Using Play To/DLNA in Windows 7

June 14, 2011, By Christian Cawley

DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) is the universal system whose introduction means that it is possible to stream content from one device to another across a home network without any extra hardware. For instance, you might wish to stream a move from your Windows Phone7 device to your TV, or perhaps from one PC to another, and this is made possible via the service and a function called Play To.

As mentioned, no additional hardware is required, just a wired or wireless network and a compatible set of computers, TVs, etc. Setting up Play To is really easy, too, requiring you simply to activate sharing and media streaming on your Windows 7 computer before streaming the data to the intended device!

Using Play To/DLNA in Windows 7

Using Play To in Windows 7

Get started by configuring your home network sharing settings, which can be reached via Start > Control Panel > View network status and tasks > Change advanced sharing settings.

In the sharing options screen, ensure that Network discovery, File and printer sharing, Public folder sharing and Media streaming all have Turn on… selected, and in the resulting screen give your Windows 7 media library a name and select from the various devices that can be shared to using the Allowed drop-down box against each entry. As long as your PC is displaying as Allowed, Play To can be used successfully.

There are still a few more steps to complete, however, before media can be streamed across your home network to a DLNA-ready TV or other computer.

Selecting Content to Play

In order to enjoy streamed content, you will need to select it in Windows Media Player. After opening the application, find some music or video and drag it into the play cue, so it is listed in the pane on the right. Next, go to Stream > Automatically allow devices to play my media, and confirm the action by selecting the Allow remote control on this network.

With sharing configured, all you have to do now is activate Play To, which is found in the top-right corner of Windows Media Player under the Sync tab., Select the device on your network (a tablet, mobile phone, home theater or another computer) that will receive the streamed content, and Play To is now activated.

All you need to do now is enjoy your streamed content on the selected device!

Devices with Play To Compatibility

There are many different devices with Play To compatibility, from the Windows Phone 7 Samsung Focus device to countless televisions and media players. While it might seem a strange idea connecting your TV to a network, the truth is that more and more LCD and plasma flat screen TVs are shipping network or Internet ready, with big names such as Samsung providing widgets for enjoying web content.

DLNA is supported by a massive selection of multinational electronics companies, with Microsoft, Samsung, Sony, Intel, Ericsson and HP all involved with agreeing a standard and providing suitable hardware to make the system a success.

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