UPnP AV (DLNA) for the Apple Macintosh platform

Introduction

I am writing this to help Apple Macintosh users know what is available when it comes to integrating their computers with the UPnP AV / DLNA Home Media Network, especially as a way of providing cost-effective way of distributing music, pictures and video over the home network. This is also because most of the DLNA-compliant equipment is available at prices that most people can afford and that most manufacturers that sell premium-grade consumer AV equipment like Linn or Loewe are running at least one unit capable of playing at least music from a DLNA-compliant media server.

Similarly, the article is also pitched at people who have decided to move to the Apple Macintosh platform from other computing platforms that would provide inherent DLNA MediaServer support like Windows.

Apple doesn’t provide any software to bridge the Apple Macintosh platform to the DLNA Home Media Network, whether as a server, playback or control program. One of the primary reasons is to keep the platform tightly integrated with Apple’s multimedia products like the iPod, Apple TV and Apple Airport Express. As well, some Apple Macintosh diehards may consider the UPnP AV / DLNA Home Media Network as an anathema to the “purely Apple” IT lifestyle that they desire.

So this need is fulfilled by software written by third party developers. The software is primarily in the form of media servers that can provision user-defined libraries or the iTunes and iPhoto libraries to the DLNA Home Media Network. Programs that provision user-defined libraries can be pointed to iTunes and iPhoto libraries once you know where these programs store their files.

DLNA software for the Apple Macintosh platform

TwonkyMedia are supplying a version of the TwonkyMedia Server to MacOS X, which can work from any user-defined folders. This program is available through www.twonkymedia.com .They are intending to port the TwonkyMedia Manager to the Apple Macintosh platform in the near future.

Allegrosoft have had Allegro Media Server for a while and this works directly with the iTunes Music Library. This program is available from www.allegrosoft.com/ams.html .

Elgato EyeConnect is available at any Apple Macintosh dealer who sells Elgato EyeTV TV tuner cards and is tightly integrated with the Apple iLife system. This means that it can share the folders used by iTunes, iPhoto and other Apple software over the DLNA Home Media Network in a more polished manner.

NullRiver Connect360 and MediaLink. These shareware products are pitched at integrating iTunes and iPhoto with the XBox360 and PlayStation 3 games consoles, but can provision content to DLNA Home Media Network devices. Infact, some friends that I know are using the NullRiver MediaLink to bring their online video collection which is held on their Apple Macintosh to a PS3 to view on their flatscreen TV in the main lounge area of their home. They are available through www.nullriver.com .

Songbook Mac is another iTunes UPnP AV / DLNA server, but this program also is one of the first UPnP AV Control Point programs available for the Macintosh. It is mainly targeted at people who run any of Linn’s network media players on their network, but can be run on with any UPnP AV MediaRenderer device. It is available at http://www.bookshelfapps.com/songbookmac.php ,

Yazsoft Playback is another program that is highly integrated to the Macintosh platform and can handle all of the high-definition video that a lot of Mac users will be dealing with. It can also work with user-nominated folders and is available at www.yazsoft.com.

Use of third-party NAS devices

If you use a third-party (non-Apple) network-attached storage device like the Netgear ReadyNAS, the QNAP units or the Buffalo TeraStations, you can use these devices as a UPnP / DLNA media server. They will also offer iTunes music server functionality as well as Time-Machine backup.

DLNA Media Controller Software for the iPhone

Most of you who own an Apple Macintosh will own or are wanting to own an Apple iPhone or iPod Touch by now and these devices can work as Media Controllers for Media-Renderer Devices that accept “pushed” content. They are the iMediaSuite (iTunes direct) and iNetFrame (iTunes direct) (blog mention) by CyberGarage, PlugPlayer (iTunes direct) (blog mention) and Songbook Touch (iTunes direct), which are all available through the iTunes App Store.

Conclusion

Staying loyal to the Apple platform doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on the abilities that the DLNA Home Media Network offers, especially now that more and more consumer-electronics manufacturers are making DLNA-compliant networked media equipment available at all price points and markets.

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