matsushita Electronic Industrial
Co. Ltd. (Panasonic), Mitsubishi, Philips, Pioneer, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba are also supporters. I.T. heavyweights,
Broadcom, Cisco, Dell, HP, IBM and Microsoft are also on board. All of the major cell phone and camera manufacturers are
also supporters of DLNA. The complete list of supporters is lengthy; the only noticeable absentees from the list of member
companies are Apple, Nortel, Sun Microsystems and Texas Instruments. Sun and Texas Instruments are promoting members of
another organization call HANA (High Definition Audio-Video Network Alliance), whose goal is to “address the end-to-end needs
of connected, high-definition, home entertainment products and services.
Going forward DNLA will look to expand the capabilities of the framework. A Likely area for expansion is into your
automobile, so you can do things like stream MP3 audio to your car audio system, without the use of a docking device.
Extending the framework to network using IPv6 is a natural fit. The “Link-Local” and Neighbor Discovery specification
in IPv6 will greatly simplify home networking, allowing for device auto-configuration which doesn’t break when you VPN
to another network, while keeping network data from being inadvertently routed to an unintended destination.