DLNA and Music Library Playback

In the latest release of Beep (3/11/15) we’ve added the capability for Beep to act as a DLNA renderer.

This allows Beep to play music sent from any DLNA server, as controlled by any DLNA controller. (You can catch up on DLNA terminology here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Living_Network_Alliance.)

We chose to start here for building support for local music for Beep. DLNA is an open standard, and it allows you to play your music from lots of other apps, which fits well with our open philosophy.

The experience so far is “alpha” level. We have been using it internally, and it works, but it’s finicky at best.

We believe our implementation on Beep is solid, but the apps that act as DLNA controllers are not particularly stable. We’ve tried ~20 different apps each on Android and iOS, and here are the best one’s we’ve found. The Android apps are quite a bit better than the iOS ones — we’d love more recommendations if you have them!

DLNA Controller Apps, Android 

BubbleUPNP isn’t bad, and it supports the full set of DLNA features. Choose “Local Media Server” as the “Library” to play the music files on your phone.

AllCast is pretty stable. I like the UI better than BubbleUPNP, but AllCast can only play music on your phone, not your computer or NAS. Ads are a bit annoying on the free version, so might be worth an upgrade.

DLNA Controller Apps, iOS 

Media Link Player, weighing in at 2 stars, is one of the ugliest apps we’ve seen in a long time. Surprisingly, it seems to work reasonably well. You have to buy the $5 version — the free one won’t work.

PlugPlayer, also $5, is significantly better-looking than Media Link. But it’s not quite as stable. I find myself using it anyway, because I just can’t look at Media Link.

DLNA Servers (The app that runs on your PC to make your music library discoverable.) 

Logitech Media Server has a minimal UI, runs in the background, and works great.

Plex takes a bit more setup, but also should work. You can use Plex if you already have it set up.

And that’s it. We’d love to have you give it a try and let us all know what you learn on this thread.