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Sunday, 24 April 2016 07:46

What is UPnP and DLNA

What is UPnP and DLNA

Detailed information about Smart TV features such as Universal Plug and Play (UPNP) and Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA)


  1. Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) Architecture overview
  2. UPnP AV architecture
  3. UPnP AV Components
  4. What is DLNA?
  5. References

1. Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) Architecture overview

The concept of Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) is an extension of plug-and-play, which is technology for dynamically attaching devices to each other without the need of physical device configuration or user intervention. The UPnP architecture allows device-to-device networking of electronic devices such as mobile devices, personal computers, Smart TVs and other type of home networked devices. It involves a lot of standards and technologies such as the Internet Protocol Suite (TCP/IP), HTTP, XML, and SOAP. The UPnP is based on client-server concept where UPnP control points (clients) are searching for UPnP servers (devices), which provide different standard services. The UPnP specification is divided into six phases:

  • Adressing

This point is related to device IP address assignment. In order to be a part of the networking, a device must have an unique IP address assigned. This can be achieved using a lookup into Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server or assign an IP address using AutoIP.

 

  • Discovery

After device addressing, the next step into UPnP networking is device discovery. The discovery protocol is known as the Simple Service Discovery Protocol (SSDP). The device advertise its services to the network using SSDP alive messages. When a control point is added to the network it can actively search for devices of interest on the network or listen passively to these Discovery Service messages. The fundamental exchange is a discovery message containing a few essential specifics about the device or one of its services: its type, identifier, and a pointer (network location) to more detailed information.

 

  • Description

 When device is discovered by a control point, the control point knows very little about this device. In order to gain more information about the device and its capabilities, the control point must retrieve the device's description from the location (URL) provided by the device in the discovery message. The UPnP Device Description is expressed in XML (eXtensible Markup Language), which includes information like vendor, model name, serial number, URL, etc. One of the most important information provided by device description XML is a list of supported services and their URLs for control and events listening.

  

  • Control

 In order to interact with discovered device, the control point sends suitable control messages for invoking actions on services. These control messages are expressed in XML format using the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP).

 

  • Event notification

 A control point may register itself at a service to be informed for any device state changes. This event notification protocol is known as General Event Notification Architecture (GENA). The service sends events notifications to all registered control points at any change of a state variable. Event messages are under XML format and contain the names of one or more state variables and the current value of those variables.

 

  • Presentation

A device may provide an adapted user interface (UI) using an Uniform Resource Location (URL) in ordered to provide control for itself. So a control point may connect to this URL and use it to display a specific HTML page in a web browser and depending on the capabilities of the page to allow user to view device status and control its services.

 

2. UPnP AV architecture

The UPnP AV architecture is an audio and video extension of UPnP and it is trying to define a standard for interaction between multimedia devices. This standard extension is supported by variaty of devices such as TVs, VCRs, CD/DVD players/jukeboxes, settop boxes, stereos systems, MP3 players, still image cameras, personal computers and so on.

 

Goals of Universal Plug and Play AV Architecture

The main goals of UPnP AV Architecture can be defined as following:

  • To support arbitrary transfer protocols and content formats.
  • To enable the AV content to flow directly between devices without any intervention from the control point.
  • To enable control points to remain independent of any particular transfer protocol and content format. This allows control points to transparently support new protocols and formats.
  • Scalability, i.e. support of devices with very low resources, especially memory and processing-power as well as full-featured devices.
  • Synchronized playback to multiple rendering devices.
  • Access Control, Content Protection, and Digital Rights Management 

Normally in UPnP scenario the involved devices do not not interact directly with each another. The coordination between the devices is performed by the control point and not the devices themselves. The control point coordinates and synchronize the communication between devices in order to provide synchronized end-user effect. The most of AV scenario involve exchange of media content between devices. The AV control point uses UPnP to configure and setup the involved devices, but the media data is exchanged using out of bound non UPnP connection. So the control point is not directly involved during the content transfer.

 

3. UPnP AV Components

In the UPnP AV architecture, there are three main components:

  • the control point
  • MediaServer (DMS) - the source of the media content
  • MesiaRenderer (DMR) - the sink of the content

 

4. What is DLNA?

The Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) is an industry wide standard for sharing media content between devices. It is founded by a group of organisations some of which consumer electronics manufacturers, which desired to create a standard enabling all DLNA devices to exchange media over a home network. Nowadays many multimedia devices such as TVs, Phones, Hi-Fi systems, MP3 players, Network Attached Storages (NAS), etc are compatible with this standard and many users can take advantage of DLNA capabilities. Users having DLNA compatible devices are able to remotely control them and watch their favorite photos, movies and also to listen favorite songs, while sitting comfortably in their sofa.

The relation between UPnP and DLNA is that the digital network alliance is delivered from Universal Plug and Play protocol in order to normalize media interoperability. The DLNA puts some additional restrictions such as media formats and adding some additional features such as Digital Rights Management (DRM).

Note that in most cases adding Digital Living Network Alliance support to existing devices is impossible. The existing electronic products either have a build-in DLNA capabilities or don't support it at all. Ofcourse this is not true for devices such as personal computers, smart phones and other devices like these, since they allow installation of additional software applications to extend their ability.

A video DLNA explination:

One of the most common DLNA Devices are:

  • Digital Media Controller (DMC) - discovers Digital Media Servers (DMS) in the network and instruct digital media renderers (DMR) to play the content. Similar to UPnP AV, the content transfer is using an out-of-bound connection out of the DMC.  
  • Digital Media Server (DMS) - this is the source of media content and makes it available to networked digital media players (DMP) and digital media renderers (DMR). As examples for such devices are PersonalComputers and network-attached storage (NAS).
  • Digital Media Renderer (DMR) - play content as instructed by a digital media controller (DMC). Such devices are Smart TVs, audio players, video displays, etc.

 

DeviceOnline Media Streamer

Our DeviceOnline application combines some of the features of Digital Media Controller  and Digital Media Server. It is a tiny app, but is easy to use and capable to stream variety media content to different kind of media renders.  Our aim is to provide fast and reliable media sharing software, so please feel free to download DeviceOnline and give it a try.

5. References

Published in Technology
Thursday, 14 April 2016 09:08

What should we know about SMART TVs

What should we know about SMART TVs

Everything about smart TVs and their features and benefits. How to set up your TV to watch movies remotely and listen music by DeviceOnline DLNA streaming.


  1. Smart TV Overview
  2. Functions and benefits
  3. Why do I need to have a Smart TV
  4. How to connect my Smart TV to internet and use DLNA

1. Smart TV Overview

The term "Smart TV" comes from some major companies as Samsung, LG, Sony, JVC, Philips and so on. Not all of the IT companies are using the "Smart TV" term for their products, so sometimes is referred to as "Connected TV" or "Hybrid TV". Nowadays these terms denote any television (or set-top box) that provide ability for Internet connection to access streaming media services, can run entertainment apps and provide Web browser.

The Smart TV can be used for television set as well as for a set-top box for television, which provide advanced connectivity and computation abilities than traditional basic television set. The Smart TV devices are much more sophisticated and can be considered as a computer system with advanced television functionality. These systems run complete operating system and allow software updates and additional software applications to be developed for them. Third-party application developers can use the public so called Software Development Kit (SDK) in order to create new apps for particular Smart TV brand and allow end-users to install them.

 

 

Smart TVs may deliver multimedia content such as video, audio, photos from other devices like personal computers, network attached storage (NAS), mobile phones and other devices attached to same network using DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) / UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) or similar technique. This feature of Smart TVs is one of the most popular and convenient to users, since it allows the TV to be used as a remote screen for watching favorite media.

 

2. Functions and benefits

Obviously there are a lot of benefits to posses a Smart TV device and recently on the market these kind of televisions are more than the traditional ones. One of the main functionalities are:

  • Internet connectivity
  • Dedicated Web Browser
  • Third-party applications such as YouTube, Netflix and VBox
  • Speech recognition or other natural user interface
  • DLNA / UPnP media support
  • Improved remote control system

 

As mentioned above, these kind of devices similar to smart phones can provide different kinds of internet connectivity services, provide additional different applications, games, multimedia streaming and web browsing. These kind of devices provide an important service called Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) - receive multimedia content directly through the device internet connection without the need of a rooftop antenna, satellite dish or similar.

Along with enhanced software and internet connectivity features, most of the Smart TV manufactures put significant effort to improve the TV remote control functionality. These devices are pretty close to smart phones and may provide similar applications and user experience but in contrast the users are not able to control them using screen touches since normally they are several meters away. So most of these modern devices come with improved control system which is close to wireless mouse control. Some devices even allow to attach wireless mouse and use it to control some of the TV functionality. One of the best enhanced remote controls is this of LG smart tv - Magic Remote. It has pretty close user experience to those of Nintendo Wii and allows you to point over the screen items and select them with a click.

 

3.Why do I need to have a Smart TV

The Smart TV devices provide a huge set of functionalities. One of the most popular one is the DLNA services. Using DLNA services, users are able to cast content from their devices such as Smart phones, laptop, personal computers, tablets, etc directly to their television set using Wi-Fi connection. This means that you are able to share media content to your TV without the need of USB sticks, HDMI cables or other hardware. To do this comes in help the DeviceOnline applications, which allows you to bind and share any media content you have directly to your TV with just a click. You can read more about the device online apps from here.

 

4.How to connect my Smart TV to internet and use DLNA

Every modern Smart TV device possess an Ethernet cable connector at behind in order to be used for connection with the home network. The process is very similar to connecting a PC to a home network. Some tv devices has an additional embedded Wi-Fi adapter within themselves and it gives the capability to create wireless connection with your television set. If your device doesn't come with embedded Wi-Fi adapter, for most of them it is possible to plug and external one. Although Wi-Fi connection seems more convenient, most technicians recommend using wired connection since it is more secure and stable connection.

Some of the major steps required for TV network setup are:

  1. Go to your Smart TV's Network Settings, Network or Settings menu.
  2. Select the WiFi or Wireless option and wait for the device to scan for available wireless networks
  3. Select desired WiFi Network Name from the list of available networks.
  4. If your network doesn't appear you may need to choose the Search or Add a Wireless Network option
  5. When prompted, enter the Password using the keypad (from remote control or screen).

 

Network settings

Network Settings example (LG Smart TV)

 

After the TV Network is configured, the DLNA functionality of your TV is almost done. One of the things an user should do is to download the device online application on his PC and use it to share and control the media stream. In order to find more detailed information on How to use DeviceOnline apps read here

 

Published in Technology
Sunday, 13 December 2015 15:46

How to work with DeviceOnline

How to work with DeviceOnline

 


How the main DeviceOnline window looks like

DeviceOnline main screen

  1. Drop down menu for Player selection - will be filled with the found network players
  2. Playlist Search box - used to find fast desired playlist items. Note that this will not change the playback order.
  3. Clear Playlist button - Remove all items from playlist area
  4. Browse button - Open browse dialog used to add files to media playlist
  5. Remove item button - Hover a playlist entry and click the cross button in cases you desire to remove it from the playlist
  6. Playlist area - Use the Browse button in order to add file entries to the playlist.
  7. URL text box - place the media (audio, video, image) URL here and hit the Enter key to add desired URL to playlist. Note you can directly place YouTube URLs and they will be automatically resolved ... read more
  8. Add URL button - click this button in order to add the desired URL to playlist (same as the Enter key)
  9. Media controls - media controls buttons and progress bar. User can directly perform track navigation by simple click over the progress bar line. The media buttons so far are: Previous song, Play. Pause, Stop, Next track and Repeat track.
  10. Status bar - shows number of players and other events. When a new event occur (e.g. a new player comes online) the text blink effect will be observed to indicate the event.
  11. Help button - In case you need to check this page again

 


How to connect to your Smart TV or UPnP Box

The DeviceOnline application is designed to connect and stream media to your smart TV and similar devices. Once it starts it scans your local network for UPnP / DLNA compatible devices - Digital Media Renderers. This means that if you own devices like Smart TV, Mobile Phones, Tablets, etc connected to your local area network (LAN), the DeviceOnline should be able to detect them. Once the device is discovered, the application will include it in its list of mediaplayers for possible selection.

Below are several simple steps that describe how to share content to your Smart TV or UPnP / DLNA complient device:

  • Download, install and start the DeviceOnline stand alone application or the Chrome extension
  • Drag and Drop desired folders and media files into the window
  • Choose the desired Media Player device from the Drop Down
  • Double click on an item from your playlist
  • Use the playback controls in order to Pause. Resume, Stop or Skip the current item
  • You can use the following short cut keys for playback controls:
    • F1: Open the Help page
    • SPACEBAR: Pause / Resume command
    • +: Volume UP
    • -: Volume DOWN
  • To use subtitles, a "srt" files are supported and should be with same file name as the movie. Note that subtitles must be present in the track list.

Subtitles set up

  • File naming - Rename the subtitle "srt" file to match the name of corresponding video file.
  • File encoding - Most UPnP media renderers require the subtitle's file encoding to be in Unicode encoding (e.g. for LG Smart TV the encoding is UTF-8 with BOM). You can use some advanced text editor to change the encoding.
  • Playlist notes -The "srt" file should be present in playlist along with the corresponding media file.

Watch external links

DeviceOnline is capable to provide playback from external links. In most cases user can extract the URL from web page content using the context menu over the desired element. The extracted URL should be placed inside URL Text Box filed and hit Enter to add it to the playlist. Normally the external links should contain an extension, but there are some exceptions such as YouTube. In order to find out how to share links from YouTube, TED, VBox7, TWiT, Revision3 and others, please follow the link.

Known limitations:

  • The DeviceOnline Remote Media Center uses the browser build in HTML-5 player, so it may not play all media files provided by the server APP. The reason for this limitation is that different browsers can play different types of media, and the built-in HTML-5 player is bound to it.
  • Sometimes adding external URLs such as YouTube videos may lead to message like - "Failed to add URL entry due to website restrictions!". This notification rises since some video clips are restricted for streaming outside YouTube service.
  • The Chrome application is not capable to put itself into the Windows firewall exception list, so a manual firewall setting for port 8090 is required.
Published in Menu
Tuesday, 08 December 2015 02:27

Downloads

Download DeviceOnline Software, a free Media Streaming Tool

Choose desired distribution

DeviceOnline Media Player and Streamer
DeviceOnline Media Player and Streamer

DeviceOnlineLite - Tiny Media Streamer Application

DeviceOnlineLite is a tiny and yet powerful app, which provide a big set of functionality for media streaming and UPNP (DLNA) playback. By DeviceOnlineLite you can share a variety of media content on your home network and wirelessly stream video to your Smart TV. It runs in the system tray and is using Browser based UI for interaction. 

Download
DeviceOnlineLite
for Windows

System requirements for Windows are:

  • OS: Windows XP Service Pack 2+, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10
  • Storage: 5MB of free disk space
  • Memory: 512MB of RAM
  • Price: $0.0 - FREEWARE


DeviceOnline - Stand Alone Media Streamer Application

DeviceOnline is a small stand-alone application with an easy to use User Interface. The application supports DLNA media streaming, Drag&Drop files and folders, tiny local media player,  and many more fancy features.

Download
DeviceOnline stand alone app
for Windows

System requirements for Windows are:

  • OS: Windows XP Service Pack 2+, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10
  • Storage: 20MB of free disk space
  • Processor: Intel Pentium 4 processor or later that's SSE2 capable
  • Memory: 512MB of RAM
  • Price: $0.0 - FREEWARE

 


DeviceOnline Chrome Application

Download
DeviceOnline
Chrome App

 

The DeviceOnline Chrome app is a stand alone like application, but it is using the Chrome Browser engine and is hosted inside Chrome Web Store.


DeviceOnline documentation

Manual for use of deviceonline.net

Software's manual

Find out how to use the DeviceOnlie service. Follow the link in order to find out more information about DeviceOnlie software - tips & hints, supported features and known limitations.

Check out the Software's Manual
Published in Menu

DeviceOnline is a free and easy to use tool for video streaming between your home devices

What is DeviceOnline?

DeviceOnline is a free project aimed to allow users to exchange content between devices such as PC, Smart TV, Mobile Phone, DLNA devices, etc. Our target is to provide an easy way for our users to exchange media with each other fast and easily. With DeviceOnline applications, you can wirelessly send media content from your computer to your television set and enjoy the power of the big screen. The DeviceOnline project is still evolving and our team is providing frequent updates and improvements.

Some of the main features of DeviceOnline.net service are:

DeviceOnline DMC interface

Clean and easy to use interface

 

  • Easy to add, remove, search and play media files from your playlist.
  • Reorder items in playlist via simple Drag&Drop
  • Stream external media links such as YouTube, TED, TWiT, Revision3, VBox7 and other
  • Intuitive playback control and keyboard shortcuts support
  • Watch high definition movies in a few clicks
  • Support for Drag&Drop media files to achieve ultra fast playlist setup

Media Share

Share and stream multimedia

 

  • Stream music, movies and pictures from your PC to your TV via WiFi with a click
  • Keep using your computer while sharing media with your devices
  • A fast free way to connect your computer to your smart TV
  • Very fast automatic discovery of media renderers (DMR) connected to your local network such as Smart TVs, XBox devices and other
  • Act as a Digital Media Controller (DMC) and you control and stream media to your Smart TV or other UPnP / DLNA device
  • Supports subtitles and wide range of media formats
  • Has a simple build-in local media player

 

System usage

Small footprint

The main core functionality of DeviceOnline applications is written in oldsk00l C/C++. This results in a very low memory and cpu usage so it can run smooth even on older hardware.

 


 

Wan to download?


What is DLNA?

DLNA, stands for 'Digital Living Network Alliance', which is an industry wide standard for sharing media content between devices ... read more.


Want to see more?

Of course there is more that DeviceOnline can offer to you, so don't hesitate to visit any of:

  • Our FEATURES page to read more about our application features and articles
  • Checkout our SCREENSHOTS section to see DeviceOnline in action
  • Go to our direct DOWNLOAD page to get the latest version 

More information about DeviceOnline.net and its website

As it was already mentioned, the main purpouse of DeviceOnline.net is to provide media sharing services and applications. But this is not all, the DeviceOnline website provide also some interesting and informative reviews in different kind of topics such as technology, sport, music and so on.

Published in Menu

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