How to Connect Phone Tablet to DLNA Media Server

Introduction

DLNA servers allow for a fast and easy way to share media; movies, music, and pictures, from device to device over your home network. Windows includes a simple-to-use DLNA server. This guide will walk you through setting up your DLNA server, and a DLNA client on your mobile device.
DLNA and Windows 10

What is DLNA?

DLNA stands for Digital Living Network Alliance. Usually, it's used to refer to a suite of services that can run on a computer and allow access to a media library by other devices on your home network.

This means it's a quick, easy method to share your whole media library from your computer to the rest of your devices on your home network.

DLNA Server

In this case, you'll be creating a DLNA server on your Windows 10 computer, then connecting your media devices — smart TVs, streaming media players, tablets, and smartphones — to it.

Recommendations

There are a few things to keep in mind when using your computer as a DLNA server.

These are not strict requirements, but rather suggestions to help you have the easiest setup, and best possible experience while sharing your media library.
Server
ServerYour computer is acting as a server. Your computer must remain turned on while you are watching something on your other device.
Power
PowerIf your computer is a laptop, it is recommend to keep it plugged into power. Also, it's best to make sure your computer is not set to 'go to sleep' after a set amount of time.
Windows Power Settings
Ethernet Connection
EthernetIt is highly recommended that your computer is connected to a wired Ethernet connection. This provides a more stable, faster connection, as well as lets you use the WiFi bandwidth for the device receiving the video, instead.

1 Enable Media Streaming

First, we need to turn on the media streaming server.

  1. Open the Start Menu and select Settings.
    Windows 10 Start Menu
    Windows 10 Settings
  2. Select Network & Internet.
    Network and Internet
  3. Select Ethernet (if your computer has a wired connection), or Wi-Fi (if your computer uses a wireless connection) on the left.
    Network and Internet Settings with Wi-Fi and Ethernet highlighted.
  4. Select Network and Sharing Center on the right.
    Ethernet Options with Network and Sharing Center highlighted.
  5. Select Media streaming options on the left.
    Network and Sharing Center with Media streaming options highlighted.
  6. Select Turn on media streaming.
    Media streaming options with Turn on media streaming highlighted.
  7. Name your media library, then select OK.
    Media streaming options with Media library name and OK button highlighted.

Shared Files

Next, we need to make sure we're sharing the files you want to share.

In most cases, this will already be setup, but it's best to check to be sure.
  1. Open File Explorer, then select This PC on the left, and Videos on the right.
    Windows Explorer
    Windows Explorer with This PC and Videos highlighted.
  2. Make sure you see your movies listed here, and that they have sensible names. Move any other movies you want to be able to play into this folder. This is the folder your other devices will see when they browse for videos to play.
    File Explorer showing Videos folder.

2 VLC or other DLNA Client

We now need a program setup on your phone or tablet to view the various video you're sharing.

There are dozens of other DLNA-compliant media players on the market, some cost money, others are free, and all have specific features that some people may find more or less useful. If you are more comfortable with another tool, then you are welcome to use that tool instead.

VLC

VLC

This document will focus on a program called VLC Media Player. It is free, open-source, and available for iOS and Android. It has a built-in DLNA media browser.

3 DLNA Streaming

  1. Open the VLC app.
    VLC
  2. Select Menu in the top-left corner.
    On an Android phone or tablet
    MenuThe menu will appear as three lines.
    On an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch
    VLC Menu iconThe menu will appear as a small traffic cone.
  3. Select Local Network.
    On an Android phone or tablet
    Android Local NetworkThe icon will appear as a folder with network symbol on it.
    On an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch
    iOS Local NetworkThe icon will appear as a small house.
  4. After a few moments, your computer will appear in the list near the bottom as a UPnP or DLNA item.
  5. You may then choose the various categories to select the movie or video you want to watch.

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DLNA servers allow for a fast and easy way to share media; movies, music, and pictures, from device to device over your home network. Windows includes a simple-to-use DLNA server. This guide will walk you through setting up your DLNA server, and a DLNA client on your mobile device.
DLNA and Windows 10

What is DLNA?

DLNA stands for Digital Living Network Alliance. Usually, it's used to refer to a suite of services that can run on a computer and allow access to a media library by other devices on your home network.

This means it's a quick, easy method to share your whole media library from your computer to the rest of your devices on your home network.

DLNA Server

In this case, you'll be creating a DLNA server on your Windows 10 computer, then connecting your media devices — smart TVs, streaming media players, tablets, and smartphones — to it.

Recommendations

There are a few things to keep in mind when using your computer as a DLNA server.

These are not strict requirements, but rather suggestions to help you have the easiest setup, and best possible experience while sharing your media library.
Server
ServerYour computer is acting as a server. Your computer must remain turned on while you are watching something on your other device.
Power
PowerIf your computer is a laptop, it is recommend to keep it plugged into power. Also, it's best to make sure your computer is not set to 'go to sleep' after a set amount of time.
Windows Power Settings
Ethernet Connection
EthernetIt is highly recommended that your computer is connected to a wired Ethernet connection. This provides a more stable, faster connection, as well as lets you use the WiFi bandwidth for the device receiving the video, instead.

First, we need to turn on the media streaming server.

  1. Open the Start Menu and select Settings.
    Windows 10 Start Menu
    Windows 10 Settings
  2. Select Network & Internet.
    Network and Internet
  3. Select Ethernet (if your computer has a wired connection), or Wi-Fi (if your computer uses a wireless connection) on the left.
    Network and Internet Settings with Wi-Fi and Ethernet highlighted.
  4. Select Network and Sharing Center on the right.
    Ethernet Options with Network and Sharing Center highlighted.
  5. Select Media streaming options on the left.
    Network and Sharing Center with Media streaming options highlighted.
  6. Select Turn on media streaming.
    Media streaming options with Turn on media streaming highlighted.
  7. Name your media library, then select OK.
    Media streaming options with Media library name and OK button highlighted.

Shared Files

Next, we need to make sure we're sharing the files you want to share.

In most cases, this will already be setup, but it's best to check to be sure.
  1. Open File Explorer, then select This PC on the left, and Videos on the right.
    Windows Explorer
    Windows Explorer with This PC and Videos highlighted.
  2. Make sure you see your movies listed here, and that they have sensible names. Move any other movies you want to be able to play into this folder. This is the folder your other devices will see when they browse for videos to play.
    File Explorer showing Videos folder.

We now need a program setup on your phone or tablet to view the various video you're sharing.

There are dozens of other DLNA-compliant media players on the market, some cost money, others are free, and all have specific features that some people may find more or less useful. If you are more comfortable with another tool, then you are welcome to use that tool instead.

VLC

VLC

This document will focus on a program called VLC Media Player. It is free, open-source, and available for iOS and Android. It has a built-in DLNA media browser.

  1. Open the VLC app.
    VLC
  2. Select Menu in the top-left corner.
    On an Android phone or tablet
    MenuThe menu will appear as three lines.
    On an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch
    VLC Menu iconThe menu will appear as a small traffic cone.
  3. Select Local Network.
    On an Android phone or tablet
    Android Local NetworkThe icon will appear as a folder with network symbol on it.
    On an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch
    iOS Local NetworkThe icon will appear as a small house.
  4. After a few moments, your computer will appear in the list near the bottom as a UPnP or DLNA item.
  5. You may then choose the various categories to select the movie or video you want to watch.
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