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Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA; originally named Digital Home Working Group, DHWG) was founded by a group of PC and consumer electronics companies in June 2003 (with Intel in the lead role) to develop and promote a set of interoperability guidelines for sharing digital media among multimedia devices under the auspices of a certification standard. DLNA certified devices include smartphones, tablets, PCs, TV sets and storage servers.
The group published its first set of guidelines in June 2004. The guidelines incorporate several existing public standards, including Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) for media management and device discovery and control, and widely used digital media formats and wired and wireless networking standards.
DLNA worked with cable, satellite, and telecom service providers to provide link protection on each end of the data transfer. The extra layer of digital rights management (DRM) security allows broadcast operators to communicate digital media to certain devices (e.g. to those of their customers) in such a manner that further, unauthorized, communication of the media is difficult. In March 2014, DLNA publicly released the VidiPath Guidelines, originally called "DLNA CVP-2 Guidelines." VidiPath enables consumers to view subscription TV content on a wide variety of devices including televisions, tablets, phones, Blu-ray players, set-top boxes (STBs), personal computers (PCs) and game consoles without any additional intermediate devices from the service provider.
By September 2014 over 25,000 device models had obtained "DLNA Certified" status, indicated by a logo on their packaging and confirming their interoperability with other devices. In June 2015 the organization claimed membership of "more than 200 companies".
On January 5, 2017, DLNA announced, "The organization has fulfilled its mission and will dissolve as a non-profit trade association." Its certification program continues to be conducted by SpireSpark International of Portland, Oregon.
Intel established the DLNA along with Sony and Microsoft in June 2003 as the Digital Home Working Group, changing its name 12 months later, when the first set of guidelines for DLNA was published. Home Networked Device Interoperability Guidelines v1.5 was published in March 2006 and expanded in October of the same year; the changes included the addition of two new product categories — printers, and mobile devices — as well as an "increase of DLNA Device Classes from two to twelve" and an increase in supported user scenarios related to the new product categories.
The DLNA Certified Device Classes are separated as follows:
Home network devices
- Digital Media Server (DMS): store content and make it available to networked digital media players (DMP) and digital media renderers (DMR). Examples include PCs and network-attached storage (NAS) devices.
- Digital Media Player (DMP): find content on digital media servers (DMS) and provide playback and rendering capabilities. Examples include TVs, stereos and home theaters, wireless monitors and game consoles.
- Digital Media Renderer (DMR): play content as instructed by a digital media controller (DMC), which will find content from a digital media server (DMS). Examples include TVs, audio/video receivers, video displays and remote speakers for music. It is possible for a single device (e.g. TV, A/V receiver, etc.) to function both as a DMR (receives "pushed" content from DMS) and DMP ("pulls" content from DMS).
- Digital Media Controller (DMC): find content on digital media servers (DMS) and instruct digital media renderers (DMR) to play the content. Content does not stream from or through the DMC. Examples include tablet computers, Wi-Fi enabled digital cameras and smartphones.
- Generally, digital media players (DMP) and digital media controllers (DMC) with print capability can print to DMPr. Examples include networked photo printers and networked all-in-one printers.
Mobile handheld devices
- Mobile Digital Media Server (M-DMS): store content and make it available to wired/wireless networked mobile digital media players (M-DMP), and digital media renderers. Examples include mobile phones and portable music players.
- Mobile Digital Media Player (M-DMP): find and play content on a digital media server (DMS) or mobile digital media server (M-DMS). Examples include mobile phones and mobile media tablets designed for viewing multimedia content.
- Mobile Digital Media Uploader (M-DMU): send (upload) content to a digital media server (DMS) or mobile digital media server (M-DMS). Examples include digital cameras and mobile phones.
- Mobile Digital Media Downloader (M-DMD): find and store (download) content from a digital media server (DMS) or mobile digital media server (M-DMS). Examples include portable music players and mobile phones.
- Mobile Digital Media Controller (M-DMC): find content on a digital media server (DMS) or mobile digital media server (M-DMS) and send it to digital media renderers (DMR). Examples include personal digital assistants (PDAs) and mobile phones.
Home infrastructure devices
- Mobile Network Connectivity Function (M-NCF): provide a bridge between mobile handheld device network connectivity and home network connectivity.
- Media Interoperability Unit (MIU): provide content transformation between required media formats for home network and mobile handheld devices.
DLNA guideline versions
- 1.0: released June 2004; 2 volumes: Architecture & Protocols, Media Formats; 2 Device Classes: DMP, DMS; About 50 media format profiles
- 1.5: released March 2006; 3 volumes: Architecture & Protocols, Media Formats, and Link Protection; 12 Devices Classes and 5 Device Capabilities; About 250 media format profiles
- 2.0: released August 2015; Includes topics like EPG, Content Sync, RUI, WPS, Media Formats, Scheduled recording, DRM
- 3.0: released August 2015; enhanced response time, improved power efficiency, HEVC support
- 4.0: released June 2016; solves the "media format not supported" problem between PCs, TVs and mobile devices while supporting Ultra HD TV content streaming
The board of directors oversaw the activity of the four following committees:
- Ecosystem Committee, planning the future development of DLNA guidelines
- Compliance & Test Committee, overseeing the certification program and its evolutions
- Marketing Communication Advisory Council, actively promoting DLNA worldwide
- Technical Committee, writing the DLNA guidelines
Products supporting DLNA
In 2014 over 25,000 DLNA-certified products were available, up from 9,000 in 2011. This includes TVs, DVD and Blu-ray players, games consoles, digital media players, photo frames, cameras, NAS devices, PCs, mobile handsets, and more. According to a 2013 study from Parks Associates, nearly 3 billion products were expected to be on the market in 2014, increasing to over 7 billion by 2018. DLNA certification of devices can be determined by a DLNA logo on the device, or by verifying certification through the DLNA Product Search.
Manufacturers can seek certification testing from a DLNA-Accredited Independent Certification Vendor.
DLNA technology components
As the past president of DLNA pointed out to the Register in March 2009:
The vendors of software are allowed to claim that their software is a DLNA Technology Component if the software has gone through certification testing on a device and the device has been granted DLNA Certification. DLNA Technology Components are not marketed to the consumer but only to industry.
DLNA Interoperability Guidelines allow manufacturers to participate in the growing marketplace of networked devices and are separated into the following sections of key technology components:
- Network and Connectivity
- Device and Service Discovery and Control
- Media Format and Transport Model
- Media Management, Distribution and Control
- Digital Rights Management and Content Protection
- Efficient Power Management
In 2005, DLNA began a software certification program in order to make it easier for consumers to share their digital media across a broader range of products. DLNA is certifying software that is sold directly to consumers through retailers, websites and mobile application stores. With DLNA certified software, consumers can upgrade products from within their home networks that may not be DLNA certified and bring them into their personal DLNA ecosystems. This helps in bringing content such as videos, photos and music stored on DLNA certified devices to a larger selection of consumer electronics, mobile and PC products.
- Consumer Electronics Control (CEC) – Allows audio/video equipment cooperate through HDMI connections
- Devices Profile for Web Services
- Digital Rights Management
- Digital Transmission Content Protection
- List of UPnP AV media servers and clients
- Comparison of UPnP AV media servers
- Universal Plug and Play § AV standards
- WiFi Direct
- Wireless HDMI
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