This article was first published in Nov 2014 and was updated in June 2017.
DLNA is a convenient moniker for something altogether more scary sounding – Digital Living Network Alliance. What it does, however, is anything but scary, allowing you to connect DLNA-compatible devices to each other and seamlessly stream data between them over the air – photos, videos, your Android homescreen, you name it. So if you have a DLNA-compatible HDTV, you can stream videos and music to it using your phone.
There are several good (and a lot of bad) Android apps out there that make DLNA streaming a cinch. Here are five of the best.
One of the best-rated DLNA apps on the Play Store, Airwire, is a good choice for any discerning Android owner looking to stream their media to the big screen. It discovers devices nicely and quickly and streams with great consistency and quality. Despite not being updated in quite a while, AirWire remains one of the most reliable DLNA streaming options around.
AirWire is compatible with a wide array of devices including the latest consoles and many older big-brand Smart TVs.
BubbleUPnP UPnP/DLNA lets you broadcast your content right from your device to your compatible DLNA device. It supports Chromecast, any DLNA-enabled TV, and the latest generation of gaming consoles. Other than basic streaming, it also comes with features like playback queue, editable playlists, scrobbling, sleep timer and various shuffle modes. It has a full-screen image viewer and a remote-control function.
Best of all, it costs nothing!
3. MediaHouse UPnP/DLNA Browser
If you like to have apps with plenty of features, check out MediaHouse UPnP/DLNA Browser. It has a number of DLNA streaming features that help you stream your videos and music the way you want. For example, it auto scans your WiFi network to see if there are any DLNA-enabled devices so you can then connect to them. It divides the scanned devices into two categories, the first being the devices you can stream your content to, and the second being the devices you can stream content from. It supports creating playlists for your music files, has an image viewer, and it works in landscape mode.
4. iMediaShare Personal
If you want a DLNA app with an awesome interface, give iMediaShare Personal a try. The app lets you stream your digital media right from your Android device to your large TV without needing any cables. While your media is being played on your TV, the app acts as a remote for you to control the media. It allows you to control the play such as pause, next, and so on using your hand gestures.
While all the apps listed up to this point stream content to any device, AllCast offers the most compatibility. It can stream media to Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, PS4 and other DLNA-enabled devices. It also lets you stream from your Dropbox, letting you directly stream content without having to download it first.
Why use shoddy old hard drives when you can do so many wonderful things wirelessly? Setting yourself up for DLNA streaming may sound kind of complicated because it involves an acronym for a long and complicated tech term, but it’s really quite easy. All the apps above are great, so it’s just a case of finding which one works best for you, then following the simple on-screen instructions to move a step closer to having a wireless media centre.
Image credit: Man playing Heartstone on Samsung A5 phone