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I'm planning to add a DLNA compatible DVD/Blue-ray player to my home theater setup. I also have my Windows Home Server with a lot of videos and photos.
Can a DLNA DVD player connect to my Windows Home Server and stream videos without any additional software on the WHS?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

DLNA (DLNA on Wikipedia) is a big honking beast of a standard; certifying a device as "DLNA compatible" doesn't really say anything about what it will work with. The specification categorizes devices into several categories:

  • DMS (digital media servers)
  • DMP (digital media players)
  • DMC (digital media controllers)
  • DMR (digital media renderers)
  • DMP (digital media printer)

Wikipedia notes that "any PC with a network interface can become a DLNA device by installing DLNA software". And given the right software, the PC could act in almost any of the roles listed above.

  • Windows Home Server includes Windows Media Connect out of the box, which isn't fully DLNA compliant (at least in early versions; source).

  • Windows Media Player 12 is listed as supporting "all DLNA roles" in the Wikipedia DLNA page. It may not be installable on WHS.

  • Twonky Media Server and other DLNA software can be used to provide DLNA services on a WHS system.

However, whether the DVD/BluRay player can stream videos from a DMS depends on what DLNA roles the player fulfills. It needs to act as a DMP or DMR to play content from a DMS.

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+1 WHS has Windows Media Connect 2 out of the box, this provides UPnP and a media server compatible with most media renderers (including XBox 360, PS3). UPnP is part of the DLNA standard, so technically it is DLNA compatible. WMP12 is not installable on WHS without a lot of hacking (not designed to be installed on Win2003 which is what WHS is based on). Most people who are after more capable media sharing use Twonky, TVersity or something similar, they're also useful as WMC2 doesn't do any transcoding, which may be needed depending on your video formats and renderer capabilities. –  GAThrawn Mar 24 '10 at 9:24
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