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.


  • Allows easy integration of online media sources such as Netflix 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

2Universal 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

3Plex (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

4Serviio (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

5Emby Server (Windows/Mac/Linux/NAS)


  • Cross-platform
  • Comprehensive Featureset
  • Supports transcoding


  • Can be buggy
  • Some Features Require Paid Emby Premiere licence

Emby Server is a relatively new DLNA media server that’s rapidly growing in popularity. With an impressively comprehensive set of features including Live TV support, media management, and cloud sync, Emby seems to be able to do it all.

However, like Plex, some of these features are locked behind a paid Emby Premiere licence that may put off some.

Some users have complained about buggy releases though an active community is seeing this improving with each release.

Check Out Emby

6PS3 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.

    • Jason Woodson

      I have a paid version of mezzmo and I’m going through these list for a replacement. Mezzmo Sucks!

      • Hey Jason, what did you end up choosing?

        • Jason Woodson

          Emby is what I chose, it has some bugs but it has a huge community that is very active in making it better. You can run the server from Windows, Linux, Free BSD and I even believe Mac but who really cares about Mac. They have tonsof client capability for just about any format you can think but that is also its drawback has the try to do everything development and bug fixing can be trying and slow at times. SO its great software just needs a couple more years of fixes if your not willing to be a beta tester as even the the so called “Stable” version has issues.

          • yo

            try hms, home media server for windows – the best one and extremely powerful … wish to have same for linux :(

          • Jason Woodson

            nah, emby is the best and it getting better. the 3.1 released fixed quite a few major issues. Emby does have linux support

  • 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.

      • Tom Yassine Bourega

        You seem to be confusing Java for the crappy and now-dead Java web-plugins.

        Java isn’t interpreted, it’s pre-compiled, it’s extremely secure and pretty fast.
        In some cases, it actually out-performs C++ and other ‘native’ languages. Do you really think Android runs using an interpreted language?

        There’s regular patches for it because it is updated on a regular basis.

        This was a good article but man, the “uses java” comments made me cringe.

        • Hey Tom, thanks for the great feedback!

          I probably should have clarified that there’s a compilation step beforehand into Java bytecode then interpreted/compiled using Just-in-Time (JIT) compilation at runtime by the Java Virtual Machine. It’s not interpreted in the traditional sense.

          Performance has definitely improved too, though “native” languages generally seem to have the edge.

          I’ll admit I’ve probably been a little harsh on Java, though it does have its downsides.

    • 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.

  • Robert Melbourne

    Minimserver (audio only).