At the last event, Apple was touting a new feature called AirPlay that lets iDevice users stream media contents (from iTunes) to a wide range of household devices including compliant speakers, AV receivers, stereo systems and Apple TV to feed in to your home TV. The idea seems to be simple if you live in Apple universe but reading further in the home multimedia technology, you might discover a similar technology has been in the work and is gaining momentum, the technology called DLNA.
DLNA is short for Digital Living Network Alliance, and defines a standard for moving movies, photos, music and other media from device to device. DLNA servers can store media in one location, and, without any setup or configuration, can stream wirelessly the media to DLNA compliant players, like the PS3 and Xbox 360, Sony TV, Samsung TV,..
Take a look at the DNLA application used by TwonkyMedia.
As of May 2010, more than 8,000 different devices had obtained "DLNA Certified" status, indicated by a logo on their packaging and confirming their interoperability with other devices. There are 26 promoter members and a much larger list of contributor members. The promoter members are:Access, AT&T Labs, Inc., Awox, Broadcom, Cisco Systems, Comcast, DIRECTV, Dolby Laboratories, Ericsson, Hewlett-Packard, Huawei, Intel, LG Electronics, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia Panasonic, Pioneer, Qualcomm, Rovi Corporation, Samsung Electronics, Sharp Corporation, Sony Electronics, Technicolor, Toshiba, and Verizon.
The big draw behind DLNA is to throw away major configuration, and create a simplistic way for consumers to get media from one device to another. Two main categories are:
- Digital Media Server (DMS): These devices store content and make it available to networked digital media players (DMP) and digital media renderers (DMR). Some digital media servers can also help protect your content once stored. Examples include PCs and network attached storage (NAS) devices and new Mobile Phone, such the upcoming LG Optimus 7 running Windows Phone 7 that can share its media to a DLNA compliant TV set with few just clicks.
- Digital Media Player (DMP): These devices 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.
Will the 2 technologies will collide on their course? I think they will, but unfortunately (or fortunately) once again, consumers will be put to the test to pick and choose between standards the same way they were exposed to make choice between competing standard: VHS vs Betamax,; Blu-Ray vs HD DVD, Mac vs Windows,…At the end one might win over the other and some might co-exist for ever…