I'd say the problem is probably with Windows media center. I really dislike the difficulty that windows requires you to deal with.
Some number of years back, I couldn't get my PS3 to play stuff from my PC so I downloaded a free program called PS3 media server. They have since made it DLNA compliant. As a result, my reciever, my smart devices, my PS3 and my phone can all play stuff off of my Windows 7 computer. I really wanted media center to work. In the end, I chose the path of much less resistance. Oddly, the only devices that don't really work are all Apple devices and my son's new windows tablet... Sigh.
I've got a WD TV Live box (similar to a Roku, but it supports DLNA) connected up to the living room home entertainment center. I've successfully streamed media from a home PC to the TV Live box just using Windows Media Player. I didn't have to do any weird stuff to set it up, the only trick was to enable streaming, which was right in the menu on Media Player. And it did "just work". Except, unfortunately, for DRM-protected content.
One of the reasons I liked my Playstation 3 was that it supported DLNA back in 2007 when we bought it. When I switched my HD TV to get input from the PS3, I had access to the Video, still pictures and Audio in the directories on my PC. Then, when I added a SAN box a few years later to help with PC backup, I made sure it also supported DLNA. I have a fair amount of money tied up in my home LAN and the devices that connect to it and I include interoperability as a checklist item when I'm looking for a product to bring into my home. Yes, I am more tech savvy than most consumers, but if you invest in these products, it is reasonable to expect you to check up on this prior to purchase.
Unfortunately our PS3 was stolen when our house was robbed this past Fall. Since my kids have moved out, I decided we would replace the PS3 with a Blu-Ray player and I made sure the one we purchased supported DLNA. I have no problem playing video from my PC on the Blu-Ray player, but I kind of miss the PS3. I have also installed new HD security cameras that allow me to check on things while I'm not at home. The security DVR may not be compatible with DLNA though. Interestingly, by using a $29 Chromecast I got on sale at Best Buy, I can watch the security cameras on my HD TV - over WiFi. How could this all possibly work without the use of a littany of standards? Ethernet, Cat5 cable, Router, switches, WiFi etc. I'm a big proponent of standards and I try to avoid proprietary when possible.
Imagine buying a car from a car designer/enthusiast. "I'll sell you a car with better performance, handling, mileage, than any other car on the market!" "I'll buy it"
"Okay, here's your car." Then he procedes to show you a kit car, full of various parts, a car frame, an engine, and a large tool kit. "Have at it!" Then when you complain, he grumbles about how non-technical newbies shouldn't even be allowed to drive.
That's how I see DLNA. Apple understands that the technical part isn't the hard part. The hard part is the user interface. Most of DLNA's efforts should be working toward a seemless unified user experience. I haven't tried DLNA recently, but I didn't see much mentioned about the user interface in this article, when it really should be the most important part of the standard.
Yeah, I tried the PC as a settop box, but it kept falling off the flat panel on the wall. :)
Seriously, the PC sits across the room, 20 feet away. Sure I could go get a 30 foot DVI or VGA cable and trip over the cable in and out of the room, but why should I? They are both on a wireless network and it just doesn't pass the red-face test that they can't interoperate.
No, they haven't solved the problem. It requires you to use apps from Google, it is limited to streaming, and is all about DRM. And they are clear to point out to you that it won't work for everything. Just get a Warpia wireless HDMI, and completely sidestep Google's sad attempt at a walled garden.
But again: the HW and SW stack are already there on both the Smart TV and the PC. Why does anyone need yet more hardware, and DRM headaches when both devices are already fully capable?
For $1,700 there's no reason my Smart TV isn't a wireless monitor too.
I can't get either of my Panasonic or Samsung smart TVs to display from Windows Media Center on either of my HP or Gateway PCs.
Some Guy, I would ignore the "smarts" of supposedly "smart" TVs, and instead use a PC as a TV set-top box. Connected TVs and connected BluRay players are incomprehensibly limited. Imagine any Internet-connected device that is only capable of browsing a handful of web sites. Unbelievable.
This is what I call, at the very least, the "appearance of collusion," if not unabashedly intended collusion. This appears to be an attempt by CE companies to keep cable and satellite companies happy, by keeping these CE appliances still totally dependent on cable channels for TV content. Or at most, allowing the user only to browse a tiny number of by-subscription web sites.
I'm a pretty tech savvy guy, and I can't get either of my Panasonic or Samsung smart TVs to display from Windows Media Center on either of my HP or Gateway PCs. They are all on WiFi, so why not? I can actually see that both TVs can actually see the Gateway on the LAN, but there is no path to getting it to actually stream content. I'd settle for just a remote display. Even UNIX machines in the 70's could redirect displays. It's not hard to do, just made hard by the players ... on purpose.
OEMs seem to really only care to be able to SAY they have it, so it doesn't become a checkoff that loses them a sale. In the mean time they are just trying to keep out their competitors and gain advantage by making it only work with their product lines, and no one elses. As long as that is their approach, they have already ceeded the market to proprietary vertical solutions (e.g., Apple, Chromecast). Recall that it was only after Fax machines stopped trying to sell you both machines at either end of the phone line and adopted interoperability as a market strategy that they won. Not only won, but exploded the total available market and won hugely. Time to do a full-court press on interoperability and get to a USB-like Plug-n-Play level -- Hardware, Software and Ecosystem.
Finally, until a week ago, I hadn't even heard of DLNA. The fact that DLNA hasn't even established AWARENESS in the consumer space, is telling. That's step one in marketing.
After 11 years? That definitely qualifies for Epic Fail.
@Larry, you raise a good point. Obviously, there is a lot of posturing going on on the part of cable operators in the U.S.
Still, the interoperability isn't just about physical connectivity. It's also about where the content resides (i.e. who is selling it to you) and what DRM it comes with. There are a lot of combinations of devices people connecting; but also there are a lot more scenarios in terms of which content is coming from where.