Turn Windows into DLNA Media Server: Best Tools in 2023

Grab the best software to easily set up a DLNA server on your home network

by Sonia Martin
Sonia Martin
Sonia Martin
Editor
Sonia is a tech enthusiast that fell in love with Windows after having experienced working on a different OS. Being above all, a down-to-earth kind of person, she... read more
Reviewed by Alex Serban
Alex Serban
Alex Serban
Windows Server & Networking Expert
After moving away from the corporate work-style, Alex has found rewards in a lifestyle of constant analysis, team coordination and pestering his colleagues. Holding an MCSA Windows Server... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • With countless media options at the tip of your fingers, it's safe to say there is no shortage of entertainment.
  • DLNA server software can help you store and access all your entertainment content in one place.
  • Check the list below for the best DLNA software out there that helps you manage TV shows, music, video games, and more.
DLNA

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Life today is media-centric and there’s never a dull moment. At least not with a DLNA server allowing you to stream unlimited video, music, audio, and photos to your entertainment devices.

You will, however, need the best DLNA server to turn your computer into a media server that is safe and robust.

So, what is the DLNA server? What devices support DLNA? Is it the same as Bluetooth, does DLNA work over the Internet? These are all legitimate questions that we shall try to address them accordingly.

A DLNA server stores media content and avails it across a network wirelessly. In general, the server is a DLNA-enabled PC or a NAS (network-attached storage).

Once active, the server enables you to conveniently browse the entire media collection from multiple devices through a home network.

And there are indeed numerous devices that support DLNA such as computers and gaming consoles, mobile devices, digital cameras, media players, and other IoT products.

How do I turn my computer into a media server?

  1. Open the Control Panel and go to Network and Internet.
  2. Under Network and Sharing Center, click on Media Streaming options.
  3. Turn on the Media Streaming button.

That’s one way to set up a DLNA server on Windows 10. You can also use a NAS and connect your new media server to the network via Ethernet or via Bluetooth from the Devices screen.

As you can see, you can set up a home network media server by enabling the native Windows 10 technology. However, most users find using third-party DLNA software more straightforward.

A DLNA server software is an application that allows you to share the burgeoning library of movies, audio, and pictures in your computer with your other DLNA-compatible devices.

Have a look at our favorite picks:

  • Playon – DLNA software + record content for offline entertainment
  • Ampache – Top-notch DLNA streamer (works with any client & media player)
  • Plex – Complete DLNA media server solution (file management included)
  • Kodi – DLNA server software with support for game controllers
  • Jellyfin – Free DLNA server for Windows 10

Once installed, the DLNA software instantly sets up your PC as a media streaming center, opening up a sea of thrilling and personalized entertainment choices.

Inter-device connectivity is established through the handy DLNA protocol and the software makes the whole process simple and direct.

What is the best DLNA server software for Windows?

Playon – DLNA software + record content for offline entertainment

Playon is a full-feature media portal that integrates all your media streaming services into one media library. 

The platform is easy to use. You can either download it on your computer or directly to a media streaming device such as Roku.

The software is easy to navigate. You get a grid view of all your streaming platforms in the home menu, along with recommended content based on your history.

One major plus of using Playon is the recording feature. You can capture all types of media for offline enjoyment. 

Playon is a subscription-based service with monthly charges. You can try it for free for 7 days and get to download 7 media recordings.

Other key features of Playon include:

  • Full HD 1080 recordings
  • Instant ad skip
  • Cast videos on TV
  • Auto records new episodes
  • Downloaded content has no expiration

Playon

Access all your favorite media platforms and channels from one library, and more.

Free trial Visit website

Ampache – Top-notch DLNA streamer (works with any client & media player)

Ampache is an open-source web-based streaming app and file manager that works with pretty much any internet-enabled device so capturing and casting shows from a desktop, tablet or phone is a breeze.

If you want highly reliable, and secure DLNA server software, Ampache has very few equals.

Ensuring a fantastic user experience, this tool lets you stream movies, music, and shows from Hulu, Netflix, HBO, Amazon, and countless other streaming sites and channels with no hidden catch.

It has countless customization options such as various authorization methods, listing metadata sources by preference, importing custom metadata, ordering album art sources by preference, and many more.

There is no DLNA/UPnP with a premium subscription, as Ampache already has all of those features by default, for free.

Let’s quickly look at its key features:

  • Powerful API and streaming to any client (VLC, WinAMP, Foobar2000, Windows Media Player, Subsonic API, UPnP/DLNA, and DAAP with iTunes)
  • Flexible catalogs (scan music straight from your local filesystem or use other sources to add to its database)
  • Support for multiple users, and user registration
  • Music streaming (stream your music to your preferred player, or listen on the web page with an HTML5 player)

Get Ampache

Plex – Complete DLNA media server solution (file management included)

Plex is a multimedia management software that not only allows you to access and stream TV channels and streaming platforms’ content but also lets you organize all your personal media files into one library.

This platform works worldwide, allowing you to stream content from all major on-demand media services.

Plex is compatible with multiple media hardware such as Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, and Roku. So, is Roku a DLNA device? If you were wondering about this possibility, there’s your answer – it can be!

Now, Plex can also run on Android and iOS mobile devices and Windows or macOS computers.

Plex allows you to download content so that you can access it without an Internet connection. You can sync downloaded media to all your devices so you can enjoy it wherever you are.

Other key features of Plex include:

  • Automatic LyricFind lyrics for music content
  • Custom sharing restrictions
  • TV-show intro skip

Get Plex

Kodi – DLNA server software with support for game controllers

Kodi is another popular option for users that want to connect and access all their media content from one place.

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It provides completely free media library management features that integrate your TV channels, on-demand platforms, audio files, pictures, and more. 

Besides passive media content, Kodi allows you to connect your games within the app. You can add stand-alone games, or connect emulators.

It also offers support for game controllers, so you can set it up as a one-stop entertainment center.

You can use this DLNA server software to record live-TV video content. Just press the record button while streaming and you’ll be able to reaccess it whenever you want.

Kodi can be used on Windows, macOS, and Linux computers. It also comes in the form of a mobile app for Android and iOS.

Key features of Kodi include:

  • Live TV playback
  • Customizable UI
  • Metadata-based library organization
  • Digital pictures/image display
  • Supports most media file formats

Get Kodi

Jellyfin – Free DLNA server for Windows 10

The media server software has also been hailed for its sleek performance. And would you believe you can get all this bliss without paying a dime?

Even without digging too deep into its technicalities, this is one of the best choices for anyone searching for a smashing performance from a free DLNA server for Windows 10.

Unsurprisingly, its advanced design enables the server to produce one of the sweetest streaming experiences amongst the top contenders.

Let’s quickly look at its key features:

  • Collect, manage, and stream your media to any device from your own server
  • Store your entire media collection and organize it neatly
  • Make playlists
  • Watch Live TV and set automatic recordings to expand your library
  • Apps on your Android, iOS (including AirPlay), Android TV, or Fire TV device, or via Chromecast or Kodi
  • No centralized tracking of your data
  • Completely free to download

Get Jellyfin

MediaPortal

Powerful but very easy to use, MediaPortal puts up a strong show when pitted against the rest of the DLNA servers for Windows 10.

It streams a large variety of media files with surprising precision and at impressive speeds.

MediaPortal handles just about every device and is a powerful entrant to our unique selection of DLNA media server tools that gives a reliable, simple, and seamless streaming experience.

Let’s quickly look at its key features:

  • Watch, schedule, and record live TV
  • Play videos, movies, DVDs, and Blu-ray discs
  • Stream media, radio, and TV to any HTPC / PC connected to your network
  • Use a remote to control your HTPC
  • Check the weather, news, and more
  • Access from the web or mobile devices
  • Hundreds of plugins and skins available (to stream or download web TV, Apple Trailers,
  • YouTube videos, or internet radio)
  • Complete media solution for free

Get Media Portal

Subsonic – Cross-platform compatibility & extended format support

Subsonic is another popular UPnP media streaming service whose main claim to fame is its unique ability to transcode a huge variety of media formats. Whatever you want to share, the tool is always up to the task.

Your Xbox, smartphone, and practically every other device work excellently as soon as you hook them up with this DLNA server software that also boasts apps for Android, iPhone, Windows Phone, Chrome, and many more.

Its compatibility prowess goes even further as it supports pretty much any network-enabled media player from Winamp, iTunes, XMMS, VLC, and MusicMatch to Windows Media Player.

Plus, it has an embedded Flash player. This DLNA server software also supports all media formats (MP3, OGG, AAC, and any other audio or video format that streams over HTTP).

Let’s quickly look at its key features:

  • Clean web interface optimized for constrained bandwidth environments
  • Displays cover art, assigns ratings and comments to albums and tracks
  • Create your own playlist and manage the play queue
  • Customizable user experience (28 languages, 30 different themes, personal avatar, etc.)
  • Works with any number of users
  • Integrates with the best web services through an open API

Get Subsonic

Emby – Can store your content in multiple resolutions

Emby is one of the most feature-rich DLNA media servers that works like a charm across a plethora of rendering devices and is a joy to stream with.

Whether it’s stand-up comedy, soaps, Formula 1, or blockbuster movies, this has gotten rave reviews for its polished performance.

This DLNA software automatically converts and streams your personal content on any device. It can store your content in multiple resolutions to enable direct streaming from any device.

Furthermore, you can sync your personal media to smartphones and tablets for easy offline access. Emby apps are available for Android, iPhone, iPad, Windows Phone, and tablets.

The innovative idea of a pleasant user interface and media auto-detecting technology is especially attractive to users seeking painless streaming.

Let’s quickly look at its key features:

  • Parental Controls (monitor and remote control sessions as you need to)
  • Send videos, music, photos, and Live TV to Chromecast with ease
  • Sync your personal media to the cloud for easy backup, archiving, and converting
  • Edit metadata and images, search for subtitles, and more.
  • Automatically detects DLNA devices on your network
  • Powerful web-based management tools (to manage your content, users, sharing, security, and more)

Get Emby

To enjoy your rich media library across multiple devices, you have to turn your computer into a media server and the best way to do this is by using DLNA server software.

The thing with these thoughtful tools is that they’re not equal meaning you need to take your sweet time evaluating your options.

If you have any suggestions or questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

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