DLNA - Connecting You to Your Media
DLNA is more than just a product or collection of products. It started out as an idea based on freedom and communication, but evolved into so much more. When you hear about Connected or Smart Devices, chances are they include DLNA as well.
You might be wondering what DLNA is. Digital Living Network Alliance in long form, but that isn't really descriptive. DLNA is a certification that as of January 2011 includes more than 9,000 products. There are many uses for DLNA, but my favorite is sharing content from a central location to every computer, TV and A/V receiver in the house. DLNA covers more than just movies, though; music and photos are also covered under the umbrella.
You need a couple of different devices to make DLNA work, but the chances are you already own a few. The first is the playback device like your computer, many newer cell phones and all specifically designed playback devices like the A.C. Ryan Play!ON HD2.
My main player is the A.C.Ryan PlayON HD2 and it can play just about everything including Blu-ray ISO files from a digital storage device. When we get a new DVD or Blu-ray disc it is first ripped to our NAS server so it can be played back from digital media anywhere in the home and not just from a fragile plastic dis . The PlayON HD2 costs just under 200 Dollars when purchased with a 1TB HDD. If you already have a storage device like a NAS server, the PlayON HD Mini 2 offers the same functions, but doesn't include its own storage and must play back from another device.
The other half of the DLNA puzzle is a device that holds your data. An older computer will work, but so will a new computer. The problem with using a full computer is that they are not designed to be dedicated storage devices so they are not optimized for low power, easy setup and too complicated for many users to setup. NAS servers on the other hand have taken DLNA to a new level. Most ship with the settings already configured and make data distribution very easy.
QNAP's new TurboNAS TS-419P II is a very good NAS that impressed us in 2011. The TS-419P II sells for less than 500 Dollars and can be used to store all of your content. Several devices can store data, though, the trick is to make that data available and the QNAP software allows you to access your data from anywhere, even from the internet.
The Wrap Up
Today we've given you a handful of ideas to get started on your holiday shopping. With the shopping calendar ticking away, there are just a few days left to put your plan in motion. At this point it's important to optimize the time you have left. The options we offered today aren't exactly stocking stuffers, but are sure to put a smile on the faces of those on the receiving end. My wife tells me that's what it's all about when I grumble about the amount spent each year.