Best DLNA Media Server Software for Streaming Media


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.

1. PlayOn (Windows)


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  • Allows easy integration of online media sources such as Netflex and Hulu
  • Supports local and online content


  • Only available on Windows

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)



  • Open-source
  • Cross-platform
  • Free


  • Uses Java

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)



  • Painless setup
  • Supports transcoding to devices
  • Metadata processed on server


  • Parts are closed-source
  • Mobile apps and Plex Pass are paid options

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)



  • Free option
  • Cross-platform
  • Supports local and online content


  • Uses Java

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)


  • Free
  • Cross-platform


  • Uses Java
  • No Longer Developed

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.

Check Out PS3 Media Server


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!

  • Gerald

    You left out Mezzmo, I would rate it as the best media server for its ease of use and features.

  • Paulchen

    What the Hell? Twonky is the Best

    • Smith

      I have had a ton of issues setting up Twonky.

      • That’s frustrating. Did you get it up and running? Thanks for sharing.

  • Jedi Jones

    How bout the original that started it all and still going strong? XBMC/KODi

    • Home Theatre Life

      I’m a massive XBMC/Kodi fan so I’ll add it. Thanks for the comment!

  • Muvoksi

    Why is it bad to use java?

    • Hi Muvoksi,

      Java is great for multi-platform programs but it is interpreted which means its slower and uses more resources. Additionally, Java tends to add exploits into your system which why there are so many regular patches for it.

      • xerxes

        Hey. That is very biased opinion, I think. Every windows and even mac OS
        X have exploits, and many of them is zero day exploits. But I have not
        heard from anyone call other softwares bad things, cause running them on
        windows or OSX. except only heard from you. you know windows, java and
        mac OS X have many patches, but these are good sign for users, not bad things.

        • Thanks for your comment. There’s no doubt that Windows and OSX have exploits but adding Java into the mix makes the attack surface greater as now you have all the OS exploits plus those in Java as additional vectors. It’s good that Java receives regular patches and it definitely has a place in computing. However, if I can avoid Java, I will.

    • xerxes

      Hey. That is very biased opinion, I think. Every windows and even mac OS X have exploits, and many of them is zero day exploits. But I have not heard from anyone call other softwares bad things, cause running them on windows or OSX. except only heard from you. you know windows, java and mac OS X have many patches, but these are good sign for users, not bad.

  • Mike Ousley

    Just use media player… mezzmo is a resource hog. and yes I love Twonky.. it just works and is pretty lightwieght. Don’t get me wrong.. I don’t like anything M$ puts out.. but when it comes with the os for no additional cost.. what the heck ;) Ah what the hell, just ftp the file and go old school ;)

  • Zomby Woof

    I tried several of those. I couldn’t get any to work properly. My folders would show up on the Smart TV but nothing showed up in any of them.

    • That’s odd. You may need to tell the DLNA server to refresh the media library.

      • Zomby Woof

        I was having trouble with my Nero MediaHome but it seems to be working again. So I thought I would try a different one. One after that other and none would show up the files in the folders. I used to have a Vista desktop and had installed Universal Media Server in it because Nero had quite well Universal Media Server worked quite well but not in mt Win 10 laptop.