Home entertainment is one of the sectors in which technology has been making some incredible leaps over the past decade. The home media center computer was introduced, acting the conduit for your home entertainment system, enabling your television to display content from your computer. Typically, this involved incorporating a desktop PC somewhere into your home theater, connected via a number of cables for audio and video and hoping that you could access the Internet too. While form factors have shrunken significantly and HDMI has become the standard for a high-definition all-in-one audio and video cable, the advent of home networking has allowed the computer to stay in the home office, with the network pushing the content to your home theater. Leading the charge is the Digital Living Network Alliance, or DLNA, for short.
DLNA is a non-profit organization (https://www.dlna.org) that defines guidelines for the sharing of digital content between devices like computers, cell phones, televisions, and other multimedia devices. With this standards-based technology, it has become increasingly easy to have a connected home entertainment system, provided you have a home network and DLNA-certified devices. As of January of 2011, over 9,000 devices carried the DLNA-certified label, and since then, those numbers have jumped significantly. If you’re curious to find out if your product is DLNA-certified, you can check out the website’s DLNA product search or you can use the DLNA Mobile Product Search Info App. A note to iPhone or iPad users: there is no version of the mobile app for you, so just use the online version.
Once you possess multimedia components that are DLNA-certified, they are compatible right out of the box, so that when connected to your home network, they can see and interact with each other right away. The technology standard also allows for compatibility down the road, so that devices you have today will work with ones you buy in a few years. With DLNA, you can watch content on your TV from a computer in the other room. You can listen to music from your smartphone on your stereo in the living room. You can display pictures from your laptop or smartphone on the TV or on the LCD screen that is integrated into your refrigerator door. You can print pictures from your digital camera or smartphone wirelessly without difficult setup. Getting rid of the headaches that used to accompany home networking and adding functionality that was never before possible is all a reality now, thanks to DLNA.
I have a variety of devices that are DLNA-certified, and I use it extensively in my home theater and throughout my home. For listening to music, I share my iTunes library with devices in my living room and my bedroom. My family watches videos that have been backed up on to a computer on the DLNA-certified television in the family room. Pictures stored on my NAS (Network-Attached Storage device) are displayed for the whole family to enjoy throughout the house. Needless to say, I’m getting my money’s worth from my home network and my digital content without a lot of cumbersome troubleshooting and hair-pulling.
With DLNA, sharing your digital life has become easy, the way it should be.