How to choose a DLNA Media Server for Windows, Mac OS X or Linux

With so many new DLNA media receivers emerging on the market, including the PS3 and X-Box 360, there are many options for media server software to run. Each server application has its own set of pros and cons. I researched all of the known products and listed out prices, supported operating systems and features. I also took the time to make a few notes and award best-in-class to a few select products that are the easiest to use, have the best features overall and provide the best end-user experience. Read on to find out how to choose your media server software.

Comparison Chart

The products are listed in alphabetical order. All servers are UPnP compliant. The Server column is the name of the server and a link to the vendor's product page. The Price column is how much the server costs. The Windows, Mac and Linux columns show support for those operating systems. The Music column indicates that the software can stream at least 1 type of music. The Photo column indicates that the software can serve at least 1 type of image. The Video column indicates that the software can stream at least 1 type of AV. The Transcoding column indicates that the software can transcode from one format to another.


Server Price Windows Mac Linux Music Photo Video Transcoding
Allegro Media
Server
39.95 X X
X


Cidero Internet Radio Station
Server (Java)
Free X X X X X X
Cyber Media Gate (Java) Free X X X X X X
Cyberlink Digital Home Enabler Kit 79.95 X

X X X
Elgato Eyeconnect 49.95
X
X X X
Fuppes Free X
X X X X X
Geexbox Free


X X X
GMediaServer Free

X X X X
JRiver Media Center
39.95 X

X X X
MediaTomb Free
X X X X X X
Mezzmo 24.95 X

X X X X
MiniDLNA Free

X X X X ?
MythTV Free

X X X X X
Nero
MediaHome
79.99 X

X X X X
Nullriver Medialink 20.00
X
X X X X
On2Share 19.95 X

X X X
PS3 Media Server Free X
X X
X X X X
Rhapsody 12.99/month X X X X


SimpleCenter Premium 19.99 X

X X X X
Tversity Free X

X X X X
TwonkyMedia 39.95 X X X X X X X
uShare Free

X X X X
Wild Media Server $15 X X X X X X X
Winamp Remote Free X

X ? X ?
Windows Media Connect Free X

X X X X
Yahoo Music Jukebox Free X

X


What is transcoding?

The average consumer doesn't care about what technology is used to encode their media. They just want it to play. The problem is that many devices only support certain types of encoding and much media circulating around is in other formats. The solution? Transcoding. Transcoding means to convert a potentially unsupported encoding into a supported one for the receiving device on the fly. Wikipedia has more details on transcoding.

Analysis

While basic functionality is indicated on this chart, there is no way of knowing how many types of music, photo or video formats are supported. It is also difficult to tell what formats can be transcoded. Most of the informational pages for these products don't give enough details, so without setting up every single product and testing all formats against a variety of devices, it's very difficult to know for sure what the level of support is.

Four products support every operating system: Cidero, Cyber Media Gate, Rhapsody and TwonkyMedia. Both Cidero and Cyber Media Gate are Java-based ports of their original C++ open-source counterparts. They appear to run on any Java 1.5 platform.

TwonkyMedia not only supports every operating system but has every main feature covered as well. Their transcoding support is new, as last time I looked into their tech specs I didn't see support for it, so time will tell how good it is.

Geexbox has no OS listed because despite being Linux-based, it runs its own distribution to work. To get similar DLNA server functionality in Linux, uShare can be compiled and installed, which is what Geexbox uses for its own server.

SimpleCenter has a free version without transcoding support.

The 2007 Winners

After reading user feedback all over AVS Forum and Sony's Playstation Boards, researching the product specifications and performing some basic tests of the products, I can say definitively that for Windows, Nero Mediahome and Simpecenter Premium offer the best ease-of-use, transcoding and overall functionality. Neither product is free, but as of right now they are currently the best in class. I have not been able to test enough products for Linux or OS X yet to give a good recommendation for those, but the chart provided should give you at least an idea of what may or may not suit your needs best.

Into the future and beyond...

New server are showing up every few months and existing ones are always adding new features. I will do my best to try to keep this list up-to-date, but I count on you to post your reviews and especially the corrections for prices, features and products for this list. Things have changes since I compiled the first list in 2007 so please read through the comments and discuss on the forums to make sure you have the latest information.

This list was last updated 10/9/2011 but some entries may not be current.

226 Comments

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Help needed for animatics

Can anyone help me with animatics here ?

Thanks

Hey thanks, i couldnt find a stable dlna server.. this one seems to be pretty stable so far.

DLNA servers

Two DLNA servers I didn't see mentioned are Isedora and Kooraroo.. I truly like both of these programs. Both are different and both work well. Isedora is awesome in the fact you just drop a file in the video folder and start streaming (as long as the server is started). The problem I saw with Isedora is the fact I have a 3d TV and Isedora seems to have a problem with sending a file made for 3d. Now, the cool thing is Isedora is about to release version 2 which may and hopefully does address this problem.

Kooraroo is a program made in Australia and very similar to Mezzmo in the way it operates. I was a hard core user of Isedora until the program wouldn't display my 3D programs the right way. I had bought Kooraroo earlier but didn't like it initially because it used a database that had to be updated or it wouldn't recognize the video (or whatever kinda file) and call it lazy on my part. I like easy! But sometimes easy doesn't always work like it should. Given the choice of either Isedora or Kooraroo I have to go with Kooraroo. Granted there is a little more work involved in getting your DLNA device to work like you want it but in the long run its so worth it! I'm still looking forward to seeing what version 2 has to offer in Isedora but if it doesn't work.. then I guess I'll just be a hard core Kooraroo fan!

WMS

I am working with Wild Media Server right now. I have several separate music collections and so far it works very well. Especially flexible in seting up play-lists, which is essential for the not-so-perfect DLNA player on the Panasonic TV.

About Mezzmo

The two things that make Mezzmo the superior product is its support for playlists is off the chart and the support offered show that the company cares about its customers. Just peruse their forums and decide for yourself.

File Formats - Video_TS

I have the same question - Did you find any mediaservers that would allow me to stream my DVD rips righ from the Video_TS?

Yep. Couldn't agree with you

Yep. Couldn't agree with you more. Serviio is rock solid. I'm using it on Windows Home Server with no issues. Additionally, Serviio can stream FLAC audio files, which I couldn't do with WMP 12.

can't get serviio to recognize movies on mapped external drive

As stated, I cannot get Serviio to add or recognize any of the media on my external drive which is connected via USB and mapped as F: I have read that Serviio cannot read mapped network drives and that you have to provide the UNC path for it to work properly. Is this really necessary? Any ideas on that? What would the UNC path be for the external? I do like the software quite a lot otherwise, but it's useless if I can't read the external.

PS3 Media Server easy to use.

PS3 Media Server is easy to use.. bozo proof.

You assign the folders you keep your movies and pictures in and when you start it if finds your PS3 on your own little network and connects with it. You go to your PS3 and under pictures, movies etc you'll find your machine running PS3 Media Server. Click on it and view whatever you want assuming your PS3 is connected to your TV.

There's a complete description of use on their website.

serviio beats all otehrs

serviio beats all otehrs hands down and now it even better with online streaming support

Wildmedia Server

Wildmedia Server is relatively cheap and great to use. Use it on my Sony Bravia, as it has hopeless support for media formats.. Transcodes movies easily once you set it up for your device.

This is great!

I never really knew what DLNA was, but assumed it was some half-ass Samsung creation that let you stream atleast some of the videos you have on your computer on the TV. I tried it with Samsung's horrible software and I managed to find my computer on the TV but I't wouldn't let me access any of the folders.

I gave up on DLNA a week ago, but now that I stumbled upon this article, I understand theres a ton of different server software I can use and I can't wait to get home and try it out. I'm sure atleast some of them will work better then that sorry excuse for a software Samsung created.

AllShare is terrible

If you have a Samsung TV, then my advice is to not use AllShare that comes with it. You'll hate DLNA. I uninstalled it and tried a few others that were recommended here. Eventually settled on Mezzmo since it has chapter support & worked with all my files.

Thnaks for the help

Hi, I just wanted to thank the website and the forum for the various comments and ideas, all of which helped me get up and running. Last week I didn’t know what DLNA stood for but had decided I did not want to go down the Itunes/Apple TV route. On Wednesday I bought a Sony BDP-S580; brilliant totally plug and play and within 10 minutes I had iPlayer on my TV.

On Friday I typed “iTunes to DLNA on Windows” into Google and hit this Website. Realised that I needed DLNA media streaming server software for my laptop and downloaded Messmo. That was plug and play too and without me doing anything it had found my BDP and the PS3s. So within 5 minutes I was playing music from the laptop via the Sony receiver. Last night I downloaded Nero Home Media 4 and I am about to download Serviio. The icing on the cake for me would be to play my iTunes library without importing all the iTunes stuff which you have to do on Messmo but it is inferred on Nero that you don’t have to do that.
Saving up for my Sony iPad thingy and I will be in digital heaven :)

sharing ISO files

I have my movies packed in ISO format.
Cany any stream server program also share ISO files or convert them to format that samsung tv can understand?

Able to stream firefox content to Sanmsung tv?

Can any stream servers stream firefox content to Sanmsung tv?
Or
Is it only the stream server program content that can be streamed?

DLNA server base on FreeNAS X64 support for Samsung TV?

Who is help me? DLNA server base on FreeNAS X64 support for Samsung TV?
minidlna always disrupted with large file. Serviio and tvmobili do not support AMDX64 :-(

I have the same issue.. Does

I have the same issue.. Does anyone know a workaround for this? Thks.

traslation of Home Media Server

did you find a way to tanlsate Home Media Server from Russian to French? I tried to use the italian traslation of Wind Media Server but I can't figure out how to make it work ...
Thanks

bluray player

what is the model # of your sony blu ray player? And you were able to use this sony blu-ray player on tveristy without issue before installing the Hamanchi?

Bluray player says TVersity is not DLNA Compatible

I use tversity on a pc with winxp and it works perefect with my PS3, and it also did very well with my sony bluray player. But for other reasons I had to install Hamanchi (virtual network from Logmein inc.) and after that it stop working. I uninstall hamanchi, but still does not work anymore. I re-install tversity but nothing. My Bluray always recognize it but with a Fail, the detail is that tversity is "not dlna compatible" which of course is not true. Any help could be appreciated. As I said to 60ssoulboy, I want to use tversity since it transcode subtitles (.srt). Serviio still works in both my ps3 and my blue ray but it does not support subtitles.

I already tryied firewall configs up to disableing at all and nothing. I haven't touched my router and tversity was working fine so it can not be, anyways I checkd some configs like enableing/disabling uPNP, still nothing. Please help, This is taking sleep hours from me... to many.

The bad thing about Serviio

The bad thing about Serviio is that it does not support subtitles.

SONY TV kdl46hx803 with DNLA Servers

I have tried a few but finished up using WILD MEDIA SERVER. Tried Servio but limited recognition of all the different Media files on the Time Capsule, Twonky has too much to do to (extra installs, and techy know how to even get a little transcoding working).
Wild Media Server works 'straight from the install'. All my different vidoe formats were seen and ran without any hassle. Magic!

re Mezzmo: I completely agree

I tried Mezzmo and the transcoding is superior to any other I have seen. It's fairly easy to use, and the ability to make device specific playlists is OFF THE CHARTS!

Now you can have all your violent and shady movies off the kids devices! XD

Mezzmo

I have a Samsung 55" LCD and I just hated Samsung's PC Share Manager app that comes with it. I thoroughly recommend Mezzmo to other Samsung TV owners. Works perfectly with my TV. Also streams to my Sony BDP Blu-ray player. I tried a few other DLNA servers but they all either had problems or were too hard to use for me.

Serviio

Serviio is brilliant! Small, Simple, easy to set up, works perfectly with my xbox 360, laptops, netbooks, LG TV etc, from a windows XP machine. Now the recommended DNLA server for SONY devices too!
I've tried every piece of software going, and this is by far the best, actually found the link for it from the post above a few months ago too!
currently on v 0.5.2

DLNA formats

Hey everyone.
I used TVmobili and it seems to work fine on an iphone allthough somewhat shakey even on a N wireless network.
Wild Media server does not work well.
I can search my video files but there is no way with windows media player at least to browse through the directories.
I have a server (w2k3) with 3 external harddisks shared with domain permissions.
Somehow everything in there can be picked up no problem. But not the directory structure.
So i see all video's at once ()mostly tv series stored in seperate directories sorted on \\unc_path\Series\title\season in that nmanner but when i look atmediaplayer in windows 7 i can now view video\movies--> folders just ALL movies and i get a full list of everything!

anyone know of a client who can make those folders and catagories?

I tried tvmobili for this but allthough it works on iphone WMP does not see a damned thing
Also the website does not play xvid and divx.

So here is what i am looking for.

Mediaplayer and other software using dlna to view my directory structure and play divx and xvid codec.
Have a website that can also play the same formats with a directory structure
transcoding.

Already tried
Nero home media
TVmobili
Wils Media server
Tversity

All of the above do not work well.

Local web pages

Has anyone any ideas as to how to display local information (either on the server PC or a PC networked to the server) on DLNA clients on the local network. Ideally I would like to display several "pages" of information. The information on these pages will change but not dramatically.

Examples of such pages:
Displaying weather information
Displaying HVAC information
Displaying security alarm information.

The information could be stored on the PC as HTML, or Flash, or PDF etc. The information will be generated by a separate programme which will collect the data, format it and store it in a suitable file format for the DLNA sever to serve to the clients

VLC as media server??

Is there anybody with experience with VLC ( http://www.videolan.org/vlc/ ) as media server on Ethernet/wifi networks? Is it possible?
Thank you and bye, Fabio

Medialink no good with Samsung LEDTV and imac

I tried Nuriver Medialink with my iMac OSX 10.6.7 and a Samsung 55 inch LCD TV, model number UN55C8000, and photos would not play. I got "Not Supported File Format on the Samsung LCD TV".

I do have a windows machine from which the exact same photos will play just fine. The TV does find the photos and does attempt to play them, but the TV cannot display them and instead plays the "Not supported file format" error.