DLNA stands for Digital Living Network Alliance and it’s a non-profit trade organization who’s primary goal is to help make it easier for consumer devices to share music, pictures, and videos between each other. About 26 companies are currently promoting DLNA. Back in the Windows XP days, Microsoft created Windows Media Connect, which had a similar function. These days the media sharing functions built into Windows Media Player and Windows 7 are fully DLNA compatible. Windows 7 adds an interesting twist to the media sharing capabilities of DLNA, by enabling internet-based sharing via a Windows Live ID (or similar provider). This removes the requirement of having your devices be connected to the same internal network in order for media sharing to work.
If you’re an Apple user, you may be familiar with the sharing capabilities between iTunes and other iOS devices. Unfortunately, that method is not compatible with any of the DLNA capable devices. However, there are 3rd party DLNA servers that you can install on Macintosh computers, and there are 3rd party DLNA client programs for the iPhone as well (such as plug player.) If you’re not happy with the DLNA server built into Windows, or if you’re using another operating system like Linux, it should be pretty easy to find alternative DLNA server software as well. The same is true with Android.
In the below video, I’ll show you how the “All Share” application works with Windows 7 DLNA media sharing on the Samsung Vibrant Galaxy S Android phone. Sometimes browsing large directory structures can be slow, and I’ve ran into a few other bugs with audio not playing or formats not being supported, but once you get it to work, it can be a very nice feature to have.