There are different methods with which we can share files between devices. For example transfer images from a mobile to the computer. In this article we are going to talk about the DLNA protocol and we are going to show some applications that we can use for Android and iOS. In this way we can watch video content, such as series and movies, linking our mobile with a server installed on a computer or NAS.
How the DLNA protocol works
First of all, we are going to explain what the DLNA protocol consists of. It stands for Digital Living Network Alliance . It is a protocol that allows sharing all kinds of multimedia content between a device and a server. For example a computer or mobile with another server. Also televisions that are connected to a local network.
Its mission is to allow communication between devices in a simple way. Logically, these teams will have to be compatible. This communication will always be between devices connected to the same network. We can use both the Wi-Fi network and the Ethernet cable .
When we connect compatible devices through DLNA , we can access the content of images, videos and multimedia in general. We can have control of the content stored on a server’s hard drive, from a mobile phone or a computer.
One of the devices will act as a server, which will be the one that offers that stored content, while the others will act as clients or receivers and will receive that information. It is more comfortable and faster than having to put the content on a USB or hard drive and plug it into the television, for example.
DLNA Apps for Android
First of all, we are going to see some applications that we can use on Android to be able to take advantage of the DLNA protocol and share multimedia content and play streaming on different devices.
Kodi is undoubtedly one of the most popular applications for streaming. It is a well-known multimedia center that allows you to view content through its many add-ons. We will also be able to take advantage of the DLNA protocol and access, from the mobile, what we have stored on another device on the network.
To use it we have to go to the official Android store and download it there. Is free. As we always say, it is important to always download these types of applications from reliable sources, since otherwise they could contain malware and be a security threat to our computers.
Main features of Kodi:
- Multiple plugins.
- Allows access to content saved on other devices.
- Frequent updates.
Another application that we can also use on Android for free is BubbleUPnP. It is a simple program that allows you to play multimedia content, such as images, videos and music, in Streaming. It uses the DLNA protocol and we can use it on devices compatible with this operating system.
One point to note is that it also has integration with the main cloud services. It is compatible with Google Drive or Dropbox, so we will be able to play files directly from these services without having to download them. This is a plus in order to save disk space.
These are the main features of BubbleUPnP :
- Connects to any UPnP/DLNA server.
- Play locally stored files.
- It is compatible with cloud services, such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Google Photos, Box or OneDrive, as well as music services such as TIDAL or Qobuz.
- It allows sending the content that we are playing to a Chromecast device.
Another option we have is LocalCast . It allows us to connect to other computers or local DLNA servers and servers in the cloud in a simple way. But in addition, it also offers the possibility of transferring multimedia content to devices such as Chromecast and playing it easily.
It has more customizable options if we compare it with the previous option. For example, we will be able to customize the video with functions such as zoom, rotate or move, as well as search and use subtitles. The latter is interesting in order to be able to see content in the original version. However, it does not have a player as such, but we must connect it to a Chromecast or similar to play the video.
The main features are as follows:
- It allows to send local content, either from DLNA/UPnP servers or from the cloud, to any Chromecast.
- It works in a simple way. Simply plug in, choose what to play, and start watching.
- It allows us to adjust the video and add subtitles.
Programs for iOS
We can also find some options available for iOS. We won’t be able to use some of the above, since Apple‘s operating system is more restrictive, but we can still find applications with which we can take advantage of the DLNA protocol on our mobile.
One of the best known options is VLC . It is the popular video player with the icon with a cone. It is available for mobile devices and computers. We can also use it on iOS and, beyond allowing us to open files that we have stored locally, it has functions to play content on the network.
With this application we will be able to connect to DLNA and UPnP servers from our mobile in a simple way. But if what you are looking for is simply to watch videos that you already have saved locally, with VLC it is also possible. We leave you the main features of this application:
- Plays a large number of video and audio formats.
- Supports DLNA and UPnP protocols, in addition to allowing the use of the cloud.
Video & TV Cast
With Video & TV Cast we have an application specialized in allowing us to connect to this type of server . We can stream to televisions and other devices. In addition, it allows us to convert our iOS phone into a DLNA server. It is ideal to be able to access it from other computers connected to the network.
This application is perfect if you are looking for something specialized, that works correctly and without being complicated. All this, always on the basis of being able to use the DLNA protocol to play videos on devices connected to a network. These are the main specifications:
- It allows you to play content on the iPhone or iPad, as well as send it to cast devices such as Chromecast or Apple TV.
- It is compatible with DLNA, UPnP protocols and applications such as Plex, Kodi, Serviio and others.
LocalCast for Chromecast
A third app that we can use on iOS is LocalCast for Chromecast . In this case, we are dealing with a program that is also compatible with Android devices. It allows us to connect to any DLNA or UPnP server . Provides the ability to view content on network connected devices.
We will be able to send local content from DLNA/UPnP servers, as well as from the cloud. Its operation is simple and it also allows us to make different adjustments to the videos, something that not all applications offer.
- It works in the cloud.
- Compatible with iOS and Android.
- Allows you to use any DLNA or UPnP server.
Steps to set it up on Windows
In the case of Windows , if we use this operating system to store multimedia content, the easiest way to use this protocol is to use the DLNA server included in the system. To do this we have to go to Control Panel, Network and Internet, Network and Sharing Center. There you have to go to Change advanced sharing options.
You have to go to All networks and enable , as we see in the image, streaming media. Of course, as long as it is not already activated by default.
In the case of Windows 11, the operation is similar. We have to go to Start, we go to Control Panel, we enter Network and Internet and, there, we click on Network and Sharing Center and access Media streaming options .
In short, there are multiple applications that we can use on our mobile devices to take advantage of the DLNA protocol and be able to broadcast content in Streaming. We have also explained how to enable it in Windows to be able to use the tool that Microsoft‘s system has.