Sometimes, standards efforts get overtaken by events? I would say that Chromecast allows people to transfer content from your tablet screen to your TV screen, no? From a USB port on the tablet, wirelessly to an HDMI port on the TV.
Or, you can always connect a wired HDMI interface from PC to TV. Many PCs have HDMI interfaces these days. That autoconfigures too. Or, RGB analog. Many flat panel TVs support that too, these days.
I'm not so sure that it is that easy to determine the success of DLNA at this point. A lot of the Comcast acquisition of Time-Warner is driven by positioning for a world where cable TV is shrinking and ISP business is growing. If people get their TV from a proprietary cable box it tends to drive them into a vertical and proprietary technology stack, but if it comes from a network connection then things are more complicated and there are more opportunities to put together interesting combinations. This is where DLNA can still shine, if it can put together a combination that normal people can accept and use.
@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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Unless i'm missing something, all the problems mentioned in these posts are solved if one uses a real PC, preferably with Flash Player installed, *as* the STB. Not Roku, not Appletv, not an iPad nor an Android tablet, not anything that's been deliberately crippled.
I actually never use Windows Media Center, although I would if I needed the PVR function to be in my PC. And networking among in-home PCs is a piece of cake.
I'm not sure what could be easier than connecting a PC to a TV set, especially if you use HDMI. One cable, auto-configured, incorporates HDCP decryption for DRM protected material, it should be really simple.
Oh, I should add, you buy a Logitech wireless mouse and wireless keyboard, so the PC sits close to the TV but you don't have to. The keyboard is primarily used to set up bookmarks, and then just about everything can be done with the mouse.
Not sure how you're fixed up at home but we have one central server upstairs that feeds the other 6 computers, 3 TV, and 2 PS3's, and a couple of blue ray players. All the "media" is on the server. So if you want to serve your media to multiple places, you'd think windows media center would do it fine. It doesn't. YOu can sort of get Windows media player to serve up some stuff but it does a poor job and is inconvenient to configure. By running an "open source" DLNA server, all devices can be fed what they want to eat. We choose not to put PC's in our entertainment cabinet but if we did, then you could use simple shares, etc. as long as your media was on that PCBut with DLNA, any phone or computer can send media to the video reciever which feeds HDMI to our big screen. No PC is necessary here. DLNA is made to do this and to make everything interoperable. NIH prevents this...
Ah, the central server approach. I prefer the "federated" approach, although it may become more expensive (depending how extensive you make this in-home network). Perhaps that's why today's crop of "connected TVs" and other such, turn me off big time.
Instead of DLNA, I much prefer an IP stack, and at the *very* least a full-fledged web browser, in each Internet-connected appliance.
Here's an example of something that could be better than it is. I have a WiFi stereo tuner in my setup. Most of these so-called WiFi radios depend on a single content aggregation web site and have a limited choice of codecs. So although I enjoy it very much, and use it daily, the PC I've dedicated to the same system can decode ANY radio station out there, and the WiFi tuner cannot. Why? Because it doesn't support all of the codecs in use for Internet radio. It may well find the station, but no luck streaming.
Exactly the same thing happens with our tablet. Lots of stuff it won't do right, that the PCs have no trouble with at all. Never mind AppleTV, Roku, et al, which are incomprehensibly limited.
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.
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.
That's a great point, about the difference between DLNA and Apple. I had a demonstration of the differences between Apple and another wireless connectivity standard when I recently bought a new printer that supported Apple's AirPrint as well as Android's CloudPrint.
Here's the steps needed to sync an iPad to an AirPrint capable printer -
1. Turn on printer
2. Turn on iPad
Being a Windows/Android guy my whole life I was really shocked when my wife's iPad seemlessly synced and printed to our new printer.
Here are the steps need to sync an Anroid phone to a Cloudprint printer -
1. Turn on printer
2. Turn on phone
3. Access Google Play
4. Download and install CloudPrint app
5. Access CloudPrint app
6. Setup account
8. Setup printer
Being a tech-savvy guy setting up CloudPrint isn't that big a problem, until my mother-in-law needs her printer setup, and the neighbor has trouble, and my non-techie friends can't connect, etc. etc. I understand the critisicm of Apple, but guess who doesn't bother me when their new gizmo isn't connecting to their gigigadget, that's right my Apple friends, because Apple just works.
Sure, if a single company takes control over all peripherals, using proprietary standards, it can make things easy. They've created a walled garden, not much different from what the cable companies do with their proprietary STBs.
We have a WiFi printer, different brand from PCs of course, which requires you to install the printer drivers in the PCs. Nothing difficult about that, but it's easy to see why a walled garden approach would make it even "easier." As long as you're happy depending entirely on the one company. Which I'm not.
Apple understands that the technical part isn't the hard part. The hard part is the user interface.
I think you are absolutely right about this. But the thing is, from what I understand CE vendors' busines model, that UI is the ONLY thing they think they can differentiate their products from others. In other words, they would absolutely hate to be told by someone like DLNA what the UI should do and how the UI should look like.
Yes, the UI is where the focus should be, and CE vendors won't like being told what it should do or how it should look. Despite that, many consumers find these UIs sorely lacking in ease of use.
Interoperability is one thing. The number of steps or menu selections a user must make to do what he/she wants to do is another. DLNA makes interoperability possible, but the UI determines how easy or how complicated it will be to make it happen, and there is still more work to be done in this area.
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.
I don't have any issues being able to stream my audio/video content throughout my WinOS computer hardware and my A/V hardware, all over the house.
For example, when the America's Cup sailing events were going on at the San Francisco bay, I was able to capture/download the video footage of the actual races on my computer and save it to my external NAS HDDs. I could play the saved race footage (in *.mp4 and/or *.mkv formats) on my 24" PC monitor w/o any problems, using (for example) FREEware version of BSPlayer (http://www.bsplayer.com/). I also have the networked Patriot Box Office (PBO) media player/streamer (w/built-in 1TB HDD) connected to my downstairs A/V system and can push the footage from my PC (upstairs) thru the NetGear ACPL networking hardware to the PBO and then play it on my 46" Panasonic Plasma TV via my networked Integra (nee Onkyo) PreAmp HDMI connectivity. Alternatively, I can also select to play the same footage residing in the upstairs PC, using the MediaPlayer functionality of my DishNetwork Hopper DVR, that is fed thru the PAYware Conceiva/Mezzmo Media Server (http://www.conceiva.com/products/mezzmo/) transcoder application running in the PC. Or I can achieve similar results via the Mezzmo streamer using the PBO uPNP/DLNA functionality w/o relying on the PBO internal HDD. I can similarly accomplish the same playback feat using the XBMC (http://xbmc.org/) OpenSource Media Server. Additionally, my Panasonic PlasmaTV can connect thru the same ACPL networking to my U-verse modem and playback the YouTube video of the races and using the HDMI (V1.3b) BAC (back audio channel) feature all audio can be routed back thru the Integra PreAmp to my floor standing Vandersteen speakers powered by a 5 channel Rotel PowerAmp. Since I currently run Win8.1Pro with the Microsoft Windows Media Center, I have successfully achieved similar results using WMC, as well, I prefer not to use WMC that often.
We also have a Toshiba Laptop that can equally achieve similar playback results, via WiFi at 720p (but @1080p resolution, the WiFi gets a little choppy at times and not as consistent). We have a Brother Laser printer with WiFi and we have no issues printing to it, even using either an iPhone 4 or an iPhone 5s. We also have Vonage VoIP in the house and a Panasonic DECT6.0PLUS phone messaging system w/Bluetooth and the iPhones use this portion of the network in the house rather than the cellphone systems. Since the move to the new house about 3 months ago, I had to perform very minimal rework to re-establish all of this A/V networking all over again, even though I had to swap in a new AT&T U-verse modem.
DLNA works for me and I detest proprietary and closed systems, in the mindset of Apple and have a giant big axe to grind with running iTunes in WinOS but that is a story for another day. DLNA is the silent partner in my A/V crimes that have allowed me to bridge the gap between my PC hw/sw and my A/V hw! :)
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