Media is the cornerstone of every good home theatre setup. Over the years, you’ve probably amassed a collection of DVDs, movie files, photos and music. The next logical step is to start streaming media throughout your network and share it across your devices such as your HTPC or Smartphone. To do that, you’ll need to get a DLNA Media Server. There are a number of DLNA media servers available which will do this either free or economically.
However, with all the options out there, it can be a challenge to find the best DLNA server software that meets your needs. We’ve pulled together a handy list of our favorites.
What Is DLNA?
The Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) is the name of a non-profit organisation that controls the DLNA certification standard. The DLNA standard establishes how enables networked media devices to share data. This means that using DLNA-compliant devices means that you can easily share media. For example, you can stream music from your PC to your TV.
DLNA is often used interchangeably with Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) protocols. However, this is not accurate as DLNA enhanced the UPnP protocol with a focus on media.
So Why Do I Need DLNA Media Server Software?
So now that you know about DLNA, you’re probably wondering why you need DLNA media server software. Basically, DLNA media server software will allow you to share your media via the DLNA protocol.
This means that DLNA compliant devices such as TVs, game consoles and media players can readily play back your media over the network easily.
DLNA media servers often add additional functionality too, such as scraping metadata such as covers and transcoding your video files to ensure playback on a wider variety of devices.
DLNA Media Server Software
So interested in what DLNA media server software is out there? Luckily, we’ve pulled together a handy overview to help you pick the right DLNA server for you.
PlayOn is a DLNA media server and browser for your Windows PC . It is one of the few media servers that offers support for online media sources such as Netflix and Hulu.Check Out PlayOn
2. Universal Media Server (Windows/Mac/Linux)
Originally based on PS3 Media Server, Universal Media Server is a DLNA media server that has evolved into a project focusing on stability and file compatibility. Completely open-source, UMS offers a number of remarkable features such as a web interface and subtitle integration.Check Out Universal Media Server
3. Plex (Windows/Mac/Linux)
Plex is well-known in the HTPC circles for its cross-platform compatibility, wide range of supported devices and ease-of setup. Plex is actually based on our favorite frontend Kodi/XBMC but has added a number of additional features such as a separate client/server setup, transcoding and metadata processing.
Best of all, its free to share media on your local network, with Plex offering a paid Plex Pass to enable additional features such as cloud streaming and media syncing.Check Out Plex
4. Serviio (Windows/Mac/Linux)
Serviio is a Java-based DLNA media server. It allows you to stream your media files to DLNA-compliant devices on your home network. There is also a paid Pro edition which enables additional features.Check Out Serviio
5. PS3 Media Server (Windows/Mac/Linux)
Originally written for the PlayStation 3, PS3 Media Server has been expanded to support a range of other DLNA-compliant media devices such as TVs and smartphones.
We’ve listed 5 great DLNA media servers that are ideal for streaming media around your home. However, finding the best DLNA server software for your needs really depends on the functionality you’re after.
PlayOn offers an impressive set of features, even allowing you to stream premium content from the likes of Netflix around your house. However, those on a tight budget or who only have local features could opt for some of the other DLNA media servers listed.
Time to get streaming!
Have a favorite? Got a suggestion that I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments below!