It’s the season when people start thinking about what might be in store for the new year. Stephen Palm, senior technical director at Broadcom’s Broadband Communications Group, predicts the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) will become a lot more important in 2011.

The DLNA aims to promote wired and wireless interoperable networking of consumer electronic (CE) devices. As a CE communications standard, DLNA represents content negotiation and sharing between disparate networked devices. (For more, see DLNA Basics).

According to Palm, such other networking technologies as Multimedia Over Coax Alliance (MoCA), Wi-Fi, Ethernet and HomePlug Powerline relate to how devices are physically connected together. (See CT Magazine’s December article "Testing And Deployment: Making MoCA In-Home Networking Easier.")

"DLNA sits above those (other networking technologies) and allows you to automatically discover the devices that have media content," says Palm. "And once you discover a device, you have a way to pick a piece of content and stream a piece of content."

"We’re seeing changes with DLNA," he adds. "It started as a way to connect CE devices, but now there’s a big push by service providers to take advantage of that protocol to connect their services."

In a video posted by Time Warner Cable, the company’s CTO Mike LaJoie mentioned DLNA in a discussion about the iPad. TWC is developing an app to use the iPad as a remote control and secondary TV screen (for more on this, read the January 2011 issue of Communications Technology).

"The ability to innovate on these third-party devices is much more robust than what we can do with our legacy infrastructure," LaJoie said. "It (the iPad app) leverages this device and a number of other technologies that are currently coming to bear that really accommodate home networking and the ability for devices to discover each other very easily. A lot of these devices we’re looking at now support DLNA."

Although the iPad itself does not support DLNA, LaJoie didn’t seem to consider that a problem.

"There’s an app for that," Palm explains. "There are about a dozen apps for DLNA on the iPad. The iPad today doesn’t have DLNA built in, but you can download an app. People are always downloading apps; that’s a huge part of the iOS (Apple’s mobile operating system) environment. DLNA is just another app."?

-Linda Hardesty

The Daily

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