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What Are Upnp and Dlna ?


A NAS such as the Sinology can be used as a DLNA / UPnP media server. So, a little explanation about DLNA and UPNP is required. We also talk about Windows Media Player and PS3 Media Server as well. A concrete example Before buying my Sinology, my videos were stored on my computer (Windows 7).

On this computer, I used Windows Media Player as a media server. As we will see later, I faced some problems, especially with MKV files. This prompted me to use PS3 Media Server on my PC. UPnP / DLNA standard WMP (or Windows Media Player) is a compliant UPnP / DLNA media server (not officially certified).

In theory, when you buy a DLNA network multimedia player, it means that it is able to read audio and video files distributed by a DLNA server and vise / versa. Indeed, certification guarantees a number of basic rules inherited from UPnP:

• Readers (your TV, PS3 …) and connected servers (WMP, MediaTomb, Twonky …) connected to the same network automatically discover each other.

The standard describes how the directories are organized (for examples, on the PS3, the top level folders are video, picture… and we find the corresponding file types in each directory). • In the easiest cases, the reading is done without problem (view JPEG photos, MPEG video view, read MP3). Beyond the standard: field problems In practice, things are not so idyllic.

For where it starts to jam is when the multimedia player cannot read the file format provided by the server. The standards says that the reader sends a list of what it can read and (this is the case with PS3 Media Server) the server trans-codes – if able – on the fly the source file (not supported, e.g. MKV file stored on a computer) into a file format supported by the multimedia player (e.g. MPEG-2 on the PS3).

WMP does not support this mechanism (called trans-coding). Sinology does not support well this feature in the case of videos (the CPU is not powerful enough), but it can trans-code some audio file formats (see below). One could choose to convert problematic video files, as explained in one of my posts ts Mixer.

The idea is to choose a file format compatible with most of DLNA readers (all the DLNA multimedia players that you own). PS3 Media Server PS3 (that you can download here) is a UPnP / DLNA media server that runs on on Windows or Linux. It has many advantages, for example:

• It is capable of transcoding on the fly files not supported by DLNA players.

• It manages subtitles overlay (on the fly: automatic overlay of a matching srt file).

• It has many playback options. • It is easy to use. After installation, all the media files stored on your computer are available on your DLNA player. But it has some disadvantages as well:

• It has been developed to operate at 100% with the PS3. He can talk with other readers. But it will not work with the Panasonic VT20 or GT20E.

• Trans-coding requires a lot of bandwidth and computing power. In practice, if it is suitable for low-resolution sources (DivX, AVI 348P or 570p), it freezes a lot when reading 1080p files. I’ve even seen jerks with 720 p sources.

The quality of your network can also degrade the performances: first generation CPL network adapters are not fitting for 1080 p sources. What about Sinology?

This NAS embeds a DLNA / UPnP media server. Except for audio files, Sinology does not have a trans-coding mechanism.

Thus, as explained in one of my posts about ts Mixer, I chose to convert my MKV and MP4 videos into M2TS, which has the advantage of being compatible with Sony and Panasonic TVs. As explained previously, the Synology has audio trans-coding functionality. It’s limited, but interesting. To activate it, go to the Control Panel, then media server and in the tab “DMA Compatibility.

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