Category: UPnP AV / DLNA media server software

Plex moves towards PVR functionality

Article

Thecus N5810PRO Small Business NAS press photo courtesy of Thecus

Plex gets closer to turning a NAS in to a PVR once coupled with a HDHomeRun broadcast-LAN device

IFA 2016: Plex live TV recording comes to Australia | Sydney Morning Herald

From the horse’s mouth

Plex

Product Page

My Comments

Previously I had covered the idea of a NAS being a PVR that records your favourite TV shows. This is whether it works alongside a dedicated USB or broadcast-LAN tuner device or a fully-fledged set-top device.

Recently, Plex was pushed as a “polished” media server for computers or NAS devices. This meant that it could show supplementary information about the movies or music you have on your PC-based media server or NAS if you used client-side apps on your TV or video peripheral.

But this software’s functionality has been extended to include PVR where it can record TV shows off the air and on to your media server or NAS. At the moment, it only works with the HDHomeRun broadcast-LAN TV tuners as its signal source and uses Gracenote as its source for the electronic programme guide. This means that the functionality is offered as part of the PlexPASS subscription program.

It seems to me that this feature could be destined for the servers that run the desktop operating systems but a good question to raise is if the DVR functionality will come about for NAS units because these would appeal more to those of us who run them as a media server. But personally, I would prefer that all of the platforms that Plex Media Server is written for have the upgrade for DVR recording.

To the same extent, it could also be about using a NAS as a “gateway” for a broadcast-LAN device when it comes to viewing live TV content on a tablet, laptop or similar computing device.

At least it is a different approach towards using a NAS and a broadcast-LAN device to perform PVR duties using your home network.

Send to Kindle

DLNA 4.0 to support server-based media transcoding

Article – From the horse’s mouth

DLNA

Synology DiskStation DS415play NAS with media transcoding - Press image courtesy of Synology

Synology DiskStation DS415play – demonstrating the value of transcoding content to provide to DLNA devices

Press Release

My Comments

An issue that can easily beset DLNA / UPnP-AV content-delivery setups is the fact that digital-image, audio and video content can be delivered in newer file formats and that it could be packaged for high-quality setups. A case to point could be 4K UHDTV video content which would work with the newer 4K UHDTV sets; or you could have audio content packaged in the FLAC lossless-compression file formats rather than MP3 or WMA file formats.

But the problem that exists is that you will likely to have older or cheaper equipment that can’t handle the higher-quality content types. Some devices that can handle the higher-quality content type may not be able to handle it in the file format it is delivered in unless the device’s firmware was updated to take the newer filetypes. Typically, this may ruin the experience because the device will typically throw up a confusing error message or show nothing.

A few UPnP-AV / DLNA Media servers do support some form of filetype or content transcoding with some Synology NAS units implementing this functionality at the hardware level. But there isn’t the ability to be sure that the NAS, broadcast-LAN tuner or similar device provides this kind of transcoding. The new DLNA 4.0 specification mandates that compliant server devices have to transcode the content that they serve if the client device can’t handle it directly.

The questions worth raising about this required function is whether this applies to filetype transcoding only or if it also includes functionality like downscaling a 4K video to Full HD for existing HDTVs for example. It shouldn’t also be about whether the transcoding takes place in the background for stored or downloaded media or only in a real-time fashion whenever legacy equipment wants the resource, something that would work with broadcast-LAN applications.

As far as NAS and DLNA media-server software design goes, one differentiating point that will exist would be the ability for the hardware and software to implement hardware-based transcoding. This is where a separate processor and RAM, like a GPU setup, is provided to transcode video content rather than the device’s main processor and RAM being used for the task. It is similar to what would happen if you use a computer equipped with a discrete video card or chipset to transcode some video content and this permits the main processor in the NAS to continue serving the files without having to transcode them at the same time. At the moment, the Synology DS416play, the successor to the DS415play which was the first NAS to offer this feature, is the only one that implements hardware transcoding.

Personally, I would like to see these devices offer transcoding for QuickTime and Motion JPEG video as used by some digital still cameras, and FLAC and ALAC lossless audio which is now valued as a high-quality audio format for “ripping” CDs or buying download-to-own music. This is because these formats are not universally handled in the DLNA network media sphere.

Other functions that are part of this version include catering to IPv6 networks which is fast becoming the way to go, inherent support for 4K and HDR video content, the requirement for a DLNA MediaServer to expose HD variants of more video filetypes and the VIDIPATH functionality being baked in to the standard which would be important especially for Pay-TV applications.

Send to Kindle

Feature Article–DLNA Media Network Series: Getting Started With DLNA Media Sharing

Updated: 13 October 2013

Pure Sensia 200D Connect Internet radioMost of us will end up with a large collection of picture, music or video files on our computers, especially if we use our computers as a large media library. It would be nice to have access to this content without having to copy it out to thumbdrives, SD cards or iPods before we can enjoy it.

As for music, this is more so as we buy music as digital-download files rather than buy physical media and copy it to our conputer’s hard disk. It will also become a trend if we visit video sites that offer video content on a download-to-own basis.

The instructions in this article are more focused with a person who is pressing a regular desktop or laptop computer running Windows, MacOS X or Linux as a media server and may be the way to go when you start out with DLNA especially if you are using a desktop comptuer.

Why share your music, pictures and video the DLNA way?

Sony BDP-S390 Blu-Ray Disc Player

Sony BDP-S390 Network Blu-Ray Player – a Blu-Ray player that adds DLNA to an existing TV

An increasing number of dedicated network media client devices are on the market and nearly all of these devices work according to the UPnP AV / DLNA media-client standards.  Most manufacturers who are selling premium table radios are supplying at least one which can pick up Internet radio broadcasts through a home network and these sets are also capable of picking up media made available to them from a UPnP AV media server. We are also seeing an increasing number of wireless speakers that connect to your home network and receive music via Apple’s proprietary Airplay system or the common DLNA system. These units can be controlled by mobile devices equipped with controller apps.

Similarly, DLNA is becoming an important feature for any well-bred “smart TV” or similar video peripheral like a Blu-Ray player or home-theatre system that is connected to the Internet. The ubiquitous Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3 games consoles that every teenage boy dreams of having both work according to these standards and this feature is becoming a requirement for up-and-coming TV-connected games consoles.

By using a DLNA-based setup, you don’t need to install different media-server programs for each network-media client that you happen to buy. In some situations, you may only need to run whatever is supplied with the computer’s operating system.

Setting up your network for DLNA media

Basic DLNA Media Network

Basic DLNA Media Network

Most home, small-business and some branch-office networks don’t require any revision because they typically are one logical network that spans the premises with the router that exists at the network-Internet “edge” being the device that handles basic network housekeeping. This doesn’t matter whether the network has one or more media segments like WiFi wireless, Cat5 Ethernet or HomePlug powerline cabling.

You will need to know the ESSID and the WEP or WPA security key for your wireless network. This may be obtained through the router’s Web administration page or through your client PC’s wireless-network-setup parameters such as in Windows Connect Now. If you are connecting your DLNA media client to the network via wireless, you will need to make sure that the wireless access point or router is broadcasting the ESSID so you can pick it from a list using the device’s user interface and be sure you are “in reach” of the network. This practice would be important when you run a multi-access-point wireless network or simply to help with making sure that neighbouring wireless networks are set up properly. As well, you will need to be ready to enter the WEP or WPA security passphrase by “picking out” characters from a list using buttons on the device or its remote control.

Some networks such as the public-access networks provided by cafes and the like, including the headline “Wi-Fi Internet” that resort apartment developments provide won’t work well with DLNA. This is due to implementation of a Web-based login system as well as client isolation which doesn’t work with most DLNA-capable devices.

Setting up your PC jukebox or media server software for DLNA

Settings for ripping CDs in Windows Media Player

Settings for ripping CDs in Windows Media Player

If you are running any Microsoft Windows version since Windows XP, you can use Windows Media Player 11 or newer versions as your media server. Before you start “ripping” CDs to the hard disk, make sure the program is set to rip without DRM (Copy Protect Music checkbox in the Rip Music options tab is cleared) and that it is set to rip CDs at 192kbps WMA or 320kbps MP3. The reason I would rip at these settings is to be assured of sound reproduction that is as close to the CD album as possible. You may use the MP3 codec for maximum compatibility or WMA for efficient storage if your DLNA media clients can handle WMA.

As well, you will have to set Windows Media Player 11 to automatically permit devices to benefit from its media library. This is done by going to “Library”, then selecting “Media Sharing” and clicking on “Settings”. The “Media Sharing – Default Settings” dialog box will open whereupon you make sure that the “Allow new devices and computers automatically” checkbox is selected.

If you don’t use any sort of ratings in your media as far as sharing is concerned, you may have to select “All ratings” in both the “Star Ratings” and “Parental Ratings” options. This will make sure all media is available for all of the devices.

Windows Media Player Sharing settings for DLNA

Windows Media Player Sharing settings for DLNA

For your pictures and videos, you will have to add the folder that contains your photos to Windows Media Player’s media library. Similarly, you will have to do this for your video folders.

Linux users have access to a large plethora of media-server software such as TwonkyMedia and TVersity as well as a large collection of open-source media-server software. You will still have to use a CD jukebox program set up to rip CDs at 320kbps MP3.

Apple and Windows users who use iTunes as their CD jukebox but will need to use either TwonkyMedia, PS3 Media Server or NullRiver MediaLink. They will need to make sure that the iTunes directory is the one to be provided by the media server. Again, iTunes will need to be set up to rip at 320kbps MP3 for best compatibility and quality. The program may support transcoding to lower bandwidth settings for use whenever music is being transferred out to an iPod.

Infact, I have written up some more detailed information about setting up an Apple Macintosh computer to work as part of a DLNA-based home media network because of the increasing popularity of these computers. The article, “UPnP AV (DLNA) for the Apple Macintosh platform”, covers other media server programs that exist for that platform.

The media server would need to be set up to work with the folders that are being used as the primary folders for music, photo and video storage.  I have explained how to go about this for your music, especially if you use iTunes or Windows Media Player. For your photos and videos, you simply add the folders used by your photo management and video management software to store your images.

As well, if you, a friend or associate uses SkyDrive, Dropbox or similar cloud-based storage services to share a media collection, you may need to copy the media that you received through the sharing to your media library to share them via DLNA. Similarly, images shared through the Social Web may need to be downloaded from the service to your media folder.

The DLNA media-server programs typically index music files according to artist, album, track, genre, and some may support separate identification of composers, contributing artists (important for soundtracks and compilation albums) and other metadata for pictures and videos. Some, like TwonkyMedia, allow for alphabetical clustering and other efficient sorting arrangements. This is typically because UPnP AV / DLNA allows for the server to determine how it presents the library to the client devices.

As far as playlists are concerned, they will typically be listed in a “Playlists” collection with each playlist being its own collection in that tree. By having a playlist as a collection of tracks rather than a reference to a playlist file, it means that the media clients don’t have to be compatible with the playlist file format that the jukebox program works with.

Some of the media servers like Windows Media Player 11 or TwonkyMedia support transcoding to common file formats for situations where a DLNA media client cannot handle a particular media type. This can come in handy for file types like WMA or high-definition audio files which aren’t handled by all UPnP AV media players.

Setting up the DLNA clients

Enrolling the DLNA clients in to your network

You will need to make your DLNA media client become part of the network. This can be a simple task of plugging it in to your Ethernet network segment or into your HomePlug powerline network segment using a HomePlug-Ethernet bridge.

Integrating wireless-enabled DLNA clients to the wireless network

If you are connecting your wireless-enabled DLNA media client to the WiFi network, you will need to configure it for this network. This will require you to enter the device’s setup menu and select the option pertaining to wireless network setup. Then you get the device to search for your network’s ESSID which is commonly referred to as the SSID, Network Name or something similar. Once your device has detected your wireless network, you will be prompted to enter the WEP or WPA security passphrase. At this point, enter the passphrase in to the device. These procedures will have to be done as mentioned in the “Setting up your network for DLNA media” section.

Nearly all of the recent DLNA network media clients may use a “quick set-up” method like Windows Connect Now or WPS. This will typically involve either transferring a USB memory key between a Windows XP or Vista wireless-equipped notebook computer and the device; or registering the device with the wireless router. This procedure may be as simple as pressing a “register” or WPS button on the router and the device or copying the device’s PIN number (which would be on the device itself or in a WPS setup option in the device’s setup menu) in to the wireless router’s setup menu.

If you use MAC-address filtering on your wireless router, you will need to register the DLNA media device as an “accepted” network device. This will require you to copy the device’s wireless MAC address, which will be on a sticker attached to the device itself, in to the router’s trusted MAC-address list.

Making sure the DLNA clients detect the media server

DLNA media directory provided by server PC

DLNA media directory shown on TV screen as provided by PC

You will need to make sure that the media server program is running on the PC that has the media that you are sharing. Most such programs may run a media server component as a background task while the computer is fully on but some may require the jukebox program to be running all the time. Similarly, you may bave to stop your computer going to sleep or hibernate mode under automatic control for this to work properly.

Another thing to check is the desktop firewall software. This should be set to allow the media server software outbound and inbound access to the network as a server. The Windows Firewall software that is part of all Microsoft desktop operating systems since Windows XP Service Pack 2 makes this easy by allowing immediate access to Windows Media Player or asking you if you want to allow the application to have network access. Other third-party firewalls may require the server application to be allowed Internet access by you adding the software to their application “white lists”.

DLNA collections listed as sources on the TV

DLNA content collections listed as sources on a Samsung Smart TV

You may have to select “Network Music”, “PC Music” or something similar on most network-enabled music devices like Internet radios in order to gain access to the music library that you have made available.  Then you select the “hostname” of the PC, which may be commensurate to its standard computer name or its primary owner’s name. The DLNA client will then show the media type that it can work with. You then select that type and use the controls to select the media you are interested in.  Some devices like the recent crop of Samsung Smart TVs list each DLNA server on the home network they are connected to either as a source alongside the integrated TV tuner or external connections on that device.

Summary

Once you have your network and media-server computer set up properly, you can work with providing music and other media to network media receiver devices without much hassle.

Send to Kindle

Sidekick app streams Google Play music to DLNA media devices

Article

Stream Google Play Music Songs To Any UPnP Or DLNA-Compatible Receiver | Lifehacker Australia

Cast To UPnP/DLNA for GMusic

Download link from Google Play Store 

Demonstration Music in video

Song: Earth Wind & Fire – Can’t Hide Love

Album: Earth Wind & Fire – Greatest Hits

My Comments

If you are buying music through the Google Play Store and want to get it out through some decent speakers, you don’t need to use Google’s Chromecast dongle and an HDMI-equipped TV. Rather, as regular readers will know, DLNA-compliant playback equipment in the from of stereos, home-theatre systems, wireless speakers and the like are more commonly available than the Google Chromecast HDMI dongle.

Instead the “Cast To UPnP/DLNA for GPlay” app adds the list of UPnP AV/DLNA media-renderer devices to the list of playback clients available for playing out your Google Play Store music. This can be a boon with home-theatre setups where you specifically don’t want the attached TV screen to light up every time you want music to play.

It is available as a time-limited free program but drop $2 within the program to guarantee it full functionality.

Send to Kindle

PROMISE Technology’s contribution to the DLNA Home Media Network

News Article

PROMISE Technology Announces General Availability of SmartStor Zero and Its Fusion Stream DLNA Digital Media Apps | DMN NewsWire

From the horse’s mouth

SmartStor Fusion Stream

My comments and notes

SmartStor Fusion Stream app

The SmartStor Fusion Stream app is another program that integrates a smartphone or tablet computer based on the iOS or Android platforms in to a standards-based DLNA Home Media Network.

It is capable of what is nowadays expected for a smartphone-based DLNA network media app. That is it can play or show media held anywhere in the DLNA Home Media Network on the device itself or a DLNA Media Renderer device capable of accepting media that is “pushed” to it from a control device.

Another key feature is that it integrates the local storage with the DLNA Home Media Network. Here, you can upload pictures or videos taken with the device’s camera to a DLNA-compliant media server that supports the upload function. It can also download media held in the DLNA Home Media Network to the device’s local storage so it can be enjoyed “on the go”.

The ability to download content held on a DLNA Media Server to the local storage of an iOS or Android device with this software could be handy especially for iOS users who want to add selected pictures to their device without having to perform special sync routines. This is because iTunes doesn’t seem to support “drag-n-drop” syncing of pictures that a user selects to an iOS device – a feature that can come in handy if an iPod Touch or iPad is put in to service as an electronic photo album or digital photo frame.

A main question that I would have at the moment would be whether pictures and videos that come in to a smartphone that runs this software can be shown via a DLNA screen or uploaded to a DLNA Media Server if they came in via email, MMS picture or Bluetooth? Similarly, I would like to be sure that the program doesn’t impair the performance of the smartphone or device; or doesn’t take too long to browse the a DLNA media collection on a server.

This program could raise the bar when it comes to DLNA interface programs for mobile phones and internet tablets.

SmartStor Zero

The SmartStor Zero is another two-bay network-attached storage device which is optimised to work as a media server. As well as serving media to DLNA equipment and iTunes clients, it can accept content that is uploaded from mobile devices that are equipped with DLNA-Upload software like most of the DLNA-integration software for the Android platform and the abovementioned Fusion Stream app for the iPhone.

This device’s Web-based user interface has the ability to become an access point for the media held on the NAS. But it supports the ability to allow one to directly upload selected pictures to Facebook whether to a new album or as extra images for an existing album.

Another bonus is that the Installation software doesn’t add any drivers or other components to allow a computer to gain access to the NAS. Instead, the software works with the host operating system’s network-storage capabilities to “find” the NAS and provide a mount point or mapped drive letter for the storage resources.

One feature that I would like the DLNA software to benefit from is to support the photo tags that are part of iPhoto or Windows Live Photo Gallery. This could even include the People Tags and Geotags that Windows Live Photo Gallery supports so as to allow one to search or browse for people in the photo library using the user interface provided by a DLNA-compliant media player or control point.

Send to Kindle

HTC Unveils a DLNA-based ‘Media Link’ for Handset TV Streaming | eHomeUpgrade

 

HTC Unveils a DLNA-based ‘Media Link’ for Handset TV Streaming | eHomeUpgrade

My comments

At the moment, Samsung has already delivered a DLNA media control point / server with their Android handsets in the form of AllShare. This would have meant that someone who had an HTC Desire or wanted to start a mobile service contract using an HTC Android handset would have had to visit Android Marketplace to add on TwonkyMedia Server and Andromote to add on DLNA media-sharing / media-control functionality to their handset.

But HTC is intending to supply a “Media Link” app with their newer Android handsets to integrate them in to the DLNA Home Media Network. At the moment, this app is standard with the upcoming Desire Z and HD handsets and is intended to be available for newer HTC Android handsets.

The main issue I have with this app is whether it is available as an in-place upgrade or add-on for existing HTC Android handsets or will these users need to look towards Andromote and TwonkyMedia Server?

From what I have gleaned about this program, it seems to be able to work with content held on the handset but I would like to know whether a person can use the handset to have content held on another DLNA media server like a NAS playing on the DLNA-enabled media player or be able to “pull-down” selected content held on the DLNA media server to the phone via the network.

It is still worth keeping an eye on the Android market for apps that may do the job better than whatever comes with the phone, especially if you are after more DLNA functionality.

Send to Kindle

Your UPnP AV / DLNA media player device is now a virtual soundcard courtesy of Jamcast

News article 

Stream Audio Outputted by Your PC to Any DLNA/UPnP Compliant Device via Jamcast | eHomeUpgrade

Direct Link

Jamcast’s Web site: http://www.sdstechnologies.com/

Support Forums: http://www.sdstechnologies.com/Forum/

My comments

This is what Jamcast can providePreviously, there have been some computer sound-reproduction setups which comprise a special “virtual-soundcard” program that is running on a computer and transmitting the data via a local-area network to a “network audio adaptor” connected to a sound system. The solutions, which came in the form of the Linksys WMB54G Wireless-G Music Bridge (Wi-Fi 802.11g solution) and the Devolo dLAN Audio Extender (HomePlug solution), capitalised on the idea of moving your computer’s sound to better speakers hooked up to a better amplifier that is part of your main music system. But these all required their own particular driver software for them to work properly.

Now Jamcast have come up with a UPnP AV / DLNA Media Server program that runs on the Windows platform which works in the same vein as these previous devices. But it has another trick up its sleeve beyond just being a regular media server. It can work with the UPnP AV / DLNA compatible media playback device as a “virtual soundcard” like these other devices that I had mentioned previously.

If you used a Windows XP box, you would have to set the device to work with a virtual “stereo mix” recording channel on a compliant soundcard so that all of the PC sound is handled by this software but a Windows Vista or 7 box can handle these setups better because of inherent support for an integrated “stereo mix” recording channel.

There may be some caveats with this kind of setup at the moment such as latency issues concerning game sounds or the ability to provide a discrete surround-sound feed to a surround-capable receiver. From what I hear of the discussion boards at Jamcast’s site, there were issues with “forcing” MP3 output to particular DLNA devices so that they pick up a recognised codec rather than FLAC. Another questions is whether you can have the virtual soundcard being fed wit the same audio stream as the computer’s local sound subsystem and if there is any latency issues with this setup.

Another idea that could be looked at as far as further development work goes would be to port the software over to the Apple Macintosh platform in order to open up that platform to more UPnP AV / DLNA server solutions.

This may yield further applications like use of audio content on a laptop via a sound system that is connected to a DLNA audio device to use with audio services that only work with PC-based software. A good idea for Jamcast to explore would be a “slimmed-down” version of this virtual-soundcard software that can be licensed out to other software developers to make use of DLNA devices as a “virtual sound card”. An example that could come in to its own are the party-hire jukeboxes like the SuperJuke that people hire for major birthday parties and similar events. Here, the music feed from these machines could be fed to DLNA-enabled endpoints on a home network as well as the machine’s local speakers.

What I am pleased about with this is that the UPnP AV / DLNA standards are being taken further to build more innovative hardware and software for the home or small-business network.

Send to Kindle

Smartphone Version of TwonkyMedia’s DLNA / UPnP Server Now Available | eHomeUpgrade

 Smartphone Version of TwonkyMedia’s DLNA / UPnP Server Now Available | eHomeUpgrade

Now the Android platform is moving closer to the DLNA Home Media Network. Other platforms like the Symbian S60 (Nokia N-Series) and the Apple iPhone have had software solutions that expose content held on their storage location to the DLNA Home Media Network, either as native software in the case of the Symbian S60 platform or as an “app” available through the platform’s usual software resources.

This implementation is very similar to TwonkyMedia Server in that it doesn’t have a “media controller” which could allow the user to “push” media to a “MediaRenderer” device like one of the Sony BRAVIA TVs.  It may come about if TwonkyMediia port the TwonkyMedia Manager program or a developer ports one of the iPhone DLNA controller apps to the Android platform.

It will be interesting to see who will come through with a media controller which will become more realistic with the Android smartphone and MID platform.

Send to Kindle

A UPnP AV / DLNA media gateway for the Apple MobileMe service

I have had a look around the iTunes App Store to find out if there are any more programs that bring the iPod Touch or iPhone to the DLNA Media Network in any capacity, and this program had peeked my interest.

It is the ceCloud iPhone app which brings photos held in the user’s MobileMe account to a  DLNA-capable electronic picture frame, TV or network media adaptor. The MobileMe service is a content-syncing service run by Apple as their platforms’ answer to the Microsoft Exchange, Windows Live SkyDrive and Mesh services. This app can be useful if you maintain the MobileMe service as a primary photo library or use it to just hold pictures captured using your iPhone’s camera or downloaded from your digital camera to your Macbook laptop; yet want to make them available to the DLNA-compliant equipment.

For the program to work, the iPhone will need to be connect to a WiFi network segment which is in the same logical network as your DLNA-compliant media playback device. It would also be a good idea to keep the iPhone or iPod Touch connected to AC power at all times while you run the program.

What had impressed me about this program is that there was the idea of building in a UPnP AV / DLNA media gateway in to a smartphone in order to connect to a “cloud” service that the smartphone’s platform can benefit from.

Web site: http://www.ceapps.com/cecloud/

iTunes App Store Direct

Send to Kindle

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.

Send to Kindle