How to turn your computer into a DLNA media server

Lots of boxes that you plug into your TV including the year, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and even some smart TVs themselves have DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) streaming support. You can stream video files and music from your PC over the network – provided you set up a DLNA server on the PC first.

This function is also known as Play To or UPnP AV. It’s easier to use than you might think, as the required server software is built into Windows. There are also third party DLNA servers with more functionality and you can run them on any operating system. How to set up DLNA on your computer.

Option 1: Enable the DLNA media server built into Windows

Explanation of the wireless display standards: AirPlay, Miracast, WiDi, Chromecast and DLNA

There are many different software components that can act as a DLNA server, but you don’t need to install anything special to get started. Windows has a built-in DLNA server that you can activate. To activate it, open the Control Panel and look for “Media” using the search box in the upper right corner of the window. Under Network and Sharing Center, click the “Media Streaming Options” link.

Click the “Activate media streaming” button to activate the media streaming server.


Although the term “DLNA” is not mentioned at all in this Control Panel, the media streaming feature in Windows is a DLNA-compatible media server.

You can now adjust the streaming settings. The default settings allow all devices on your local network to access the media files in your media libraries, and that’s fine if you’re on a local network with only devices you trust. You probably don’t need to adjust these.

How to bring back libraries in Windows 8.1 and 10 File Explorer

This window does not tell you how to add video, music, and picture files that can be streamed over the network. However, media streaming functionality depends on your Windows libraries.

If you want to stream video, music, or picture files, add them to the Videos, Music, or Pictures libraries. You don’t need to move the files to the current library folders – you can add new folders to the libraries. In Windows 8.1 or 10, you need to unhide the libraries to access them.

Then either copy the media files you want to stream to your libraries or add folders of media files to your libraries.

To the exampleIf you have a bunch of videos under D: TV Shows you can right click the video library, select Properties, click Add, and add the D: TV Shows folder to your video library . The files would still be saved in D: TV Shows but would be visible in your video library and available for streaming from other devices.

How to view local video files on your Roku

You can now access the DLNA media player on your other device – for examplewho have favourited Roku Media Player, PS4 Media Player, or Xbox One Media Player apps all include this feature


To the example, on one year, you need to install and open the Roku Media Player channel first. DLNA servers on your local network will appear in the list so you can select your computer and stream media files from it.

In addition to searching your shared media library from the device, you can use the Play To feature to find media on your computer and play it directly on the networked device. Or use the DLNA media streaming capabilities to share media between your PCs.

Option 2: Install Plex or Universal Media Server

Windows DLNA server is the easiest and fastest to set up, but not necessarily the best option. Because of how DLNA works, you can only stream certain types of media codecs, such as: example. If you have other types of media it just doesn’t work.

Other DLNA servers improve this by offering real-time transcoding. If you try to play an unsupported file, transcode it on the fly and stream the video to your DLNA device in a supported format.

How to set up Plex (and watch your movies on any device)

Many different media servers support DLNA, including the immensely popular one Plex Media Server – so you can set up the Plex media server on your computer and use DLNA on another device to access your media if you want. Plex’s own media player has more features, but your Plex library can also be accessed from any media player that supports DLNA. This allows you to access your Plex library on devices that don’t have a Plex client or web browser but that have DLNA support.

You may also be interested in the completely free Universal media serverthat is on the now set PS3 media server. It boasts many functions, and you can install and configure it on both Windows and macOS and Linux. Macs and Linux PCs don’t have this feature built in, so third-party media programs like this are the only option.

DLNA seems to be on its way, which is one reason why it’s so hidden on Windows 10. DLNA essentially focuses on playing media files that you’ve downloaded to your PC (video files, music files, and picture files) on other devices. Modern solutions usually focus on streaming media from the Cloud. And even if you want to manage your own local media library, a solution like Plex is bigger and better.


The strength of this standard is still the broad ecosystem of supported devices. While not an ideal solution, it provides the glue to bond a wide variety of devices together without third-party apps. Devices without a web browser or apps that you can use to access Plex may support DLNA.

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