Video Streaming and Network Protocols

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Windows Filesharing
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Wide Area Network Protocols

The Failure of DLNA and the Success of NFS for video file sharing.

Why is DNLA such a failure?

I recently tried streaming some video to my samsung TV that has DNLA, but everything fails to play.


The PC has some software on it to stream.


I tried TVersity

I tried Playon

Windows 7 built in streaming

I have some mkv files that play fine on the PC and also some .m2ts files ripped from blu-ray that also play fine on the PC


But nothing but the basic Windows Media player crap will play.


It is not a failure it is just young, as with most new computer tech it is awful for awhile (for example USB, Bluetooth), give the technology awhile to mature. It usually takes manufactures a couple generations/years to get it right.

DLNA is a protocol but in the end it is up to the end device as to whether something will play or not. Are you sure your samsung TV will play ripped Blu- ray and mkv's? Does it say it will in the manual. Somhow I doubt it.


Think of DLNA as file sharing with some extra meta data. If you can't play the file directly on the device it won't play over DLNA either. Some DNLA servers can transcode the file into a format the client can play, but you need a CPU fast enough to transcode in real time and you need to know what formats your client supports. Many client devices do not support .mkv.

DLNA is a failure for two reasons:


1. It's overly complex

2. Device manufacturers only implement basic capabilities for cost reasons which is justified if you look at how much customers care for cost and how little for quality.


I would say the better statement is that it is not mainstream. That has to do with the fact that there is not enough of a demand for the common person outside of avsforum, etc. As for complexity, anytime you are dealing with networking, it is very difficult to "standardize" any protocol when there are so many manufacturers of hardware available (unless you monopolize the hardware and software like Apple, then people will complain that it is too locked down).


I use DLNA devices all the time, so i don't see why it is considered a failure.


Like I stated above, in the OP's example and premise, it has nothing to do with DLNA, but everything to do with the media player hardware. I don't think the OP really understand the concept of DLNA. It's like not being able to connect to starbucks wifi on your 802.11n laptop and blaming it on the whole 802.11n protocol when starbucks doesn't even have 802.11n wireless routers/ access point.


Well, there are things that are broken in the DLNA protocol.


The killer for me, personally, is that you can't really remote control it because the Renderer/Controller interface is not powerful enough.


All "cool devices" that really work don't do this through DLNA. A good example is Sonos who use DLNA (ok, they use UPnP, which is a subset) but the actual control is done through their own control protocol.


As long as this is not fixed and the fix is not implemented it will never be reall successful for music devices.


Video is a different animal, which shows issue #2: It doesn't really respect the fact that use cases for video and audio are very different but tries to be a general media access protocol. Which may be fine from a technical standpoint but is too far removed from the actual use cases to make for good products.

ok, I acknowledge these limitations that you bring up. however, i just don't think this is what OP had in mind when he stated that DLNA is broken.

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I also think DLNA is a (qualified) failure. The standard fails to specify minimum requirements as to what media types a device MUST play in order to be certified. In its attempt to not offend any manufacturer, it ends up being without teeth. Were it to enforce that as a minimum it has to support, say mp4 container with H.264 encoded video and AAC audio (including details as to what video profile and what bitrate are required), it would have the ability to influence convergence of both protocols and video formats. As it is, its usefulness is fairly limited. It doesn't really guarantee anything, hence there's no reason for end users to really care about it and the cycle continues.