DLNA is a well-defined set of standard initiated and established by Sony, Intel, Microsoft and a few other companies that allows certified devices to exchange digital media content. It is the integration of multiple technologies such as HTTP, HTTPS, uPnP, etc. to enable easy media sharing. DLNA is not a new technology, but a solution, a norm that everyone can follow.
In this article, we will round up a list of the best free and open-source DLNA server software with the minimum configuration requirements so you can turn your own PC into a media server at ease.
Jellyfin – a promising open source media server
Jellyfin is an open-source media server, forked from Emby after it changes its license from open-source into proprietary. While Emby is written in C#, Jellyfin was ported to the .NET Core framework to enable cross-platform support.
Jellyfin runs on all major operating system, including Windows, Linux, MacOS. It can also run inside a containerized image with Docker or Kubernetes.
Website : https://jellyfin.org/
Source code : https://github.com/jellyfin/jellyfin
DLNA configuration documentation : https://jellyfin.org/docs/general/networking/dlna.html
Universal Media Server
Universal Media Server is a free and open source DLNA-compliant UPnP Media Server that supports a large selection of devices, ranging from TVs to smartphones.
The application was originally based on PS3 Media Server by shagrath and runs on Windows, Linux and MacOS. You can also run Universal Media Server as a virtualized image through Docker.
Universal Media Server is capable of streaming and transcoding media files in many different formats with little or no configuration. Its features can also be extended when use in conjunction with FFmpeg, MediaInfo, OpenSubtitles, Crowdin, MEncoder, tsMuxeR, AviSynth, VLC, etc.
Coherence – full-fledged DLNA media server suite aimed towards power users
Coherence is an open-source multimedia computer application released under MIT license.
As a stand-alone application, Coherence performs as a DLNA/UPnP Media Server. Coherence has an in-built capability to export local files or online media via its back ends to other UPnP clients.
With supported clients like GStreamer or Rhythmbox, Coherence functions as a controllable DLNA/UPnP Media Renderer.
Coherence can also function as a Python framework to enable access to media files on other applications.
Coherence toolkit also contains other interesting packages:
- Coherence-Config: a cross-platform GUI frontend for Coherence.
- Cadre: a picture DLNA/UPnP MediaRenderer which can display pictures from the local filesystem or from a MediaServer.
- Compere: a MediaRenderer based on the Coherence DLNA/UPnP framework
- Mirabeau: An application level proxy for UPnP devices which allows to share your UPnP content between two or more local networks over the Internet. It uses XMPP as a transport (work in progress).
- Puncher : An UPnP InternetGatewayDevice manipulation tool based on the Coherence DLNA/UPnP framework
- Plugins or extensions for other applications to open them to the UPnP world via Coherence framework. Totem, Nautilus, Rythmbox and Banshee are some applications that can take advantage of Coherence DLNA/UPnP framework.
Although the software has not been update for a few months, it is still pretty mature and will serve almost all your needs when it comes to a DLNA server.
Website : https://gitlab.digitalcourage.de/coherence
SimpleDLNA – a set-and-forget DLNA media server
If you don’t really care about the nitty gritty details or have no time for configuration, SimpleDLNA is the software you’re looking for.
The software allows you to simply fire up, select a directory with media files in it, watch it on a TV or mobile device then call it a day. It tries to minimize the configuration effort to the lowest possible. A simple command call to SimpleDLNA executable and now you have a media server ready. Alternatively, there’s a companion GUI with it, but it only works on Windows.
Website : https://nmaier.github.io/simpleDLNA/
ReadyMedia (MiniDLNA) – minimal open source DLNA server
ReadyMedia (formerly known as MiniDLNA) is a simple media server software, with the aim of being fully compliant with DLNA/UPnP-AV clients. The software was originally developed by a NETGEAR employee for the ReadyNAS product line and it runs on Linux only.
ReadyMedia’s biggest strength is its simple configuration. To be able to serve media files, you only need to edit the config file using a text editor and then start the server.
The media server software runs on Linux only, and if you’re familiar with configuring Linux daemons using systemd, you should be able to get ReadyMedia server working in a blink of an eye. There’s also a guide from ArchLinux wiki to get you started : https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/ReadyMedia.
Website : https://sourceforge.net/projects/minidlna/
Rygel – an open source DLNA server from GNOME Projects
Rygel is a home media solution that allows you to easily share audio, video and pictures, and control of media player on your home network.
Rygel strictly follows DLNA specifications to be both a compatible UPnP AV MediaServer and MediaRenderer. It also supports on-the-fly media conversion, so you can play media stored on a PC via a TV , even if the original format is not supported by the TV software.
Source code : https://gitlab.gnome.org/GNOME/rygel
Documentation and Installing : https://wiki.gnome.org/Projects/Rygel
Gerbera (MediaTomb) – open-source UPnP media server with limited DLNA support
Gerbera is an open source UPnP media server that streams digital media through a home network to UPnP compatible devices. The software is forked from the open-source MediaTomb 0.12.1, which is no longer maintained. Gerbera comes with a nice web-based GUI to manage your content library and change its settings.
Despite being an open source media server, Gerbera is not a DLNA media server but only offer partial support for a handful of DLNA devices. So in case you have a supported device, such as a PlayStation 3, you may consider using it.
One really big problem with Gerbera is that it does not support seeking with transcoded video. The bug has been around since the MediaTomb days and still not fixed. That might be a deal-breaker for those who often watch content in exotic formats.
Website : https://gerbera.io/
Source code : https://github.com/gerbera/gerbera
Airsonic – actively maintained Subsonic fork
Airsonic is a free, web-based media streamer, developed primarily to handle music files. It is a fork of Subsonic](http://www.subsonic.org/) is developed by Sindre Mehus and later Libresonic. You can use it to share your music with friends, or to listen to your own music while at work.
The application comes with a built-in, intuitive web interface, as well as search and index facilities optimized for large media libraries management.
Written in Java, Airsonic runs on most major platforms, including Windows, Mac, Linux and Unix variants.
Source code : https://github.com/airsonic/airsonic
Website : https://airsonic.github.io/
Other niche open source DLNA media servers
Above are big names in terms of DLNA media server software. There are other open-source projects we think worth mentioning in this article, despite they are either not mature enough for production or too primitive for daily uses.
nano-dlna is a CLI application allows you to quickly play a local video file in your TV (or any other DLNA compatible device) in a few commands.
smart-tv-telegram is a Telegram bot that stream content on your Telegram chat into your smart TV or any other UPnP/DLNA-supported devices.
Digital Media Server is another fork of PS3 Media Server by shagrath and inspired by Universal Media Server.