What is DLNA and what is it for

Today we can effortlessly send a video or movie from a tablet to the living room TV. This is possible thanks to DLNA technology, which we will define in this article.

oday we are used to everything being connected . It is not strange for us to send a YouTube video to our television directly from our mobile phone or put a disc on Spotify on a tablet and listen to it through a computer. However, there was a time when all this was a novelty that was just beginning to glimpse the dawn of the smart universe that we have today at our fingertips. In those years, a unique communication protocol was born, influential enough to have been the spearhead of the smart device revolution we are experiencing. We are referring to DLNA technology , which continues to make it possible for our devices to communicate with each other for different purposes.

What is DLNA technology?

What is DLNA technology?

DLNA stands for Digital Living Network Alliance . It is a communication standard for the transmission of data between different devices (a computer, a smartphone, a tablet, a TV, a NAS server …) through the same network.

This technology uses the Universal Plug ‘n’ Play (UPnP) protocol to detect the various devices that can connect and interact with each other. However, for this connection to occur, the devices that want to join the network must have the communication technology incorporated at the factory. In addition, and obviously, for the devices to communicate they must be part of the same network.

Currently, DLNA technology has more than four billion certified devices to work on such a network. And if you have a Windows 10 computer, you already have one of those devices at home: Microsoft’s operating system incorporates a DLNA server as standard. The main purpose of this alliance is to ensure that users have standardized technologies that are easy to use.

DLNA was a non-profit alliance of manufacturers, although among those who adhere to it are large players in the technology industry : the aforementioned Microsoft, Intel, HP, LG, Samsung or Panasonic are some of the most important. In 2017 the association was dissolved and sold to a private company called SpireSpark, which focuses its business model on the certifications of equipment for this technology.

What is a DLNA network for?

The fundamental use that is given to this technology is to share files between devices . There are two types of devices on a DLNA network:

  • Servers : are the devices that can store multimedia content and are capable of sharing it on a network. Some examples of servers are computers, NAS servers, some external hard drives, or tablets. They serve as the central axis of the network and source of content.
  • Clients : these are the devices that allow us to view the content. The clearest example is smartTVs.

A DLNA network works in the following way : first, the servers host the content that we are going to consult. Second, with the client we can access this content and decide what to do with it.

Explaining it more graphically, suppose we want to watch a movie on the living room television, but we have it hosted on the desktop computer in another room. We could select the content from the PC and send it to the television to see it, without having to move from the sofa. Likewise, you could also send the music you have on your  smartphone to play on your stereo and even print photos directly from your mobile. The possibilities are endless.