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The Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) is a trade group created by Sony and other consumer electronic companies in 2003 for developing and promoting a set of interoperability guidelines to share digital media among wired and wireless multimedia devices.
The Digital Living Network Alliance works with telecom, satellite and cable service providers for providing link protection at each end of a data transfer. It focuses on providing a seamless environment for growing and sharing digital content services. Before the advent of the Digital Living Network Alliance, setting up components to communicate with each other was a difficult process. The Digital Living Network Alliance simplified the process by providing a single protocol for communication for all certified multimedia devices from all manufacturers.
Media devices and software can be certified as “Digital Living Network Alliance Compliant.” These devices make use of standard protocol to communicate with each other and do not require the manufacturer to develop a proprietary protocol for the media files. In other words, DLNA-compliant devices can easily communicate with each other without the need for the devices to be tested together beforehand.
The Digital Living Network Alliance divides multimedia devices into ten certified classes, which can be broadly categorized as home network devices, mobile handheld devices and home infrastructure devices. The class of a device is determined by its functional capabilities. It is possible to have a device to be part of more than one class. All certified devices make use of the Universal Plug and Play protocols to discover and communicate with other devices on the network.
However, the Digital Living Network Alliance does not support some popular formats such as Divx, Xvid and FLAC. Manufacturers such as Apple have not adopted the standard.